Bicyclist Dies Running Red Light

Here’s the latest from KSPR:

Police say the semi truck was stopped at a red light on Glenstone.

The light turned green and the driver hit the gas.

A bicyclist heading east on Cherry rode in front of the truck.

The truck didn’t have time to stop, and the biker was killed.

Police confirm that the bike rider did run a red light.

Bicyclists are drivers and should obey traffic laws just like the driver of any other vehicle. When we fail to follow the rules, the system of traffic breaks down, and people die.

I’m not blaming the victim. We do a poor job in this country of educating bicyclists and enforcing the rules. Further, the behavior of bicyclists who should know better — those who self-righteously ignore traffic controls — sets a bad example for others.

UPDATE: More details from KSPR.

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Comments 12

  1. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    I agree in general. But let’s not forget that the cyclist may not have run a red light. It wouldn’t be the first time that the police claimed a cyclist ran a red light, then later retracted their statement after camera footage showed the police statement was BS. It happened with Mathieu Lefevre and probably a bunch of other cyclists. From what I’ve seen of these things, police tend to start from a position of ‘The dead cyclist was guilty’ and work from there.

    Posted 24 Oct 2012 at 11:46 am
  2. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Sadly, this cyclist won’t get to do a review of why he ran the light. I guess the rest of us can ask whether we would run a light.

    A few added things. One, it was night, so the truck driver may not have been able to see the cyclist before moving into the intersection. Two, the brief report on KSPR doesn’t indicate if the cyclist was using illumination which again, may mean the trucker may not have seen him even if the trucker looked both ways before he leaped. Three, the report says the driver “hit the gas” but as anyone can attest, a tractor-trailer doesn’t move off the line with breakneck acceleration. Four, there is no indication if the cyclist suffered a mechanical, such as a broken brake cable.

    Albuquerque recently had a highly experienced cyclist (a trauma nurse, ironically), riding at night, ride directly into the back of a parked car, crash into the back window, and die of a freakishly slashed major blood vessel. Again, no indication if the cyclist was riding with a headlight.

    I hope the police report has more details you can provide, Andy, at least to Springfield riders. Meanwhile, cyclists need to take themselves and their safety seriously. Be careful out there.

    Posted 24 Oct 2012 at 11:48 am
  3. Khal Spencer wrote:

    In response to Ian, were there witnesses who could corroborate the story?

    Posted 24 Oct 2012 at 11:50 am
  4. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Some good pictures here.

    Lots of visual clutter from neon signs, etc. Also in the still picture on the video frame (I can’t get the video to work) its not clear from the picture of the bicycle if there is a light on the handlebars. There is something, but not sure what.

    Posted 24 Oct 2012 at 3:35 pm
  5. Kevin Love wrote:

    I’m with Khal. No witnesses means that the police story can only be coming from the truck driver. The police asserting that the driver’s story is true without any collaborating evidence appears to be part of the usual police pattern of systematic discrimination and victim blaming.

    This is just like one of the bigoted police chiefs in the Jim Crow era saying “The black man found hanged from a tree in the town square was clearly a case of suicide. How do I know? Because our local KKK leader said so.”

    Posted 24 Oct 2012 at 7:29 pm
  6. Tom Armstrong wrote:

    It’s a high price to pay for blowing a light, regardless of why he (supposedly) did. I feel bad for his family and friends, regardless of why/how it happened.

    As Khal observed, trucks like that don’t just take off like drag racers. Once moving, it’s also hard to stop them short. Visibility from the cab is lousy, although that sloped hood makes it easier than some. I have driven a couple of trucks that size, and don’t miss the lack of visibility.

    I’m trying to not speculate on any bias–intentional or otherwise–on part of the police or witnesses or the truck driver. Sad events, though, and I expect the local press web story will be filled with nattering about how bicycles shouldn’t be used on the roads by people who don’t understand (or want to understand) bicycles as part of traffic.

    Posted 24 Oct 2012 at 7:35 pm
  7. Khal Spencer wrote:

    The web video I linked to claimed there was a witness. Without any assumptions on prejudice or lack thereof, all one can say is that it would be nice to get the final police report and read it.

    One thing I would say about vehicle operation is that any time one is entering an intersection, its incumbent on one to know what else is entering the intersection, legal or otherwise. It sometimes drives my wife nuts when I slow down and do multiple side street checks when entering an intersection on green, but it sucks to be “dead right” and I am willing to bet anyone that there is actually a law in Santa Fe and Albuquerque that three motorists are allowed to run the red before one is breaking the law.

    Its also hard to miss an eighteen wheeler moving off the line. Someone missed something important and when a cyclist or a motorist is butting heads with a tractor-trailer its not hard to figure out who will lose. Lets not lose sight of reality.

    Posted 24 Oct 2012 at 8:41 pm
  8. Andy Cline wrote:

    I’m inclined to take the police at their word for now. And I’m also well aware how problematic that is.

    Posted 24 Oct 2012 at 10:33 pm
  9. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    “It sometimes drives my wife nuts when I slow down and do multiple side street checks when entering an intersection on green…”

    When I’m in my wife’s car, I often wish she would go through intersections more slowly. Granted, our car has airbags and crumple zones, but they won’t prevent us getyting badly beaten up if some nutcase or drunk ignores their red light.

    Posted 25 Oct 2012 at 4:48 am
  10. Jim Phillips wrote:

    I ride through that intersection twice a day. The pictures don’t really show the downhill slope of traveling eastbound in that intersection. It’s very easy to be moving fast and be tempted to run a late phase yellow.

    Posted 25 Oct 2012 at 8:01 am
  11. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Jim or Andy, do you know what the “all red” period is for that light, i..e, how long after one side gets a red does the other side get a green? There are general engineering guidelines for that, depending on posted speed limits.

    Posted 25 Oct 2012 at 8:14 am
  12. Jim Phillips wrote:

    I wouldn’t know the exact time but I would guess very short. I do know when you first get a green there, it is normal to have to wait for another car, or sometimes two, to clear the lane. It’s a chaotic intersection for sure.

    Posted 25 Oct 2012 at 8:35 am