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NYT: 5 cyclists killed near Las Vegas

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NYT: 5 cyclists killed near Las Vegas

Old 12-10-20, 06:21 PM
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NYT: 5 cyclists killed near Las Vegas

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/10/u...egas-dead.html


Truck Driver Crashes Into Cyclists, Killing 5 Outside Las Vegas

The crash happened on Thursday morning as a group of about 20 bicyclists were riding on the shoulder of U.S. 95 in Clark County, just north of Searchlight, Nev.
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Old 12-10-20, 06:41 PM
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Rumble strips to alert a distracted driver, but at 75 mph (the speed limit), can a driver react in time? The thing that bothers me is that the picture shows at least a half-mile of visibility so the cyclists should have been visible to the driver for close to 20 seconds before reaching them. The only time I have ever taken my eyes off the road for more than 10 seconds was when I was a passenger.
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Old 12-10-20, 07:43 PM
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Just posted about this tragedy in the other thread. They had a support vehicle following them with flashing lights. How did this happen?
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Old 12-10-20, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Just posted about this tragedy in the other thread. They had a support vehicle following them with flashing lights. How did this happen?
Sorry, I looked but didn't see another thread.
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Old 12-10-20, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Sorry, I looked but didn't see another thread.
No prob. They are different, except being in the same city.
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Old 12-11-20, 09:36 AM
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The support vehicle was in the middle of the group. Apparently some of the riders were drafting the support car because of strong headwinds.
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Old 12-11-20, 09:40 AM
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Has the cause for this been determined?
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Old 12-11-20, 10:03 AM
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No cause reported yet; maybe preliminary report later today, but I suspect a factor will be driver (of the box truck) inattentiveness. Impairment was not expected to be a contributing factor.
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Old 12-11-20, 10:03 AM
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Driver of box truck is cooperating. No new information as of this morning.
Illustration in LV Review Journal this morning.

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Old 12-11-20, 10:08 AM
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Thanks for posting the graphic. (Glad it wasn't too graphic of a graphic.)
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Old 12-11-20, 10:26 AM
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I hope the police subpoena the phone records of the truck driver. That's where I'd bet on the reason for this.
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Old 12-11-20, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
I hope the police subpoena the phone records of the truck driver. That's where I'd bet on the reason for this.
Same thoughts here.
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Old 12-11-20, 11:36 AM
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Is it "normal" or even legal for a "support car" to be driving along at (guessing) 15-20 mph in the shoulder on a US highway?

It seems like the slowly moving vehicle would be the first thing the truck driver saw, and if he misjudged that for a car in a lane driving at 75mph, I can see how this might have happened too quickly to correct for an initial mistake based on an unanticipated scenario.
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Old 12-11-20, 12:00 PM
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The graphic from the Review-Journal clears a lot up for me. I had previously assumed that the cyclists were hit while riding on the shoulder and was a bit confused by the role of the support vehicle in this. Was their use of the roadway even legal? Does the NV vehicle code even address this? Is it a "gray area"? I have to say I wouldn't had been comfortable as a rider or support driver in this situation.


I'm guessing the box van driver simply didn't perceive what was happening in front of him until it was too late--and I understand how this could happen. If cyclists are going to utilize the full roadway where they are proceeding at substantially less speed than prevailing traffic, then they need to do a lot more to alert other users: such as a pickup truck with an electronic arrow board alerting motor vehicles of bicyclists on the roadway ahead. I'm assuming also that the normal traffic on this highway would had allowed for relatively easy passing of the peloton. If not, I'd question even more the wisdom of this endeavor.


Lastly was this a 130 mile ride to be done in one day? There are less than 10 hours of daylight in Vegas this time of year. I get that no one sane is going to want to do this route in August, but did the distance of this ride mitigate against safety?
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Old 12-11-20, 12:21 PM
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Were they not on the shoulder as the NYT article said they were?
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Old 12-11-20, 12:30 PM
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No, not on shoulder-- look at speedolites posting above.
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Old 12-11-20, 12:48 PM
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I've seen support vehicles riding behind a group of cyclists who have taken the lane (i.e., riding in traffic), but only on secondary roads. I've never seen it on a divided 4 lane highway. And I can't imagine why they'd do that on a 75 mph road.. From other sources (USA Today), it sounds like there was an ample shoulder on that road- quoting a LV LBS employee who knew the riders, but who was not there.

"That shoulder on the side of that highway is wide enough to fit three cars," Weeks said. "We don't really know how somebody managed to get that far off the road. These were all very very experienced cyclists. It's not like they accidentally rode off and into the road.""

So?
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Old 12-11-20, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by SClaraPokeman View Post
The graphic from the Review-Journal clears a lot up for me. I had previously assumed that the cyclists were hit while riding on the shoulder and was a bit confused by the role of the support vehicle in this. Was their use of the roadway even legal? Does the NV vehicle code even address this? Is it a "gray area"?

I'm guessing the box van driver simply didn't perceive what was happening in front of him until it was too late--and I understand how this could happen. If cyclists are going to utilize the full roadway where they are proceeding at substantially less speed than prevailing traffic, then they need to do a lot more to alert other users: such as a pickup truck with an electronic arrow board alerting motor vehicles of bicyclists on the roadway ahead. I'm assuming also that the normal traffic on this highway would had allowed for relatively easy passing of the peloton. If not, I'd question even more the wisdom of this endeavor.

Lastly was this a 130 mile ride to be done in one day? There are less than 10 hours of daylight in Vegas this time of year. I get that no one sane is going to want to do this route in August, but did the distance of this ride mitigate against safety?
Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Were they not on the shoulder as the NYT article said they were?
All good observations, comments, and questions. There is no new information on the local news yet, but facts will come out in time. I'm told by a good cyclist friend here who knew 2 of the riders that these cyclists were all well-trained, CAT 1/2 level ability riders, some or all on local racing teams. They were only about 30-40 miles into their ride when struck. I doubt they would need 10 hours to ride 130 miles even as solo riders, so the distance was not a factor anyway. It was also a beautiful clear day here (as most are) with temps in the mid-high 50Fs around the time of the accident. Traffic is typically light there -- I haven't heard or read anything yet that states the condition yesterday was otherwise.
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Old 12-11-20, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
From other sources (USA Today), it sounds like there was an ample shoulder on that road- quoting a LV LBS employee who knew the riders, but who was not there.

"That shoulder on the side of that highway is wide enough to fit three cars," Weeks said. "We don't really know how somebody managed to get that far off the road. These were all very very experienced cyclists. It's not like they accidentally rode off and into the road.""
I've ridden that road several times in the past 3 years. I don't remember a 3-car wide shoulder anywhere, at least as far as the turnoff to Hwy 165 where I turn southeast.
Here is a photo taken of the accident site. Box truck bottom center. It looks like a standard width shoulder to me.

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Old 12-11-20, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by SpeedofLite View Post
I've ridden that road several times in the past 3 years. I don't remember a 3-car wide shoulder anywhere, at least as far as the turnoff to Hwy 165 where I turn southeast.
Here is a photo taken of the accident site. Box truck bottom center. It looks like a standard width shoulder to me.

Interesting information. The LBS guy might have been exaggerating, but that looks like a good shoulder to me. Even with a support vehicle, I'd think that a double pace line would be on the shoulder there. As a local with connections to the cycling community, does it strike you as likely that they were riding in the traffic lane on US 75?
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Old 12-11-20, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Interesting information. The LBS guy might have been exaggerating, but that looks like a good shoulder to me. Even with a support vehicle, I'd think that a double pace line would be on the shoulder there. As a local with connections to the cycling community, does it strike you as likely that they were riding in the traffic lane on US 75?
Experienced riders can ride side-by-side comfortably on the shoulder there.
I don't know the riding habits of these cyclists other than hearing about their above average experience and ability.
I'd rather not speculate about the answer, or ask that question of anyone at this time.
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Old 12-11-20, 01:33 PM
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I didn't realize it was a very well divided four lane road. Passing the cyclists would had involved only a lane change and not having to face opposing traffic. It's a wide shoulder, but I doubt there could be a double pace line because of the rumble strip. I think counting the dirt next to the shoulder it's about three lanes wide--maybe useful if one is on a cycle-cross type bike.
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Old 12-11-20, 01:33 PM
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Go to Google maps and look at the shoulder. It's about a bikelane's width on the shoulder side of the roadway. Yes, it is a wide shoulder, but it's not ridable. Appears to be gravel.
My bet is they were not riding on the shoulder. They were in the #2 lane.

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Old 12-11-20, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Go to Google maps and look at the shoulder. It's about a bikelane's width on the shoulder side of the roadway. Yes, it is a wide shoulder, but it's not ridable. Appears to be gravel.
My bet is they were not riding on the shoulder. They were in the #2 lane.

good info
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Old 12-11-20, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Go to Google maps and look at the shoulder. It's about a bikelane's width on the shoulder side of the roadway. Yes, it is a wide shoulder, but it's not ridable. Appears to be gravel.
My bet is they were not riding on the shoulder. They were in the #2 lane.

That shoulder doesn't look like gravel to me. It's hard to discern the texture, but based on what I see, it looks rideable. Barring extraordinary circumstances there is no way in hell I'd ride in a traffic lane on that 75 MPH road.
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