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Yet another case of victim-blaming

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Yet another case of victim-blaming

Old 03-09-21, 03:22 PM
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Korina
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Yet another case of victim-blaming

Disgusting.

https://sf.streetsblog.org/2021/03/0...death/#new_tab
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Old 03-09-21, 03:39 PM
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When I read these write ups, I try to put myself in the cyclist's shoes. In this case, there is no way I would have been hit by a turning truck at that intersection. Situational awareness would have told an alert rider that the truck was going slow. What are the reasons a truck would have been going slow right there?
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Old 03-10-21, 09:45 AM
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The police refusing to send a copy of the accident report sounds fishy. The rest, unfortunately, is par for the course.
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Old 03-10-21, 10:02 AM
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The degree to which streetsblog is full of ranting unproductively divorced from physical reality can be quite tiresome.

First, let's recognize the fundamental design problem at this location. You have a MUP that is basically an allowed sidewalk, running along a major road, and thus as it approaches the intersection, on the wrong side of a mandatory right turn lane. It's a basic fact of reality that it's a recipe for conflict to have a through traffic lane for bikes, to the right of a turning traffic lane for other vehicles. On a calmer roadway, the bike lane would have to stop short of the intersection so that turning drivers could safely merge with or even across the path of through cyclists (and potentially the reverse) as an ordinary lane change, rather than a pinch at the corner itself.

The problem in this situation is that there's an attempt with the separated path to try to save cyclists from needing to participate in a heavy flow of vehicular traffic. But at the intersection, that attempt cannot deny reality. There are only so many things which can actually be done there - and most require cyclists to cooperate in ways that are annoying in their disruption of ride experience.

One possibility is to require the cyclists to revert to being literally or at least effectively pedestrians. The classic hook turn collision is for the vehicle to hook into the path of the cyclist who is moving too quickly to stop short of the resulting collision. Turning drivers run over pedestrians who were already in a cross walk, but with the possible exception of joggers, pedestrians for the most part don't run into vehicles that are already in the process of turning. And unless the driver has immediately previously passed the cyclist on the same roadway, these are typically the fault of the cyclist for arriving from a non-visible direction at an un-react-able speed, or even the cyclist literally running into the side of the turning vehicle.

Another possibility is exclusive traffic signal phases. In practice though, cyclists don't like being told they cannot proceed when the main light is green, but are instead supposed to wait for a narrower reserved phase. Compliance ends up low; and police departments may learn that it's a great place to camp out and write bike tickets. Worth noting that the intersection in question already has a pedestrian crossing light - though we don't know if that is an exclusive phase or if either operator complied with it.

What this really drives home is that the physically separated cycling infrastructure can be quite deadly at the points where it puts insufficiently aware cyclists back into contention with other traffic. Someone used to riding and participating in a flow of traffic develops the skills to do so safely, specifically by understanding and anticipating what the operators of the other vehicles are doing - cycling on a road actually has a lot in common with driving on one. In contrast, someone who's enjoyed a run of traffic free bliss often approaches intersections insufficiently aware of how intersections work, insufficiently aware of the vehicles also approaching those intersections, and entirely out of the view and consideration of the operators of those vehicles.

Could an unfortunate cyclist have been hit by the front of a truck because its driver failed to notice they were already in the crossing during the pedestrian phase of the light? Potentially, yes. Does it sound like that is what happened? Not, really, no. It sounds like the classic case of a cyclist's own speed carrying them to the corner or side of a vehicle they didn't realize would be already in the process of executing a proper turn before they entered the roadway.

Arguing about blame isn't going to make this situation safe. Building an overpass might, but there's no way to stack responsibility on one party such that the other can safely use the intersection unaware of their situation.

The only real way to make this safer is to understand exactly why it is a dangerous situation, and use it in a way informed by that understanding.

If that leaves the situation still too dangerous to use, then what the energy and anger should probably be usefully directed to would be campaigning to move the trail crossing south to the midpoint of the loop road, and putting in a dedicated traffic light there that goes red to stop traffic when the pedestrian crossing button is pushed. Putting the light at such a position where there is no turning vehicular traffic eliminates right-on-red as a source of confusion, and makes it far simpler for cyclists and pedestrians to tell what drivers are doing - they're either slowing in preparation to honor the red light, or they aren't.

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Old 03-10-21, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
When I read these write ups, I try to put myself in the cyclist's shoes. In this case, there is no way I would have been hit by a turning truck at that intersection. Situational awareness would have told an alert rider that the truck was going slow. What are the reasons a truck would have been going slow right there?
Down in the comments, someone familiar with the area said that trucks take that nice wide corner fast. I can see a scenario where she was in the crosswalk and the truck turned behind her and just swung wide. But we won't know until the police release the report.

If you look at the photo, that is a very badly designed intersection; the wide corners invite drivers to take them at speed, and there's no kind of pedestrian refuge, just six lanes of cars waiting to run you over.


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Old 03-10-21, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Down in the comments, someone familiar with the area said that trucks take that nice wide corner fast. I can see a scenario where she was in the crosswalk and the truck turned behind her and just swung wide. But we won't know until the police release the report.
Such things could happen there, but the witness report strongly suggests that's not what happened this time, but that the collision was with the side of the truck.

Typically such has the cyclist's own speed as the cause of ultimate closure. Though there is also the case where a cyclist or pedestrian realizes they are moving into the inside of a turn and stops, but doesn't anticipate the sideways movement of a truck trailer in a turn. A cyclist or older pedestrian may be less able to retreat back from that subtle danger than someone spry on their feet.

If you look at the photo, that is a very badly designed intersection; the wide corners invite drivers to take them at speed, and there's no kind of pedestrian refuge, just six lanes of cars waiting to run you over.

It also makes intended usage of the crosswalk look quite visible if it is entered at pedestrian speeds such that volnerable users are in driver's forward vision rather than to the side or overtaking from the rear and side.

IMHO the problem is that this intersection works for walking, or for through vehicular traffic in the lane correct for such intention.

But it does not really work for cycling as a vehicular type of movement which would take place in a fundamentally wrong position relative to the turn lane.

I'd either relocate the crossing to be its own light at the midpoint of the loop road, or give traffic savy cyclists an earlier opportunity to merge off the trail into an appropriate through lane position, and then really drive home with a series of multiple signs preceding the intersection that the trail crossing is intended for pedestrian equivalent movement only.

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Old 03-10-21, 02:34 PM
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We won't know for sure what happened until the police release the report. I was visualizing the truck turning behind her and the trailer swinging wide, as they do. You'd think the driver would have noticed blood and bits of bike & rider stuck to the truck.

Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Such things could happen there, but the witness report strongly suggests that's not what happened this time, but that the collision was with the side of the truck.

Typically such has the cyclist's own speed as the cause of ultimate closure. Though there is also the case where a cyclist or pedestrian realizes they are moving into the inside of a turn and stops, but doesn't anticipate the sideways movement of a truck trailer in a turn. A cyclist or older pedestrian may be less able to retreat back from that subtle danger than someone spry on their feet.



It also makes intended usage of the crosswalk look quite visible if it is entered at pedestrian speeds such that volnerable users are in driver's forward vision rather than to the side or overtaking from the rear and side.

IMHO the problem is that this intersection works for walking, or for through vehicular traffic in the lane correct for such intention.

But it does not really work for cycling as a vehicular type of movement which would take place in a fundamentally wrong position relative to the turn lane.

I'd either relocate the crossing to be its own light at the midpoint of the loop road, or give traffic savy cyclists an earlier opportunity to merge off the trail into an appropriate through lane position, and then really drive home with signage that the trail crossing is intended for pedestrian equivalent movement only.
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Old 03-10-21, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
I was visualizing the truck turning behind her and the trailer swinging wide, as they do.
That's not how the geometry works out.

A truck swings wide by initially moving beyond the closest turn lane, away from the turn. As the turn itself develops the back of the truck then takes a tighter turn and at some point may have a substantial sideways movement in towards the corner, run over the curb, etc - which is why they start the turn wide.

For someone to be hit by or collide with the side of the truck, the truck has to turn in front of them.

If the truck turns behind them, they get hit by the front of the truck. But people and objects in front are also most visible to the driver.

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Old 03-10-21, 03:56 PM
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I blame the design, as it encourages cyclists to exit the bike path and continue on a crosswalk. There's no signage or other assistance to right-turning vehicles warning of possible conflict. But experienced cyclists understand that design often works against them, and they take protective measures that may or may not exactly follow the "vehicle code".

Quite likely it was a "design to cost" situation.

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Old 03-10-21, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by scott967 View Post
I blame the design, as it encourages cyclists to exit the bike path and continue on a crosswalk. There's no signage or other assistance to right-turning vehicles warning of possible conflict. But experienced cyclists understand that design often works against them, and they take protective measures that may or may not exactly follow the "vehicle code".

Quite likely it was a "design to cost" situation.

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From a cyclist's perspective a sign wouldn't make any difference to me. I am looking over my shoulder before I enter that intersection, and if there's a vehicle that may turn right, I am not going to enter it.
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Old 03-10-21, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Down in the comments, someone familiar with the area said that trucks take that nice wide corner fast. I can see a scenario where she was in the crosswalk and the truck turned behind her and just swung wide. But we won't know until the police release the report.

If you look at the photo, that is a very badly designed intersection; the wide corners invite drivers to take them at speed, and there's no kind of pedestrian refuge, just six lanes of cars waiting to run you over.

It is a 90 degree turn. Trucks aren't going to be carrying too much speed into that turn.

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.6755.../data=!3m1!1e3

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Old 03-10-21, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
That's not how the geometry works out.

A truck swings wide by initially moving beyond the closest turn lane, away from the turn. As the turn itself develops the back of the truck then takes a tighter turn and at some point may have a substantial sideways movement in towards the corner, run over the curb, etc - which is why they start the turn wide.

For someone to be hit by or collide with the side of the truck, the truck has to turn in front of them.

If the truck turns behind them, they get hit by the front of the truck. But people and objects in front are also most visible to the driver.
It's why a lot of trucks have warning signs on the back. This truck makes wide right turns. In this accident it is important to note that a witness described the rider as "trying to push off of the truck. That suggests near parallel movement. There is no way I get taken out by a big rig there with the circumstances as they were described. Keep your head on a swivel my friends.

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Old 03-11-21, 09:43 AM
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When a vehicle comes from behind and causes a collision, it is that vehicles fault, pure and simple.

Again her family need to go to civil court to get justice.
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Old 03-11-21, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
When a vehicle comes from behind and causes a collision, it is that vehicles fault, pure and simple..
Unless you count the cyclist as that "vehicle" this doesn't match the witness description which suggests contact was made with the side, rather than front of the truck.

Could the truck have come up quickly, turned into the intersection and then been hit on its side by a cyclist who subsequently entered the intersection without reaction time to stop or avoid in a classic right hook? Indeed, yes. But that would require the cyclist to have disregarded the stop sign they had at the intersection, which is presumably there precisely to prevent entering the intersection at a speed where the cyclist could have "no time to react" to such an obstruction. Someone who stops at the stop sign, sees that things are clear, then enters the intersection still (like a pedestrian) risks being hit by the front of a later-arriving turning vehicle, but they don't risk their own momentum carrying them unavoidably into contact with the side of one.

We don't have to like the reality of the situation, but we do have to acknowledge that reality for safety discussion to have any meaning at all.

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Old 03-11-21, 01:16 PM
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There's a stretch of road here (UT Highway 193) that is even worse.
1) it's a 50 mph road, 2 lanes each direction, with additional right turn lanes at the intersections.
2) There's a parallel MUP about 30 feet off to the side that crosses at the crosswalks.
3) There's a ~10 foot wall between the MUP and road so drivers can't even see any bikes approaching the intersection until they are within ~30 feet of the turn.

Really REALLY dumb design for bikes. There is a wide 'parking lane' on either side, which is where I ride instead of the MUP. You can see the shadow from the wall in the view below.


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Old 03-11-21, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
Really REALLY dumb design for bikes.
It's certainly not an efficient design for bikes, as I suspect it treats bike progress through the intersection as functionally equivalent to pedestrian progress. It certainly does not teat bike traffic as roadway traffic, but then it can't realistically treat a mis-positioned through lane as a through lane.

What's the timing of the pedestrian crossing light relative to the main traffic light? My guess would be that when the pedestrian light signals crossing, there's a red for vehicle, quite possibly an all-walk phase. Technically that works, since anyone making a right-on-red is supposed to stop first.

FWIW, some of the worst designed-in conflict situations I've seen are where there are distinct road-adjacent bike and walking paths; drivers like to screech onto the the bike crossing without regard, and then wait there for a gap in pedestrians.

A realization that's growing more and more in my mind is the reality that isolated bike infrastructure gives a sense of safety in between intersections, but only at the high price of a far worse situation (in terms of both safety and convenience) at the intersection.

A problem for planners though is the the cyclist population includes both those with traffic skills and those (both adults and children) without. Sometimes it would be best to expect distinct behavior - interestingly the stretch of Livermore, CA in the original topic seems in recent imagery to have had both an on-street lane and the parallel MUP in much of the leadup to the crash location. But the crash location itself has only decade-old imagery, so it's hard to know if the on-street lane continues.

It's further interesting to note that the leadup to that intersection on Stanely shows the full range of options: a Dutch-style displaced crossing, a bike lane that formally swaps positions with the right turn lane, and then the dump-out of the MUP into the pedestrian-equivalent situation of the incident intersection.
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Old 03-11-21, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
It's certainly not an efficient design for bikes, as I suspect it treats bike progress through the intersection as functionally equivalent to pedestrian progress. It certainly does not teat bike traffic as roadway traffic, but then it can't realistically treat a mis-positioned through lane as a through lane.

What's the timing of the pedestrian crossing light relative to the main traffic light? My guess would be that when the pedestrian light signals crossing, there's a red for vehicle, quite possibly an all-walk phase. Technically that works, since anyone making a right-on-red is supposed to stop first.

FWIW, some of the worst designed-in conflict situations I've seen are where there are distinct road-adjacent bike and walking paths; drivers like to screech onto the the bike crossing without regard, and then wait there for a gap in pedestrians.

A realization that's growing more and more in my mind is the reality that isolated bike infrastructure gives a sense of safety in between intersections, but only at the high price of a far worse situation (in terms of both safety and convenience) at the intersection.

A problem for planners though is the the cyclist population includes both those with traffic skills and those (both adults and children) without. Sometimes it would be best to expect distinct behavior - interestingly the stretch of Livermore, CA in the original topic seems in recent imagery to have had both an on-street lane and the parallel MUP in much of the leadup to the crash location. But the crash location itself has only decade-old imagery, so it's hard to know if the on-street lane continues.

It's further interesting to note that the leadup to that intersection on Stanely shows the full range of options: a Dutch-style displaced crossing, a bike lane that formally swaps positions with the right turn lane, and then the dump-out of the MUP into the pedestrian-equivalent situation of the incident intersection.
Unfortunately, the pedestrian light corresponds exactly to the green light at all of the intersections along that stretch (and every other road in this city, at least).

I can't think of anywhere I've lived in the US where there was a pedestrian only signal at an intersection, even if only for a brief few seconds.
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Old 03-11-21, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
When a vehicle comes from behind and causes a collision, it is that vehicles fault, pure and simple.

Again her family need to go to civil court to get justice.
You're absolutely correct. I don't disagree at all. I say that because I also feel that while not illegal, and the driver is at fault, the cyclist probably made a mistake by not riding defensively in this classic right-hook situation. I hope we can agree that a cyclist ultimately is responsible for their own safety in predictably dangerous situations.

I'm lucky that I made this mistake fairly early in my riding history and was not injured - was able to ward off the turning, slow moving car with my arm and kind of turned with it as it was stopping (because I hit it). Nothing like this poor woman.

I hope that the family doesn't need civil court for justice - but that the legal system punishes the driver. Maybe civil court to follow to compensate for the loss.
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Old 03-11-21, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
the driver is at fault
That argument is unsupported by the witness report, and is one for which no one has yet managed to offer any theory of law or practical safety, but only raw political ideology.

Explain to us please, what you think happened, and under what actual principle of law that would put the driver at fault. Be sure to include in your explanation how the cyclist honored the intent of the stop sign, yet the collision was with the side of the truck.

And while cyclists are not pedestrians covered under California's crosswalk yield law, please also consider CVC 21950 (b) "No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard."

No argument that this isn't an intersection designed for efficient cycling. But it does not appear to be the driver who failed to use the intersection as designed.

If a cyclist or pedestrian were hit by the front of the truck, or the truck passed and then immediately turned in front of a cyclist riding on the roadway itself such that the cyclist had no time to react, then I'd blame the driver. But that does not appear to be what happened in this case.

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Old 03-11-21, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
That argument is unsupported by the witness report, and is one for which no one has yet managed to offer any theory of law or practical safety, but only raw political ideology.

Explain to us please, what you think happened, and under what actual principle of law that would put the driver at fault. Be sure to include in your explanation how the cyclist honored the intent of the stop sign, yet the collision was with the side of the truck.

And while cyclists are not pedestrians covered under California's crosswalk yield law, please also consider CVC 21950 (b) "No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard."

No argument that this isn't an intersection designed for efficient cycling. But it does not appear to be the driver who failed to use the intersection as designed.

If a cyclist or pedestrian were hit by the front of the truck, or the truck passed and then immediately turned in front of a cyclist riding on the roadway itself such that the cyclist had no time to react, then I'd blame the driver. But that does not appear to be what happened in this case.
I misunderstood where the rider was coming from, and didn't think there was a stop sign for her direction. I thought the rider was on a path that was parallel and alongside the right turn lane, going more or less straight onto the crosswalk. If she was on the path coming from the right, that requires a right turn onto the crosswalk and has the little stop sign - and didn't stop, of course it's a different story. However, it is still possible she stopped and entered the intersection before, or at the same time as the truck and hit the side of the cab towards the front of it and subsequently fell underneath the wheels of the trailer that was (as is normal) cutting the arc that the turning cab made. I don't say that to be argumentative but because it could have happened that way.

Anyway, you're right, I don't really know the facts and should withhold judgement. Regardless, I will stick to my other opinion that it's a predictably dangerous situation and it's essential to make sure nobody's turning right - or coming across from side street to the left against a light - in that sort of situation regardless of right of way. It would be tough to make that observation over the left shoulder if the rider is on a path parallel and going in the same direction to the right turn lane. If the rider is coming from the right as is that MUP with the stop sign, it would be much easier. The dangerous traffic is right in front of you. A reason to wonder if the truck was really already in the intersection? Enough from me, I'll keep quiet and be interested in seeing how this really ends up if it's investigated and reported on.
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Old 03-11-21, 08:56 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
I thought the rider was on a path that was parallel and alongside the right turn lane, going more or less straight onto the crosswalk. If she was on the path coming from the right, that requires a right turn onto the crosswalk and has the little stop sign - and didn't stop, of course it's a different story.
The paths merge before the intersection, there's only one path and curb cut leading at an angle to the crosswalk, and it has the stop sign. (There's another on the opposite corner where's there's only one path)

Or at least it had one. There's more recent streetview imagery of that corner from 84 rather than Stanley doesn't seem to show it any more.

Even if there is no longer a stop sign though, there's still the part of the vehicle code the prohibits moving into a crosswalk unsafely. And unlike for pedestrians, California drivers don't have to pre-emptively yield to a cyclist who merely wants to cross - they still can't hit someone if they arrive after they begin crossing safely, but someone who wants to cross does not actually have the right of way, especially over traffic already in the intersection. (That may feel unfair, but it's the same "vehicle that comes from behind" issue - applied to a smaller harder to spot vehicle that is a potentially fast-moving bike)

However, it is still possible she stopped and entered the intersection before, or at the same time as the truck and hit the side of the cab towards the front of it and subsequently fell underneath the wheels of the trailer that was (as is normal) cutting the arc that the turning cab made.
Entering at the same time would imply beginning a crossing when it was unsafe to do so. To continue that to an actual collision would imply entering the intersection carrying unsafe speed - basically, thinking of the crossing as a through traffic lane, when a crossing is really something quite distinct.

That really seems to be the most important lesson from this - a MUP alongside a road may feel like it's also a road, but it really isn't. Pedestrian crossing signals that are maybe not very clear if they coincide with or are (supposedly) protected from turning traffic may also play into that dangerous uncertainty.

I will stick to my other opinion that it's a predictably dangerous situation and it's essential to make sure nobody's turning right
Absolutely.

It would be tough to make that observation over the left shoulder if the rider is on a path parallel and going in the same direction to the right turn lane. If the rider is coming from the right as is that MUP with the stop sign, it would be much easier.
That may be part of why the path enters the crossing at an angle, regardless of which direction you originally approached it from. But needing to look over your shoulder is something that would occur while trying to ride integrated with traffic as a co-equal part of it, which isn't how that crossing works. Though when riding with traffic on the roadway, a mirror is quite useful to simplify such preliminary checks. Tractor trailers hauling gravel also make a ton of noise.

Last edited by UniChris; 03-12-21 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 03-11-21, 09:06 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
There's a stretch of road here (UT Highway 193) that is even worse.
1) it's a 50 mph road, 2 lanes each direction, with additional right turn lanes at the intersections.
2) There's a parallel MUP about 30 feet off to the side that crosses at the crosswalks.
3) There's a ~10 foot wall between the MUP and road so drivers can't even see any bikes approaching the intersection until they are within ~30 feet of the turn.

Really REALLY dumb design for bikes. There is a wide 'parking lane' on either side, which is where I ride instead of the MUP. You can see the shadow from the wall in the view below.


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Old 03-11-21, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
You'd think the driver would have noticed blood and bits of bike & rider stuck to the truck.
You would be surprised. My grandfather drove large trucks for over 50 years and if anything as small as a bike comes in contact with the trailer he would never know until seeing any damage well after he left the scene. Having said that something is fishy if the police refuse to release a copy of the report.
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Old 03-14-21, 05:24 PM
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Evidence? Facts? We don't need that.

Yet another victim blaming thread. From the first reply onward.

(Bonus points for the ENORMOUS yellow image that has NOTHING to do with this crash, not accident.)

-mr. bill
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Old 03-14-21, 08:08 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
the ENORMOUS yellow image that has NOTHING to do with this crash
With that complaint you've made it clear you're interested in politics and not in understanding how this happened.

Read what the witness had to say and really think about it for a bit, and maybe the relevance of that sign will start to be clear.

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