Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Truck Kills Bicyclist In Tampa This Morning

Another bicyclist killed in Tampa.

This time, a truck that was turning right killed the cyclist at 30th Street and Hillsborough Avenue.

Please be careful when biking through intersections. Cars and trucks that turn right at intersections sometimes don't see you when you are entering the intersection.


Jerry C said...

Quoting the referenced article, "The truck had its signal on, indicating it was going to turn"

The way the article is written, it makes it sound like the truck driver is "in the right" because he signaled intent! If the truck driver swiped a vehicle on the right, would the police spokeswoman have cited that same quote in reporting that accident? That really irks me.

I also wonder how clean the turn indicator lights were. Between dirt and viewing angle (the rider was "just behind a truck"), it can be difficult to notice the indicator lights blinking.

Being careful at intersections is sound advice, but who is to say that cyclist was NOT being careful in this case.

(Thank you for your blog. It's on my list of daily reads!)

Donny said...

What the hell...?

"Because the bicyclist was traveling in traffic, he was required to follow the same laws as vehicles, so it should have slowed as the truck turned right."

Am I completely ignorant? Or does this really make no sense??

Awful grammar ("it") aside, the way I've always viewed this situation is that the vehicle turning must wait. After all, if a truck were to turn from the left lane in front of a car in the right lane while making a turn, the car in the right lane would not be required to slow down and wait for the truck to finish turning.

The precedent set in terms of left-hand-turns is that the turning vehicle must wait for passing vehicles to be clear before executing the turn. I know this doesn't mention right-hand turns, but the logic is the same.

On what grounds can the claim be made that the bicyclist passing on the right must slow down and wait for the vehicle making a dangerous right hook in front of him?

I'm going to contact the police department about this, but if anyone else knows what the heck Ms. Davis is talking about, please share.

Donny said...

This is the message I sent to the TPD:

This message is in response to the article in the St. Petersburg Times concerning a bicyclist who was killed by a truck making a "right hook" turn in front of him on Feb. 10, 2010. (

There is a statement in the article that concerns me:
"Because the bicyclist was traveling in traffic, he was required to follow the same laws as vehicles, so it should have slowed as the truck turned right. The truck had its signal on, indicating it was going to turn, said police spokeswoman Andrea Davis."

I know of no law which indicates that that a vehicle must slow down or stop for another vehicle which cuts in front of it with insufficient time to stop. In the case of a car overtaking a bicycle and cutting in front of it to make a turn with insufficient clearance, shouldn't the car be held at fault?

Consider Florida Statute: Title XXIII, Chapter 316, Section 085, paragraph (2):
"No vehicle shall be driven from a direct course in any lane on any highway until the driver has determined that the vehicle is not being approached or passed by any other vehicle in the lane or on the side to which the driver desires to move and that the move can be completely made with safety and without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching from the same direction."

In the situation described, the truck changed its course to make a right-turn while it was being legally passed by the bicycle on the "side to which the driver desired to move" (right). In cutting off the bicycle, the driver interfered with the safe operation of the bicyclist approaching from the same direction and in this case, caused the cyclist's death.

There may have been other circumstances in this fatal wreck that I am unaware of, but based solely on the case of a bicyclist being overtaken and cut off by a vehicle making a right-turn, am I correct that the turning vehicle is at fault?

Donny said...

And this was their response. Makes sense I suppose, although I guess I had assumed the case to be closed based on the article:

Mr. Hayward,
This is still an open and active investigation. The driver of the vehicle was not cited for any infraction at the scene of the crash. The detectives on the Hit and Run Squad will confer with each other and with the State Attorney's Office and determine the proper course to follow. The results of the investigation will be available once the investigation is complete and the case is closed. Thank you for your interest and concern.
Sgt. Douglas Groves
Hit and Run Squad

SWFBUD said...

Thanks for following up on this Donny. Fatal bike-car crashes where the bicyclist dies and there are no witnesses usually turns out to be a free pass for the motor vehicle driver because it's only his word that gets to go on the record.