Friday, November 21, 2014

1980s Bicycle Safety Rap Video (Just Because)

It's Friday so how about a kids bicycle safety rap video from the 1980s.  Nothing not to love here. Sugarhill Gang style rapping, school kid archetypes (bully with 'tude, nerd, rich kid, etc.), gaudy clothes, and Styrofoam bike helmets that look like re-purposed dime store beer coolers.  Enjoy, and ri... ri... ri... ride safe!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Aurora Bicyclist Remains in Hospital Following Hit And Run Crash

The driver of a red pickup truck struck and seriously injured a 58 year old man riding his bicycle on Thursday in Aurora before fleeing the scene, according to The Beacon-News.  The impact left the truck's front grill in the street, and the bicyclist in critical condition.  The bicyclist, whose name has not been reported, remains in Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove.

The collision occurred at around 5:45 p.m. as the cyclist was riding on Liberty Street, just east of Farnsworth Avenue.  No other details of the crash have been reported.  Police at still looking for the driver.  Anyone with information about the crash or who may have seen a red pick up truck missing its front grill in the area should contact the Aurora Police Department at 630-256-5330.

When searching for a hit and run driver it is critical that a proper investigation be undertaken immediately.  This means talking to area residents and business owners in the days, if not hours, following the crash.  The area around Liberty and Farnsworth is mostly residential.  However, there is a large church, St. Therese of Jesus Catholic Church, at that location.  It is not clear from looking on Google Streetview whether the Church has any security cameras which could have captured the crash, but an inquiry should be made immediately.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Illinois Bicyclist Killed By Center Line Crossing Driver, State Police Blame Victim

A 53 year old male bicyclist on his way to work was killed in Arthur, Illinois by a driver who  crossed the roadway center line, according to The News-Gazette.  The motorist, 41 year old Jessie Lee Wilson of Mattoon, Illinois, was allegedly driving northbound on Moultrie Country Road 1800 East when he crossed the center line to pass a northbound bicyclist and struck the southbound cyclist, Velvon Schrock, 53.  The collision occurred at around 6:50 a.m. on Friday, October 31st.  The driver was cited for improper overtaking.

Mr. Schrock sustained massive head and neck injuries from after being struck by the front of the motor vehicle.  He was a worker at Lambright Distributors in Arthur, and is survived by his wife and three sons.

A press release from the Illinois State Police in Pesotum engages in victim blaming.  Despite charging the driver with improper overtaking of another bicyclist, according to The News-Gazette, the release states that Mr. Schrock "was not riding as close as practical to the right hand edge of the road.  He was also not wearing a bicycle helmet or any contrasting clothing."  It is not clear how the state police determined where Mr. Schrock was riding and why they felt that his position in the roadway was not as close as practical to the right side of the road.  The Illinois Vehicle Code states that a person riding a bicycle must "ride as close as practicable and safe" to the right edge of the roadway. (Emphasis is mine.)  There are numerous exceptions to this requirement that include passing another cyclist, preparing to make a left turn, when necessary to avoid dangerous condition along the right side of the road, and when riding in a substandard width lane.  "A 'substandard width lane' means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle. . . and a vehicle to travel safely side by side with in the lane."  Illinois bicyclists are not required to ride as close as possible to the right edge of the road.  It is not clear why the state police chose to suggest that Mr. Schrock's position in the roadway some how contributed to this sad event.

Also suspect is the state police's statement that Mr. Schrock was not wearing a helmet or contrasting clothing.  Neither is required under Illinois law.  Also, it is not clear whether use of a helmet would have made a lick of difference.  The collision that killed Mr. Schrock seems to have been head-on along a rural highway.  It seems likely that under the circumstances a helmet would have made little difference.  As for contrasting clothing, the crash occurred during daylight hours and there is no indication that weather played a role.  

The press release from the state police seems to have been more editorial than thoughtful investigation.  The suggestion is that Mr. Schrock did something wrong simply because he was riding his bike to work instead of driving.  This is wrong legally and ethically.  Illinois law grants the same rights to bicyclists to use our roads as to drivers.  It is the role of the state police to enforce the laws of our state, not comment on the transportation choices of its citizens.  

Services will be held for Mr. Schrock tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the HCK West Building, 2008 CR 1800 East.  Arrangments are to be made by the Edwards Funeral Home in Arthur.

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