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NYT: 5 cyclists killed near Las Vegas

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NYT: 5 cyclists killed near Las Vegas

Old 12-13-20, 10:45 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
Itís hard for me to tell from the photos if the paved shoulder is wide enough to comfortably ride in a double pace line.
I have ridden on that road (Hwy 95) a number of times. The paved shoulder to the right of the rumble strip is too narrow for a double pace line and too narrow for the support vehicle. It is speculation of course but I believe that the support car was straddling the rumble strip which would put it partly in the right travel lane. The riders would likely have been in a double line behind the car with some riders to the right of the rumble strip and some to the left. The ones who were struck were probably in the left of that group. I suspect that there were plenty of flashing lights among them including the cars hazard lights. Combine that with generally brightly colored jerseys and the large size of the group, along with the higher viewing position of the truck driver and it seems pretty clear that the driver of the box truck was not paying attention. He could have run into a school bus or anything else just as easily! It is a shame that these distracted drivers usually hurt others and not themselves.
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Old 12-13-20, 12:28 PM
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Here is another photo:
https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/...truck-2212306/



I think this was the location of the crash. There appears to be a long sweeping curve on approach to the crash site. So visibility was likely reduced somewhat.

https://www.google.com/maps/@35.6594...7i16384!8i8192

The morning sun should be from the southeast. The visor appears to be down in the truck, but he sun shouldn't be that low after 9 AM.
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Old 12-13-20, 01:04 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post

Notice the dip in the road ahead. If the collision happened in that dip, the dip could have delayed the truck driver seeing the cyclist and SAG vehicle.
I was misled by this also. The block has to be at a U turnable spot. This location is at 12.6 miles north at hwy 165, if using CliffordK location. I think he's correct. I used the measure on Google. I was assuming it was near the end of the divided lanes. Damn reporters.
Some of the photos show it's possible the car could be all in the shoulder. Blinkers would not be visible IMO. Plus at the collision site they would have been looking directly into the sun after just rounding the bend.
I see that side by side is often the default position of these guys, but I would prefer to be a half bike back.
I also hate these deep divots, there is just no need for this. The little divots in the center line I have noticed they make almost as much noise. Going fast over these is actually less of a problem IME. But then, my bike weighs a ton. LOL. Your CF may differ.
NOT using a big mirror on a highway is just plain dumb, sad to say.

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Old 12-13-20, 02:41 PM
  #54  
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The video news report says the box truck veered into the lane the cyclist were riding in.
https://www.8newsnow.com/news/local-...sts-box-truck/
All the damage to the truck is on the right side front of the truck and right side passenger door of the truck. Looks like there is a skid mark from the right lane going well off the road and through the shoulder. Probably the SAG van being pushed off the road.

The bicycle debris field is in the right lane, on the shoulder and off in the gravel.

To me, that adds up to 2 possiblities:
1. the truck was in the passing lane and swerved into the cyclist in the right lane
2. the cyclist were in the right half of the right lane and the truck (in the right lane) drove straight into them from behind.

Good on CliffordK for posting the photos.
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Old 12-13-20, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
I was misled by this also. The block has to be at a U turnable spot. This location is at 12.6 miles north at hwy 165, if using CliffordK location. I think he's correct. I used the measure on Google. I was assuming it was near the end of the divided lanes. Damn reporters.
There was a police officer interview conducted at the roadblock that gave a few general details, but also said the accident was about 12 miles south which gave a general location to hunt. Then the wide aerial view is the best match for the location on the Google map.
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Old 12-13-20, 03:47 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Bob N. View Post
NYT article says they were riding on shoulder. Graphic shows them riding in the lane.

Which is it? Whoever got it wrong deserves a dressing down.
The NYT article I posted was one of the first national news reports. It is hard to get everything right in the first report. I haven't followed that closely, but it sounds like it is still ambiguous whether the cyclists were in the right lane or the shoulder.

Although this is an important detail for purposes of assigning blame and/or liability, the main point of the news story is that 5 cyclists were killed. The veracity of that claim has nothing to do with what lane they occupied.
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Old 12-13-20, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
it is still ambiguous whether the cyclists were in the right lane or the shoulder.

Although this is an important detail for purposes of assigning blame and/or liability, the main point of the news story is that 5 cyclists were killed. The veracity of that claim has nothing to do with what lane they occupied.
As far as "Blame", it is irrelevant where the cyclists were, as long as they didn't suddenly swerve into the left lane. Even if a car stops in a traffic lane, one can't just plow in to their rear-end although timing can be an issue for an unfolding accident.

The truck driver remains at fault for hitting the cyclists, unless there is a posted state law that was being violated.

Still, it could be an important distinction for cycling safety in general.

We have some strong divisions among cyclists here between shoulder cycling, as far right as possible cycling, and "Take the Lane".

With the Kalamazoo cycling crash a few years ago, there was no safe place on the road with a highly impaired driver. We're still missing details on whether this driver was distracted, drowsy, or in some manner impaired.
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Old 12-13-20, 07:42 PM
  #58  
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Here is a 3rd possibility:

The truck was driving in the #2 lane, where you would normally drive. In some states you must not drive in the #1 lane... this is for passing.

The bikers either were in the #2 lane, or halfway.

Truck coming up on them at 75mph doesn't realize this is a slow moving vehicle. Swerves at the last moment, clipping the left half of the group.

smacking the left rear of the Subaru with the right front of the truck.

I don't think we will know until they have questioned everybody. And most likely they have asked everyone not to comment.


That gravel shoulder.. looks like redrock gravel, or the worst chipseal you ever saw. Which is it?
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Old 12-14-20, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
The car may (should) have been driving with hazards. But, if the bikes didn't have really bright blinkies, they may have also obscured the hazard lights.
I'd be surprised if the bikes rode with their blinkies on. I never ride without front and rear strobes, when solo. But on a group ride, I only had to be yelled at once to "turn the damn thing off" because it annoyed and was too bright for those behind. The last rider in a group should have a strobe, but not the others.

In any case, a terribly tragic affair.
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Old 12-14-20, 07:26 PM
  #60  
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It's unclear what exactly was actually happening here, with conflicting reports from various sources particularly over the road position of the cyclists.

But could anyone with local knowledge clarify for matter of reference it if would be permitted to take the lane on a road like that? Or privately operate an escort car in a travel lane there at cycling speeds?

Obviously, this part of the west is simply huge with dozens of miles between just about anything, and as such it's well outside my east-coast experience. Back east we have state highways into the 50 mph range with nice shoulders that apart from pinch points can be pretty comfortable rides. And we have interstate up to 65 mph with huge actually paved shoulders that are explicitly signed against human power and with 40 mph minimum speed regulation. What we don't have are these state highways with interstate speed but no access limitations and associated posted regulations... When our highway departments want to block or slowly traverse an interstate, they tend to put a dump truck with big lights towing a few cubic yards of concrete at bumper level as a shield for the convoy or workers.

But what are the local expectations and regulations on a road like Nevada Highway 95?

(To be clear, I am asking specifically about taking a travel lane; it's already been well explained that because there are no other roads between things, one is permitted to utilize the roadway corridor in some fashion, vs most east-coast roads of comparable speed where it is not permitted to be present even on the shoulder)

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Old 12-14-20, 09:44 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by volosong View Post
I'd be surprised if the bikes rode with their blinkies on. I never ride without front and rear strobes, when solo. But on a group ride, I only had to be yelled at once to "turn the damn thing off" because it annoyed and was too bright for those behind. The last rider in a group should have a strobe, but not the others.

In any case, a terribly tragic affair.
With an experienced group like this, they ride in a paceline and often in a double paceline; so the last rider is constantly changing.
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Old 12-14-20, 09:47 PM
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Most western states don't have a posted minimum speed limit, and I don't see one listed on the Wikipedia Page for Nevada

HWY 95 is also a state highway, with a few direct access points, and not an interstate highway with controlled entrances and exits, so it may have different restrictions from an interstate highway.

Ok, I found this Nevada DOT page

Page 8/9, Section Q3.
Q3:Should a bicyclist ride in a Bicycle Lane or roadway shoulder if available?A: Yes. Bicyclists should always take advantage of opportunities to ride in the safest roadway position available. Most bicyclists will prefer to ride as far from passing traffic as possible even though there is no law that obligates a bicyclist to only use a shoulder or bicycle lane.

Every person operating a bicycle or an electric bicycle upon a roadway shall [ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.], EXCEPT:
(a)When traveling at a lawful rate of speed commensurate with the speed of any nearby traffic;
(b)When preparing to turn left; or
(c)When doing so would not be safe(NRS 484B.777)

Persons riding bicycles or electric bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles or electric bicycles.(NRS 484B.777
Page 22/23, Section Q25
Q25. May bicycles ride upon freeways and Interstate highways in Nevada?A. It depends. In most urban areas bicycles are prohibited on freeways and interstates due to large traffic volumes and complex traffic movements. Most urban areas offer safer alternatives for bicyclists on local roads. Due to Nevadaís rural nature outside of its cities, in many cases the freeways/interstates may provide the only access for bicycles. In these situations bicycling on freeways/interstates is allowed.

[followed by a list of urban restrictions that don't apply to this case]
So, they seem to encourage riding on shoulders, but it doesn't seem to be required. And there doesn't seem to be any minimum speeds. Farming may be different in Nevada than elsewhere, but there may be times when slow moving vehicles would be on the highways, although there do seem to be several dirt frontage roads.

Nevada is an "as far right as practicable" state, but it doesn't seem to require riding on a shoulder, and generally seems to allow 2 cyclists to ride side-by-side. So, 3 or 4 people sucking a bumper may not be legal.

So, as far as I can tell, riding in the right lane on a highway may well be legal, but it may not be prudent.

The legality of actually DRIVING on the shoulder seems to also be ambiguous. And, it would be a long drive down those rumble strips.

Like I said earlier, my Fiat 500 is about 4 feet wide, and would be very happy on that shoulder, but most other cars in the USA are closer to 6 to 6.5 feet wide, and would have significant issues with the drive (although the Smart and New 500 may be closer to 5 feet). One could straddle the rumbles, but it would still be a long drive. At least the old Fiat might discourage cyclists from sucking the exhaust
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Old 12-14-20, 10:12 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
With an experienced group like this, they ride in a paceline and often in a double paceline; so the last rider is constantly changing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1rXCcNG1GM
The double pace line may be good for the front group, but not necessarily for those drafting behind the car.

Still, if they weren't using blinkers in the pace line, they probably wouldn't have turned them on for drafting the car.

I have to wonder how close the car was following the cyclists. The car should definitely be far enough back that should a cyclist go down, the car doesn't hit the cyclist. At the same time, don't let cars pull around the support vehicle and into the cyclist group.

The heavy truck may have pushed the car forward somewhat. How much distance would the car be pushed? Looking at the overall aerial photo, that is a LONG debris field. Even 3 or 4 car lengths space might not have been enough.
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Old 12-15-20, 02:55 AM
  #64  
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The back car was there for safety and the riders should not have been allowed behind it.
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Old 12-15-20, 10:43 AM
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Another possible option, given the reported swerve of the box truck and the conditions, is that the wind gusted and caused the truck to swerve. I've driven large box trucks a few times, and unless one is a professional driver (I'm not, but I tend to caution) one should slow down quite a bit in those sort of conditions.

My bet is still distracted by a cell phone, but it could have been a combination of those factors.
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Old 12-15-20, 11:11 AM
  #66  
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Several years ago I survived the driver training course for United Parcel Service (yeah, wore the Brown). I'm an 'avid motorist' and that training is tougher than I ever could have predicted - and I learned a lot. As a trained truck driver, there's almost never an excuse for any type of incident. This question -"was there any any anything the driver could have done differently to avoid this situation?" - is how UPS decides if you keep your job after an incident (usually, no, you don't). Now we are not discussing a fender-bender or a toppled mailbox. This truck driver rear-ended and killed people on a clear day and open road. Lane or shoulder is moot. Unless the brakes AND steering simultaneously failed at precisely the moment of approach, there's no excuse. Pretty safe prediction that this driver will do jail time for involuntary manslaughter, given the severity of the case. I. Certainly. Hope.
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Old 12-15-20, 11:25 AM
  #67  
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Wind could have impacted the truck, but if that was the case, the driver would have been dealing with those conditions for quite some time, and should have compensated (slowing down, moving onto the left shoulder, etc).

This incident also occurred near a highway entrance/exit of sorts. It is possible that something occurred in the cross-over that impacted driving on the freeway.

Again, a driver should have look-ahead, and adjusted driving to actual conditions.
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Old 12-15-20, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by notso_fastlane View Post
another possible option, given the reported swerve of the box truck and the conditions, is that the wind gusted and caused the truck to swerve. I've driven large box trucks a few times, and unless one is a professional driver (i'm not, but i tend to caution) one should slow down quite a bit in those sort of conditions.

My bet is still distracted by a cell phone, but it could have been a combination of those factors.

agree
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Old 12-15-20, 01:38 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
Pretty safe prediction that this driver will do jail time for involuntary manslaughter, given the severity of the case. I. Certainly. Hope.
Actually not.

Unless the driver was impaired - which apparently he was not -
Or was texting - he will probably will not serve any time.

Rarely are people who kill cyclists convicted of serious charges.
Quite often there are no charges at all - esp. it there was a single fatality.
Dead cyclists cannot testify. And the newspapers read -
"He swerved right in front of the car."

If I am killed on the road by a careless drive,
and they say, "He swerved right in front of me."
I hope a cyclist friend says, "I doubt it."
"He had 100,000+ miles of cycling experience."
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Old 12-15-20, 01:48 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
If I am killed on the road by a careless drive,
and they say, "He swerved right in front of me."
I hope a cyclist friend says, "I doubt it."
"He had 100,000+ miles of cycling experience."
Hard to say whether there will be charges. Likely there are subpoenas being issued for cell phone records. An inspection of electronics in the vehicle from hands-free phone systems to radios. A search of prior speeding tickets and safety violations, etc.

A "swerve" is often due to road conditions, irrespective of experience. Although, I am occasionally surprised when 2 or 3 cars pass when I'm expecting 1 or 2.

In this case, we haven't been informed about road conditions.

But we do have an active discussion about lane positioning, as well as in front of or behind the SAG wagon.
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Old 12-15-20, 02:25 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Truck coming up on them at 75mph doesn't realize this is a slow moving vehicle. Swerves at the last moment, clipping the left half of the group.
This crash reminds me of one I was a witness to on a six lane limited access highway. Two autos evidently had some sort of a fender bender and were stopped on the fast lane. Just at the point where I was nearly alongside and in the middle lane, but moving slowly due to uncertainty about what I was seeing,a third auto, also in the fast lane but not aware the first two were stopped, plows into them. I first heard the squeal of tires followed almost instantly but the sound of a crash. The force of the impact caused the car to bounce into my lane. I was able to maneuver around the auto that was now halfway into my lane. The lesson for me was to be hyper vigilant but in actuality there is no defense against distracted drivers. In our very rushed and busy society, where 24 hours are not nearly enough for us, there are plenty of distracted people.
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Old 12-15-20, 07:01 PM
  #72  
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I am glad others mentioned the damnable rumble strips, which generally cause more problems for cyclists than they solve. In my city they have been putting flexible stanchions to "protect" cyclists, but the safety provided is illusory, and we end up trapped and unable to take the travel lane and release it as needed. Rumble strips would likewise make claim-and-release impossible.

Be that as it may, I hate driving, let alone bicycling, on a road with a 75mph posted limit.
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Old 12-15-20, 07:23 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
My bet is still distracted by a cell phone, but it could have been a combination of those factors.
It would seem to me distraction of some sort, but, I've driven in traffic with enough people who don't seem to pay attention to anything more than ten feet ahead of their car, judging by the way I can see brake lights ahead for half a mile but they go flying up behind the slowed/stopped cars and then slam on the brakes...
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Old 12-15-20, 07:25 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
I am glad others mentioned the damnable rumble strips, which generally cause more problems for cyclists than they solve. In my city they have been putting flexible stanchions to "protect" cyclists, but the safety provided is illusory, and we end up trapped and unable to take the travel lane and release it as needed. Rumble strips would likewise make claim-and-release impossible.

Be that as it may, I hate driving, let alone bicycling, on a road with a 75mph posted limit.
I don't want to underestimate the benefits of rumble strips for all users. Keep the vehicles traveling in their lanes, and alert drowsy or distracted drivers. Perhaps even alert drowsy cyclists.

@jamawani has several suggestions to make the rumbles better including moving them to the left (under the fog line), and using narrow rumbles. And, "escape gaps" which would allow a bicycle to jump left (or get off of those damnations), and then re-enter when safe.

Unfortunately poor planning means they could well be there for quite some time, unless proven to be super dangerous.

Somewhere there was an accident mentioned in the southeast a couple of years ago where there was a narrow, but rideable shoulder with rumbles that crossed the entire shoulder.

There aren't many of those posts around here, but I think I saw some in Portland. In effect making lanes narrower and harder to navigate for all road users. Space them by about 10 feet and you might be able to get around them without hitting too many. Cargo trailers, of course can be problematic with many artificial road obstacles.
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Old 12-16-20, 08:07 AM
  #75  
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Bikes: Cervelo R3 Disc, Pinarello Prince/Campy SR; Cervelo R3/Sram Red; Trek 5900/Duraace, Cervelo P2C/Duraace, Cannondle Tandem/Ultegra, Lynskey GR260 Ultegra

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I hope this posts continues to focus on the accidents but I have to toss in my personal experience with rumble strips. When I rode across the US I rode on a wide variety of roads from bike paths to Interstates. The thing which was clear was there was not a rumble strip standard, even on US highways. It would seem to me there should at least be a best practice or even better a standard requirement for its placement on roadways. The worst design I experienced was on a newly paved 70 mph highway (US 20) with a very nice 3’ paved shoulder. Unfortunately someone put the new rumble strip 1-1/2’ from the edge of the pavement and right in the middle of the shoulder, way too far to the right of the fog line. If debris was on that 18” portion you had to cross the rumble strip which almost put you into traffic. Not to mention possibly losing control of the bike and falling into traffic. I’d love to see some advocacy which called for collaboration on rumble strip requirements and design.
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