Cyclist killed on Harts Run Rd.
So the fact that he took the lane instead of riding the berm makes it ok?
fwiw, I ride on the roads around this probably about once a week.
I street viewed this whole hill, traveling east. I don’t know what berm they are talking about. There was maybe a 12″ shoulder with a metal guard rail sticking out into it. I’d be taking the lane too. Poor news reporting if you ask me.
I also do not know why the driver is not being charged with a crime. If he rear ended a car and killed the driver he would be charged with a crime, I’m sure.
The motorist will probably claim that he/she “didn’t see the cyclist” or that he “suddenly swerved out in front of me”.
My suspicion is that the motorist had sun in his eyes and didn’t slow down. But that doesn’t relieve him of his simple responsibility not to to hit things that are in front of him.
Man that’s rough to hear that happening near my old backyard. Unfortunately I’m all too familiar with drivers wanting to drive around Indiana Township roads much faster than the sight-lines would safely allow. Harts Run has pretty good sight-lines at least between Saxonburg and Dorseyville Roads. However, rather than safely driving, people use this as an excuse to drive 50, sometimes 60 on a road with a posted speed limit of 40.
Just another reason to NOT take the lane on this road, at least if you were to be going uphill and yet another reason why suburban roads should meet a design standard that allows for a minimum width of shoulder or lane. I’m a big proponent of trying to establish design standards like this.
The PG article infuriated me enough to join just so I could respond. According to a KDKA.com article the Allegheny County police are investigating. Hopefully they will value the life of a fellow human more than the Indiana Township police who jumped the gun and said no charges would be pressed (according to the PG article).
I ride up that hill alot too. I see the victim was from Clearfield Rd which intersects Harts Run. He probably rode that way everyday, since his only other option to get anywhere would be Harts Run to Rt8.
@lyle He could have also lost control of the bicycle and fell under the wheels.
@lyle – no way the sun was in the driver’s eyes at 7am. It would have well below the crest of the hill at Dorseyville Rd.
I’m out in that area almost every weekend… likely less traffic on Sunday mornings.
I agree w/ dmtroyer, Rsprake and JZ….. so, JUST because the person was on a bike and NOT in a car, it is ok to freaking “accidentally” kill the cycler? How f-up is that?
I mean…. I’m sure the person on the truck did not do it on purpose, but not giving them any charges because of it sends the WRONG FREAKING MESSAGE!!!!!!
How can one expect drivers to respect cyclists on the road, when our laws and police enforcement don’t do jack-shit?
I’m willing to go out on a limb and say if the situation doesn’t improve. All of us here at bike-PGH need to sign a petition or something. As a former resident of Indiana Twp. I can safely say that there seems to be little consideration of bicyclists on the roads there. This may or may not be reflected in the police there, I’m not sure. I would be willing to go out on a limb and say that they’re like not as “bike-progressive” about laws even to the extent the city cops are, which is scary because the city cops are criticized all the time.
But yeah, person should be charged with vehicular manslaughter like any other driver that kills a pedestrian or another driver.
Just spoke to an Indiana Twp police officer who was not on duty when this happened. He said that Allegheny Co Police were investigating the incident and to follow up with them. He did say if he had to guess that this would be labeled as a “tragic accident” and nothing more, but that was just a guess. I inquired what constitutes “reckless driving” under PA state law and he informed me that “reckless driving” is driving with the intent to do harm. “Careless driving” is the next step down. I inquired if the driver should be issued a citation for careless driving since s/he clearly did not have control of the vehicle. The officer had no comment.
I called the Allegheny Co. Police and spoke to a very curt lady who informed me that she had no additional information and that the investigation was ongoing.
Thank you Scott…
AND YES… that’s vehicular manslaughter!
And yes, signing or starting a petition for something like this sounds like a good idea if this is the situation. I mean…. I’ll admit that I’m not very knowledgable on what kind of laws -if any, protect cyclists. But… it frightens me that someone can kill or injure a cyclist and no action is taken. How can one take cyclists seriously that way? And how can we demand more respect from drivers? I KNOW accident happens, but what one can deem as an ‘accident’ is so broad, asshole / road rage / intoxicated / careless / drivers can get away with anything!!
This also makes me curious: Do driving tests (at least the written part) cover anything about hot to drive around cyclists? I would think that maybe that would be a way to ‘educate’ people… at least the new drivers.
Also, city/boroughs could rack a ton of money if they included as traffic violations ‘careless drivers’ harrassing cyclers. And hell… even maybe for cyclists to get a type of licenses & a cycling test too if they plan to use their bike as their main mode of transportation?
I know I’m just rambling at this point, but really…. this is making me stop & think that…. if someone -anyone, can get away at running me over the road and killing me JUST because I choose to be healthy & sustainable for riding a bike…. do I wanna keep on commuting on the streets? Because as a cyclist I don’t have the same rights as an automobile? Because ‘accidents happen’?
Seriously… this pisses me off…
Contrast this with the story about a woman struck and injured on the Parkway North. The driver is in custody awaiting charges.
“speed not reasonable”
“failure to yield”
“failure to exercise due care”
“failure to provide a safe passing distance when overtaking”
I bet if that was a cop directing traffic, the Indiana police would be a lot more eager to cite.
PS. This is why I am unimpressed with 3-foot or 4-foot passing laws. We already have laws against running people over. If those won’t be enforced, any advocacy effort spent on 3-foot laws is a huge waste of time.
i’m going to hold off my anger until we know for sure what happened and that charges won’t be filed.
but if it ends up like it seems now, a petition is not enough. not even close.
Wow…I don’t know what to say…
So sad and makes me so mad…
Wow, the WTAE coverage is horrible. It seems like the reporter just called medical examiner and not the police.
This makes me angry. I am sorry for the poor victim’s family and their senseless loss. I can’t think of a good reason why a cyclist travelling with traffic, in the lane, in daylight in good weather should have an incident with a vehicle, much less a tragic one. Which means that I can’t see how this was not unavoidable….unless there are some elements missing from the story.
It reminds me – too much – of an article I read in a Wisconsin paper earlier this week. Experienced cyclist killed during an early morning training ride on rural roads. Driver was turning left into a driveway, and “didn’t see the cyclist…” Cyclist rode into passenger door of vehicle, died immediately. Driver was not charged. Final verdict – cyclist was on a training ride and may have been intending to do hills at high speeds. Cyclist MAY not have even looked up, being intent on speed rather than road. Mitigating factors? Cyclist training for a ride that featured hills. Not mitigating factors? 16 year old driver. Driving on less than 6 hours sleep, after having about 6 beers with his father at a fireman’s picnic the night before. Determined at scene (apparently) to have been sober… Oh, and apparently unable to see a lycra clad cyclist – riding in a group of cyclists – on a rural road.
This all makes me just plain ANGRY. This is not about harassment. This is about legal use of the road. This is not about an offending driver “feeling really sorry” and “regretting it for the rest of his life.” This is about a cyclist (or cyclists) losing their life, and leaving a whole family who will be equally sorry for the rest of their lives.
I hope they throw the book at this guy, AND require that he do about a thousand hours of community service on safe motor vehicle use in the proximity of cyclists. They won’t but man, I wish they would.
Sorry about the rant. For those of you who know me, you know it takes a lot to get me this pissed off.
What can we do, as a group to make sure that cyclists are taken seriously in any FUTURE incidents (assuming there will be more…)
New details….this was no novice cyclist.
INDIANA TOWNSHIP (KDKA) ?
Don Parker, of Allison Park, leaves behind a wife and three children.
A man from Allison Park has died following an accident this morning in Indiana Township.
Don Parker, 52, had two passions – one for the people in his life and the other for bicycling.
He kept a picture of his cycling team in his office at Aptech Computer Systems.
“You don’t come across people very often like him, Mary Robb, family friends, co-workers, the simple things in life were the most important to him,” Jill Wilder, who’s worked with Don for 25 years, said.
But about 7 a.m. on Hart’s Run Road, Don was on his Schwinn mountain bike. It was his daily eight-mile ride to work from Allison Park to Fox Chapel. He was traveling west when he was struck from behind by a Ford truck and killed.
Friends, like Sean Fitzpatrick, could not believe it.
“I was in shock because he is an extremely safe rider,” he said. “He would put on all the gear – the helmet, the lights.”
Police believe the man driving the truck may have been distracted. Police also confirm that Don was wearing a helmet and had lights on his bike.
Sean Fitzpatrick, who is also a veteran cyclist, got a text message “Pray for Don,” but Don had died of his injuries just before 11 a.m. at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital.
“You get news and it’s like life changes. It’s like you make plans and then life happens all of a sudden, just like that,” he said.
At Aptech in RIDC Park, there were many tears for their lost friend. Don worked there as a manager.
“Don and his family are very special to us,” Wilder said. “He has worked here 28 years.”
A few years ago when one of his co-workers was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Don put together a fundraising cycling team to participate in the MS-150 – riding from Cranberry to Erie – 150 miles.
“He took that on as his personal way to help out and the scarf he used to wear on that bike ride when he returned he used to give to her,” Wilder said.
Don was married and the father of two girls and a boy. Losing him leaves a huge vacuum in a lot of lives.
“Huge. We are all just numb,” Wilder said. “We just don’t know yet how we’re going to deal with all this.”
Allegheny County Police are investigating the accident.
Wow….. this for me just got worst!!! I know that getting angry is not the solution, but really…. this is extremely sad!
outrageously tragic, angering and terrifying. prayers to the family.
Distracted driving which results in the death of a pedestrian, cyclist, or motorist should have similar penalties as DUI causing death. In PA that’s apparantly 2 to 10 yrs in prison… which is also not enough time AFAIC, but it would at least be a start. I’ll bet the driver was playing with his phone…. cyclist had lights? It’s not exactly easy to miss a blinkie in that shaded hollow.
Outraged like everyone else.
Obviously very sad, and my sympathies go out to Mr. Parker’s friends and family.
I don’t know if I’m angry about it as much as just sickened and discouraged, because it happens over and over again. Driver kills cyclist (or pedestrian), suffers no or minimal consequences, so there’s no deterrent.
How did we get to this point? I keep having this thought that if someone from before cars time traveled to the present, they’d think it was obvious that the people operating the 2 ton metal boxes at high speeds should have complete responsibility for not hitting and killing the people that don’t. *Isn’t* it obvious? Why doesn’t it work that way? Worse, why do I feel like that is a foreign concept to most people, including cops?
couldn’t agree more about distracted driving. Given her immense influence upon her massive audience, the <a href=”http://www.oprah.com/questionaire/ipledge.html?id=4
“>no phone zone gives me some encouragement.
Wonder if the police are checking to see if driver was on cell phone at time of crash.
If you run over someone in the middle of the road, isn’t that prima facie evidence that you were distracted?
When did we become regarded as ‘safe’ targets? Does being on a bike make you less of a human being? (sigh)
Fifty-year-old guy, being very obviously visible, with a lot of road experience, riding his bike on a suburban road, where sight lines are pretty good, and the sun was behind him.
Y’know, that could just as easily be me, anytime I take the bike out.
Updated article on kdka
I took the liberty of emailing this to Mary Robb Jackson at KDKA;
“Your recent piece on Don Parker, the cyclist who was killed by a truck, was very well done. This was a tragedy. Please, PLEASE, do a follow up to this. There is a large and growing cycling community in the Pittsburgh region, this man could have been any one of us. We are all stunned by this incident, but what is more stunning is the general feeling that when things like this happen, it is treated no differently than if the driver had hit a deer or a dog in the road. No charges are usually filed, and the driver is commonly back on the road within days. WHY!!! There are limits to what can reasonably and honestly called an accident.
If you want the thoughts and perspective on this incident, I suggest contacting Scott Bricker at Bike Pittsburgh, an advocacy organization working to improve cycling conditions in our area, at 412.325.4334 or bike-pgh.org”
I hope that is ok, Scott?
Nick, a ghost bike seems like a good idea, but right now, I’m leaning more toward a tour-de-france style painting on the road that says “murder, 5-27-2010”.
Now would be a good time to contact your state senator about HB67, http://www.yorkdispatch.com/viewpoints/ci_15165060
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