Thursday, October 9, 2014

Duke City Police Blame Cyclist for Crash That Cost Her a Leg

From KRQE 13. 

"KRQE News 13 tracked down the long-awaited police report from the Albuquerque Police Department investigators chalked up the June collision to inattentiveness and a failure to yield on the part of the bicyclist. The woman was on her way to work when the garbage truck driver made a right turn in front of her as she rode alongside the truck."

We don't get details from KRQE that would help a knowledgeable cyclist unravel this crash and decide who was overtaking whom. One has to see the full police report.

Two things. One, never ignore an overtaking motorist when approaching a potential right turn--the motorist WILL sometimes neglect to see you, properly judge your relative speed, or yield to you. Two, if you are riding into an intersection to the right of a vehicle and if right turns are allowed, be alert because that motorist could turn into you--if you can soft pedal and slow down and watch, or merge safely into traffic in advance of the intersection and out of the bike lane, i.e., move left to control the travel lane; those are two possibilities (also see Steve Avery's comment below). Remember the P in AFRAP means As Far Right As is  Practicable, not possible, regardless of what anyone else tells you. Also, practice your instant turns, which John Allen uses below to steer away from trouble.

That advice especially goes for potential conflicts with large trucks, which have "wide right turn" problems. Never, ever, EVER go into an intersection on the right of a large truck. If you cannot safely overtake it well in advance, fall in behind. During a right turn, the trailing wheels of a truck track to the right of the cab, and will override a cyclist riding alongside--cyclists riding to the right of trucks, or overtaking them, in bike lanes have died in resulting right hook crashes. Also, a truck driver will sometimes pull the cab to the left and then make a right turn so the trailer wheels don't hit the curb. Don't be fooled.

The station itself mistakenly refers to the cyclist as a pedestrian, which is neither legally or operationally true.

John Allen's video is worth a thousand more words, so I'll repost it here.


Steve A said...

Good points all. One I would add is to consider moving left out of the bike lane into the main traffic lane when in doubt about what overtaking motorists may do. It is merely a more assertive form of "destination positioning."

Chandra said...

I like all the ideas and suggestions, including that 'notoriously good cyclist from DFW'.

Thanks for sharing this, Khal. Lots of people could benefit from possessing this knowledge.

Have a Peaceful day!

Peace :)