Cyclist killed in Oakland

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Vannevar
Participant
#

In the “bike-lane” discussion: the question of left-turning bikes could be addressed by marking a bike-box across the straight-through lanes and directing turning cyclists to start from the bike-box

or, perhaps more in line with current practices:

build a bike lane, in the far-right lane, the length of Forbes across Oakland.
(remove stationary, privately owned car storage in the roadway for moving vehicles {bikes})
Use a curb to separate the bike lane from the car lanes.
Use floating bus stops on that curb for transit users.

Designate No-left-turns for bicycles along the corridor;
provide for Copenhagen-lefts instead.


look out
Member
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Please also note, that stopping right on the back end of a vehicle, how do you know that vehicle won’t drift back on you? Stay at least a bike length away, and that includes the rear side, which is a blind spot possibly.


Lee
Participant
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If there was a protected bike lane along the right side of Forbes past the museum, cyclists could stop at Bellefield street and make their lefts during the all-stop pedestrian walk signal that is already in effect at that location.

Forbes is a war-zone at rush hour and I’m not the least bit surprised somebody got killed out there. I’ve done exactly what she was attempting to do and pedaling down that 4 lane runway to turn left amidst flying, shifting traffic is one of the most dangerous maneuvers i can think of in the city, right up there with the highway sprint to get from the 40th street bridge into Millvale.


byogman
Member
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I don’t have to make lefts off Forbes or Fifth but clearly they’d suck. Just merging left on Fifth as you’re exiting Oakland already kinda sucks. All ways stops are nice low stress things and I think would work well in conjunction with bike lanes in the lead up. Major bonus if we could get some bike boxes. And actually, the combo would be much, much more than the sum of the parts.


ROMO
Member
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Has anyone heard from the city’s bike/ped coordinator as to whether there is any chance of lanes going in on Forbes? Compared to penn, this would be quite the over-hall considering all of the bus stops. I thought I heard from someone that at some point CMU was willing to contribute money for bike lanes, but the city never made it happen. Maybe Pitt, CMU, and UPMC can contribute some funding to make this a feasibility.


J Z
Participant
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@marko82 Legit question, then. How do we as riders mitigate the risk of what happened to Susan Hicks, happening to us (specifically for what we have control over, i.e. personal riding behavior and tactics in the street)? What we do has an element of risk attached to it, much like stepping in and out of the shower every morning.

The argument of developing specific on street separated bike infrastructure, driver education, enforcement of existing laws aside…what can we do *now* to mitigate risk?

Thinking out loud, is the larger threat from vehicles, like in your experience, merging into you? Or is it from driver initiated strikes from behind?


Marko82
Participant
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@jz, I’m not sure there is much we as cyclists can do in this particular circumstance to limit our risks.

(Since I’ve been hit) I’m personally more concerned with side strikes during rush hour like this particular situation, because I usually only have to worry about ONE car stopping behind me, while MANY cars will potentially pass me on my right – each potentially wanting to cheat into my lane by using whatever space I’ve left them. Later in the evening when the percentage of drunk drivers is higher, I get more concerned with getting hit from behind. But I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer on what to do.

Of course as the loss of Susan points out, we are all vulnerable no matter how “safe” we try to be.


bikeygirl
Participant
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I’m ashamed to admit this, but I’m glad that I had family arriving from out-of-town on Friday to keep me semi-distracted & away from the events this weekend. Everytime I think about what happened to Suzan I feel the urge to puck and start crying (I still have PTSD from an event that happened to my family when I was a child and we lost someone). Life is so fragile….

Regardless, it won’t stop me riding my bike on the streets…

I hope more details are provided regarding the person who caused all this, specially since it seems to point out to f’ing negligence. My sincere condolences to her family and those who knew her.


Sully
Member
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Legit question, then. How do we as riders mitigate the risk of what happened to Susan Hicks, happening to us (specifically for what we have control over, i.e. personal riding behavior and tactics in the street)? What we do has an element of risk attached to it, much like stepping in and out of the shower every morning.

While there isn’t a simple answer, cyclists (any two wheeled road user, in fact) are vulnerable in traffic. In a number of countries where the environment is otherwise hostile (London is a good example) the rider can at least filter to the front to the sanctuary of protected bike boxes. Filtering also enables usage of all available road to allow making progress and controlling your space.


Marko82
Participant
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Obituary of Susan Hicks in the Pitt News
http://pittnews.com/64559/news/obituary-remembering-susan-hicks/


jonawebb
Participant
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Two more deaths in Oakland. This time pedestrians pushed under a bus by a passing SUV.
http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/9327939-74/bus-pedestrians-university


Bree33
Member
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Unbelievable. Add the crash that occurred in East Liberty a few weeks ago (the woman in the wheelchair who was hit by the driver who ran the stop sign) and this is 4 people involved in extremely severe crashes within about 1 mile of each other in just over a month. Three deaths. We NEED safer streets.


paulheckbert
Keymaster
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Some comments from bikepgh’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bikepgh?fref=ts are excerpted below:

Michael J. Bane i WAS UNFORTUNATELY DRIVING THE SUBARU IN THE FRONT OF ALL THIS. IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT THE DRIVER OF THE CAR IN THE REAR HAD A SUSPENDED LICENCE AND A WARRANT OUT FOR HIS ARREST. THIS DRIVER IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE ACCIDENT FELL TO THE GROUND OUTSIDE HIS CAR.
Like · Reply · 2 · October 23 at 11:19pm

Michael J. Bane The biker was pinned between the blue suv and my rear bumper. I was on my knees beside her trying to comfort her and assure her help was on its way when she stopped breathing. I dont think I have ever felt so helpless… My heart goes out to her and I am so sorry for everyone loss.
Like · Reply · 11 · October 23 at 11:22pm

Cathy Filipcic My heart goes out to all…..if the driver was at fault then why are no charges being filed and police are saying that this was just a dreadful accident.
Like · Reply · October 24 at 8:05pm

Michael J. Bane I really do not know what happened … I was in front of everything and did not see anything… I just reapeated what I was was told after I gave my statement to one of the homicide investigators… I am sure the investigators do not want to say anything untill they are completed with their investigation. All I can say is that I heard a collision and then I was hit quickly after…
Like · Reply · October 24 at 8:47pm


Vannevar
Participant
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I don’t do this myself, but for those wondering “how could I have avoided this specific instance?” — if cyclists didn’t stop in left-turn lanes – standing in the street among the cars and trucks – and made Copenhagen lefts instead, we’d reduce our exposure.

It’s facile to say it after the event, but to those looking for “how could I keep that from happening to me” perhaps it’s food for thought.


ErinK
Participant
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FYI in case you’re not following the Facebook event from the vigil – the memorial needed to be moved temporarily for construction and will be replaced within a day. The contractor contacted the organizer to arrange it.
https://www.facebook.com/events/417465728456421/418038918399102/


bicycle heaven
Participant
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It was an Accident, a bad and sad one.The one who caused the Accident did not go out to kill anyone that day and will hurt for the rest of that persons life .People who kill cops build bombs go into schools to kill children have a gun in hand to kill someone knowing its wrong thats another sad story that’s not an Accident,,,,,,


Bree33
Member
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Bicycle heaven, IMO drivers need to be held responsible for their actions on the road. This driver MAY have simply screwed up that day (until the investigation is complete we do not know for sure and Michael Bane’s comments suggest otherwise) but that does not mean he/she should get off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. At minimum, driving poorly enough that you kill someone and cause severe damage to multiple other vehicles should result in a license suspension and mandatory drivers ed. Driving is not a right. It is a privilege.


ROMO
Member
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I also disagree with that sentiment. If we agreed to that, we would also have to allow people who were driving under the influence, texting, racing at extreme speeds, etc. go because they didn’t intend to harm anyone. These things are illegal because they are inherently dangerous and everyone who receives a license is taught this. It is very likely (although we don’t know for sure) that the driver did a number of illegal maneuvers, which are illegal because they are dangerous. Even if the person had a seizure or something, if the driver was going over the speed limit before the medical emergency, the person should still be held responsible for the event because going faster than the speed limit is dangerous and you are recklessly putting other lives in danger. In this case, that recklessness led to death. Just because the driver didn’t mean to kill someone, does not mean that the person holds no blame. Everyone needs to be held accountable for their actions.


sparkles
Member
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How long do police investigations normally take? I’m furious actually that we’re not hearing anything more about this. Where’s the Bike Ped coordinator? The mayor, city council…? Media doing anything but obituary? There are clear signs of recklessness, enough to just affirm publicly that this is being investigated, give a sense of timeline, talk about all the ways we need to be working towards safer streets which doesn’t just mean bike lanes – how many deaths before those happen? Do. Not. Understand. the lack of response.


jonawebb
Participant
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@sparkles, even after the investigation is over it can take a long time before anything public happens. But I would be gobsmacked if the driver is given anything other than a traffic ticket. I don’t think current law supports it, and even if it does, it never happens. I still think we should have a law that requires suspension and retesting in these cases, when it can be shown the driver didn’t exercise due care.


ROMO
Member
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To bring attention to this, would doing something like a die-in at forbes/bellefield on Friday during rush hour, 1 week after the accident, be something to consider? I know they do these in London, has one ever been done in Pittsburgh?


sparkles
Member
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I think a demonstration is a great idea.


J Z
Participant
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“Where’s the Bike Ped coordinator? The mayor, city council…? Media doing anything but obituary? ”

@sparkles Ask them.

Larry Walsh – Post Gazette (covers bike related news for PG)
Post Your Problems pyp@post-gazette.com
http://biz.post-gazette.com/contact/comments_form.aspx?ID=61

Post Gazette letters to the editor
http://biz.post-gazette.com/contact/comments_form.aspx?ID=40

Pgh Police, Zone 4 (Cover zone where Susan Hicks was killed)
Community Relations Officers:
Shannon Leshen – shannon.leshen@pittsburghpa.gov
Thomas Pauley – thomas.pauley@pittsburghpa.gov

David Conti – Trib Review (wrote Trib story on Susan Hicks vigil)
dconti@tribweb.com

http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/9315898-74/died-bicyclist-car#axzz3ph4g7V7J

Tribune Review letters to the editor
http://triblive.com/opinion/sendaletter/

Pgh311 (If you tweet them, I’ve found it helpful to also tweet the City Councilperson/Mayor/responsible org/entity who is responsible for the district/subject you are commenting on)

Enter comments under either:
Permits – Pedestrian/Bicycle Concerns – (stupid that the web designer buried Bike/Ped concerns this deep and without any other options other than replace bollard and bike trail maintenance)

or

Public Safety – Traffic

City Council District 8 – Dan Gilman
http://pittsburghpa.gov/district8/contact
Chief of Staff: erika.strassburger@pittsburghpa.gov
Director of Communications: jodi.hirsh@pittsburghpa.gov
Legislative Associate: alicia.carberry@pittsburghpa.gov

Mary Griffin
http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/personality/marty-griffin-2/

Online petition
https://www.change.org/p/university-of-pittsburgh-city-of-pittsburgh-save-lives-add-bike-lanes-to-pitt-s-campus

We can drive policy on this. If as many people who signed the petition take additional actions/make noise, ask about it, letters start flooding media, they can’t ignore it and have to respond now…or later during the election cycle when they are asked why they chose not to respond.


jonawebb
Participant
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Relevant, BSNYC on using the word “crash” instead of “accident”: https://medium.com/reclaim-magazine/accidentally-on-purpose-a67548e39371


sparkles
Member
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I’ve been thinking about Bike Snob this week.

JZ thanks so much for all of that contact info. I’ll be using it.


Mick
Participant
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I understand how hard it would be to prosecute drivers for inadvertant mistakes.

OTOH, when drivers are a known hazard, they should have their driver’s license removed without a criminal proceeding.

Driving should not be viewed as a right and a necessity.

Being sober should not be license to drive like a drunkard.

[Preaching to the choir, I know. I’m frustrated.]


jonawebb
Participant
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I slightly edited the list of links at added it to the Wiki at http://bikingpgh.com/index.php?title=Activism. Please feel free to add other names etc.

Do not underestimate the power of contacting a public official and making your voice heard. A direct meeting is best, then a (physical) letter, then a phone call, then email.


Vannevar
Participant
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I love the guerrilla die-in on Forbes Ave and I’d participate.
(by which I mean, not coordinated/ licensed)

Stu spent considerable time looking into a Die-In a few years ago and IIRC there was major paperwork involved.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Short version, about $150 in permits and a week lead time. Considerable footwork in notifying affected agencies like police, Port Authority; probably also Pitt, media.

Or just wildcat get 200 people and illegally shut down the damned street.

Money/time/effort or consequences. Pick one.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Or just whack a couple cars together. No problem then, right?
/snark


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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Talk to the folks who organized the protests for Michael Brown et al. in Oakland? Those involved a 4+-minute die-in on Fifth at Darragh, and again at Bigelow. No memory whether they got permits or just did it, though I do recall a march into the teeth of traffic…


ROMO
Member
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With the recent pedestrian deaths in Oakland as well, the protest could have a more general purpose in terms of bike/ped safety in Oakland. We could push for the enforcement of traffic laws, prosecution/rovocation of licenses of those who cause deaths, and better bike/ped infrastructure. This could get more people involved and possibly make a bigger impact.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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On a related note, Hill District Consensus Group, Oakland Planning & Development, and Bike PGH will host another candlelight vigil, Thursday evening at Centre & Allequippa/University, site of Monday’s crash.

http://j.mp/1Mr8A5U


jonawebb
Participant
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Possibly more effective than a die-in (but definitely illegal) would be to ride a blood-painted bike to someplace on Forbes during rush hour, then abandon it in the street. Similar to what cyclists in Boulder are doing to protest removal of bike lanes: http://www.dailycamera.com/news/ci_29028015.
Speaking theoretically, this could keep happening until the city accommodates bike traffic through the heart of Oakland.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I have learned that the mother of the bus driver involved in the Centre and Alequippa incident died the same day. Please keep this man in your thoughts at tonight’s vigil.


MaryShaw
Member
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The Oakland Green Team is meeting on Thursday, November 19, at 6:00 pm at the Oakland Career Center, 294 Semple St, 15213. Pat Hassett will be there, and the agenda includes further discussion of making Oakland streets safer.

Unfortunately, I have a conflict — but I hope others will attend. There is now some momentum for improving the Oakland situation, let’s keep the pressure on.

Here’s the agenda: http://www.opdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/GreenTeamFlyer-Nov-19-meeting-Joncaire.jpg


MaryShaw
Member
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OK, here’s an idea about speeds in Oakland. (I heard this suggested recently and would love to credit the source, but I can’t figure out where I heard it. Searching bikepgh.org doesn’t give any hints.)

Let’s create 15 mph school zones for Pitt and CMU.

My first reaction was “nah, that’ just for K-12, not for colleges”. But I looked up the PA code (quoted below) and didn’t see any such restriction.

As I read the code, you can create a 15 mph school zone speed limit “during the normal hours that walking students are arriving at or leaving school” — which for Pitt and CMU would be pretty much all day.

It looks like “local authorities” make a diagram and submit the request. There are details about who handles the request. A school zone can only be 1600 ft long, so the Pitt school zone could be from Forbes and Bigelow past Schenley Plaza and the museum to about the Electric Garage. Another one could run past CMU from the CIC driveway to the entrance to Mudge House (or from Beeler St not quite to the mid-block crossing in front of Heinz). Presumably you could also put school zones on Fifth.

So, what’s wrong with this idea? Sure, it would be unpopular with drivers, probably also with whoever would have to enforce it. But even if it wasn’t eventually implemented, why not use it as a negotiating position?

OK, here’s the relevant section of the PA code:
http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/067/chapter212/s212.501.html
§ 212.501. School zone speed limits.

(a) Establishment. A 15 miles per hour school zone speed limit may be established in a school zone during the normal hours that walking students are arriving at or leaving school, under 75 Pa.C.S. § 3365(b) (relating to special speed limitations).

(1) To establish a school zone, local authorities shall be responsible to prepare and submit a drawing showing the locations where students walk along or across roadways that are adjacent to school property, the hours that students are going to or from school and the proposed limits for the school zone to the Department for approval.

(2) The Department is responsible for approving the establishment of all school zones, including the locations and hours of operation, except local authorities shall be responsible for approving school zones at the following locations:

(i) On local highways when the municipality has received municipal traffic engineering certification under Chapter 205 (relating to municipal traffic engineering certification).

(ii) On State-designated highways when the municipality has entered into an agreement with the Department thereby transferring to the local authorities the authority to install traffic-control devices without specific Department approval.

(iii) On highways in cities of the first and second class, except not on expressways.

(3) The duration of a 15 miles per hour school zone speed limit should be only long enough to include the time that walking students routinely arrive at or leave school.

(b) Posting. A school zone speed limit shall be posted on official traffic-control devices as follows:

(1) At the beginning of the school zone speed limit, one of the following signs or groups of signs shall be posted either on the right side of the roadway or over the roadway:

(i) A Speed Limit Sign (R2-1) with the appropriate school zone speed limit, with a School Panel (S4-3) mounted above the Speed Limit Sign (R2-1) and a When Flashing Sign (S4-4) mounted below the Speed Limit Sign (R2-1), with two flashing speed limit sign beacons.

(ii) A Speed Limit Sign (R2-1) with the appropriate school zone speed limit, with a School Panel (S4-3) mounted above the Speed Limit Sign (R2-1) and a Restricted Hours Panel (R10-20A) mounted below the Speed Limit Sign (R2-1).

(iii) A School Speed Limit When Flashing Sign with a blank-out ‘‘15’’ and flashers as illustrated in the Traffic Signal Design Handbook (Department Publication 149M).

(2) An End School Zone Sign (S5-2) shall be posted on the right side of the roadway to define the end of the school zone speed limit.

(3) The limits of a school zone may extend beyond the school property lines to improve the sight distance or to encompass a school crosswalk, except that the length of the zone may not be greater than 1,600 feet.


reddan
Keymaster
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@mary: I believe @Vannevar proposed that idea recently. And a fine idea it is.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’d tweak it slightly, Forbes from about Atwood to Bellefield, where it adjoins Pitt property, and similarly on Fifth from Craig to Halket. Or whatever 1600 feet works out to that most closely aligns with Pitt property.

Splitting hairs, though. However done, I like it.


Vannevar
Participant
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Hi @mary:
details here: http://vannevar.blogspot.com/2015/11/a-modest-proposal-to-fix-oakland.html

so the pitch goes like this: the best thing to improve safety and survivability is: slow traffic down.

The standard response of the existing paradigm is: separate protected lanes, reducing parking, doing it block-by-block: politics, budget, change, expense, resistance; churches, hospitals, agita.

But let’s do this a different way using a wheel that’s already invented: just declare Pitt, CMU, and Carlow as “school zones”. This would generate an “Oasis Of Slow” in the key risk areas.

The wrinkle is: the state legislation pretty specifically identifies primary & secondary (high) schools. It would take executive action to declare the public-safety-need and this solution, and local politics with PennDot to make it happen. The force is strong with Team Peduto.

This would take initiative from the Mayor’s office. As has been said, let’s make them do the things they want to do. If Pittsburgh can legislate sick days for large employers and decriminalize marijuana, we can surely do this.

Details: Monday-Friday, 8am to 8pm.
They could include Saturday 8am to 4pm and not offend me.
No problems with churches or emergency vehicles.

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