Monday, September 2, 2013

Cyclist captures hit-and-run on camera

A teenager with a camera mounted on his handlebar caught a truck driver slamming into him. The truck was accelerating - rather than slowing down - to make a right turn at the upcoming light.The truck driver then fled the scene. Will Fresno PD act?

A TV station has the story, and apparently because they have the exclusive on the video, they have the "exclusive" on the news - I didn't see any reporting in the Bee. 

The TV station is calling it an "accident" and running with the "both sides are to blame" angle. Why are both sides to blame? Because the wife of the driver says so.

KMPH news reporter Erika Cervantes spoke with RMS manager Marcey Stark on the telephone. Stark told her that she did not want to comment on camera, but Stark did say her husband was the person driving the car that ran into the bicyclist. Stark also said that her husband told her that the bicyclist is the one at fault, because he's the one who hit the car. Stark went on to say if her husband did something illegal Fresno Police would contact them, but they haven't, so she is not concerned about it. She also added that Fresno Police need to hear her side of the story and she's skeptical that the bicyclist contacted a news station. Then she hung up on Cervantes.
KMPH

The wife admits her husband knew there was a collision, and still fled. She also says shes not concerned her husband has no regard for human life.

If you click to the news story, you can see the video. The video is very clear, so it's quite easy to see what happened.

It is impossible to dispute that the truck driver is guilty of a crime. He fled the scene, which makes it a hit-and-run. Full stop. His wife admitted the driver knew what happened, and fled. Since the driver came from behind the cyclist, and cut him off, it would be impossible to claim "I didn't see him!"

Even if he was not at fault, fleeing is still a crime, and Fresno PD must act on it.

That being said, the driver was clearly at fault for causing the collision Approaching the intersection in the eastbound direction, the road consists of one turn lane, one general lane, and one bike lane. At the intersection, there is a left turn lane, a general lane, a bike lane, and the addition of the right turn lane.

Because the driver is going from the eastbound lane to the new right turn lane, he is turning across the bike lane. All vehicles changing lanes must signal their turn AND yield to traffic already in the lane next to them. What he should have done was slow down, merge behind the cyclist, and then turn.

In the diagram, the yellow line indicates the change in lanes, which must yield to traffic continuing straight on their green line.

 photo dakota1_zps8679e7bf.jpg(yes the general lane is extraordinarily wide)


Of course the driver isn't the only one to blame. The city has done a poor job with their striping and signage. Now in this case, the company the driver works for (owns?) is based only a couple of blocks away, so he obviously drives this road daily and should be familiar with the striping. For everyone else, it may be a little confusing.

The bike lane is "abandoned" at the most dangerous part - the merge. No signage is placed to remind turning traffic to yield, and it might be unclear where cyclists should ride. The road is also excessively wide, leading to speeding (visible in the video).


Here are the existing conditions:
 photo dakota3_zpsf9531ef6.jpg

And here's what proper striping would look like. At the very least, the city should use a dashed line to create a continuous bike lane.

 photo dakota2_zpse7206199.jpg

The city has a chance to redeem themselves by arresting the motorist and amending their striping plan. Will they? I'm not optimistic. 


The cyclist should also learn some defensive techniques to prevent future incidents with careless (and then criminal) motorists. Even though the cyclist was, by definition, proceeding straight from the bike lane to a bike lane, he might have been better off using arm signals to make the movement abundantly clear. That being said, if I were him, I'd be looking at a lawyer to press civil charges.

13 comments:

  1. I've had idiots blame me when I clearly have the right of way. I hope Fresno police and the local prosecutor act on that video, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Defensive cycling is certainly a must, but I'm not sure I can agree with your last paragraph. You signal for a left and right turn. What's the signal to indicate your're going straight?

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    1. In this case the left hand would sort of act as a DONT PASS ME signal. As I said, certainly not required, but an easy defensive step. Would it have prevented the collision? No way to say, just noting it MAY have helped.

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  3. There seems to be a pretty pervasive attitude among drivers (and police departments!) that cyclists are always at fault, if not for breaking a rule, then for simply intruding on "their" (the drivers') road... ><

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  4. Oh, I'm not letting this go. Legal action is taking place. The police officers were both on motorcycles, they knew the whole deal with stuff like this and were excellent. I usually turn left at this light, but i thought for once I'd take a longer, more relaxing route around Costco instead of going through their back alley. So just fyi, this is my first time taking this part of the bike lane. I was thinking about signaling but i thought it'd insinuate that i'd want to merge to the left lane as opposed to the one I'm already in. Lots of people said i should have checked behind me just in case, but I'm more worried about what's in front of me when approaching an intersection rather than what is behind me. It's just one of those unfortunate things that had happened beyond my control. As a result of this, i now have a mirror attached to the side of my sunglasses for extra precaution.

    PS: I was searching for some new areas to bike to in Fresno/Clovis and stumbled across this. Awesome, thanks for getting the word out about drivers safety! :D

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    1. Thanks for the update. I'd love to hear more if/when you get a proper resolution.

      Also, as you seem to be a frequent rider, make sure you let the city know how important safe infrastructure is to you.

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    2. I will and do the best i can. Wouldn't mind painting some lines there myself if i had the opportunity to.

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  5. Ok, so it's finally been settled as of today. Cost of damages has been covered by their insurance, and i was low balled for the 'pain and suffering' part of it because they still claim that I'm at fault even though the officer ruled that i wasn't, i refused to go to the hospital which made it look like it wasn't much of a deal because i am very hard headed when it comes to injuries, and statements like 'We've seen your other videos (parkour), you do risky things!' is a total bullshit idea to try and grasp for since they lack a solid argument. I'm really just tired of the whole back and forth. What really keeps me happy is the bad publicity, that is priceless and they deserve it. Just happy to finally put this behind me. Oh and btw the continuation of the Clovis trail in Old Town Clovis is awesome to see being made after reading what you knew, thanks for the heads up on that!

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    1. Glad you had a decent ending. Mind if I highlight this for readers not looking at old comments?

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    2. Sure go for it.

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    3. Did the police ever follow up with you in terms of charging the driver?

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    4. Nope, don't really know how that works. I'm sure if he was jailed then he was just bailed out anyways.

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