Cyclist Killed on Rout 51, Beaver County
PMike that is private property. You can’t go farther north on woodlawn than west aliquippa unfortunately. It’s posted everywhere and I think Vincent Troia told me the road you see on google maps is CSX property.
As someone that has traveled that section of rt 51, 5 days a week for 24 years during the peak traffic hours there is no reason for this road to be a 4 lane road.
It should be taken down to a 2 lane road with 35-45-55 mph signs where applicable. That would give plenty of room on one side or the other for a bike lane or bike trail or in the very least a safe place for people using the PA bike route to ride.
“Well, if mixing with 70 mph traffic is OK with you, then fine, go right ahead, but I don’t think that’s a valid option for the majority of cyclists.”
Right on! Saying that you rode this section of road for X-number of years and w/o incident is not a solution to the problem and frankly, detrimental to the movement. Congrats to you, but such statements subtly reinforce the idea that things are ok as they currently are.
The road needs to be made safer for everyone. What happens if a motor vehicle becomes disabled? The motorist has no place to get off the road in many spots. By becoming stranded, one also becomes vulnerable and the traffic snarls.
The comment about throwing resources and energy behind the ORTC is quite constructive.
Here’s what bothers me about this: PennDOT clearing the shoulder. It means it’s possible to get them to do it. Did someone here contact them, and if so, how? I knew it was unrideable months ago. Maybe if I’d contacted them Art would be alive.
Jon, I don’t think that the dirty (glass, debris, wires) shoulder caused the death, and I certainly don’t think that any notification gap caused the death.
Cyclists don’t have to use the shoulder.
Citizens don’t have to notify the state to maintain the roads.
In the absence of anything else, I’d speculate that what caused the death was a cyclist legally using the lane, being struck from behind by a driver probably doing 55mph (the speed limit), failing to pass with the required 4-foot clearance and reduced speed, on a road the State has designated as a a bike route.
IMO that explanation is sufficient for everything we know about this.
I don’t think this is just about why this particular incident happened.
Sure, it is legal to take the lane in a place where cars go 55 mph or more routinely. But it isn’t something that most people are going to do nor should it even be implied that anyone be encouraged to do so. All it takes is some one fiddling with their coffee cup or their nuts in the early morning darkness for disaster to happen.
This is about making roads safer for more than just a few cyclists, with a false sense of invincibility, to use. Neither this cyclist nor any of the others needed to die. If the road had a reliable shoulder upon which to ride, most cyclists would gladly choose that option.
This is also not anyone’s fault for not contacting an agency to clean the shoulder either. We have a long way to go around here. It’s damned shame that people have to die to make any sort of progress.
51 sucks and it’s the only option, in many areas, for getting places. We need to not let this go. Please let me know when you’re doing the memorial ride. Hopefully we’ll get a huge number of riders and send a big message.
Stu, if you want to do that 51 ride in the South Hills, I’m with you. West End Bridge to Brownsville Road out to attract some attention.
Exactly vannevar. Somebody is at fault. Obviously the 4 foot law and most likely speeding and distracted driving was also to blame. But, nobody will pay the consequences of their actions. This is America, where killing somebody due to our driving culture is ok. It pisses me off to no end.
When is a memorial ride scheduled? Arthur is also a fellow Penn state AE grad (Well before me) I am attending.
Anyway, I didn’t know PennDOT would do it. Lives would be saved if they would do it regularly.
If I had the money I’d by 2 dump truck loads of tombstone blanks and dump a couple of tons in the right lane going each direction at 8 am some morning, let the “inattentive” assholes hit those instead of a cyclist. I really don’t have any interest in participating in any more sad and ineffective memorial rides, and have nothing change.
With respect, memorials are to express condolences and in the case of horrible stuff like this, solidarity. To the extent that feeling of solidarity broadens the pool of participants, strengthens resolve about what needs to be pushed for, etc… that’s what brings change. And we’re starting to get some of that all the way through the political process to paint on the ground in the city, PennDot is just a much harder nut to crack. I wish I had a realistic chance to make this ride but I know I won’t. I’m with you guys in spirit, and edmonds59, I know you are too.
Vannevar – did someone respond strongly to thughes2222 stupidity, I’m hoping? Is that on the twitter? I don’t do the twitter.
Bill, it’s on the Beaver County Times website. You have to be a subscriber to comment or respond. It’s a self-selecting pool of parochialism. (sorry to be negative).
I stopped my subscription years ago when they terminated all the youth paper routes, which to me was part of the social contract of a newspaper. Right-sizing 12-year-olds didn’t work for me.
There is a thughes2222 Twitter account but it’s dormant. I have no idea if it’s the same one.
Again, ignorance on the part of motorists. Supposedly licensed motorists.
Again, I state that a written exam needs to be a requirement of every renewal. Specifically ask questions about interactions with vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians, horseback riders, etc.
I just got an email that the Ohio River Trail Council is selling t-shirts ($20) to raise funds and awareness. It doesnt mention a date for a memorial ride yet, but hopefully we can bring the public’s attention to this dangerous stretch of road.
Just a status update on the Arthur Bell Ghost Bike Ride.
We have this route: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/9779789
and Dr. Troia has prepared a draft flyer for the ride.
I’ve spoken with the family and asked them to confirm a time.
Sort of a “groaner” of a story that Brian Bell told me today:
The sister of the cyclist drove to Route51 to visit the Ghost Bike. Since the road curves, she parked prior to the Ghost Bike and walked up to it. She spent a few minutes there, walked back to her car; somebody had stolen her wallet from the front seat while she was at the Ghost Bike.
Vannevar, based on your description, I think I know where she parked. That is a popular entrance to the trails on the hill for ATV riders. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone took her wallet into the trails there and took what they wanted and left the rest on the trail. If you can get in touch with her you should let her know that.
The Ghost Bike Ride is Saturday 9.12 at 10:00 am.
For the non-Facebook-dependent:
Please forward this widely. Thanks!
If anybody is cycling from the city to the memorial ride and wouldn’t mind a rather quiet reserved person tag along for up route 51 would you please let me know.
^we’ll probably have a bike train riding out for this. At least we did last year.
Here’s a bump: this Saturday is the Ghost Bike dedication in Ambridge.
Cyclists please meet at 10am promptly at 6000 Woodlawn Road, Aliquippa PA 15001. The start is at the Beaver County Jail. https://www.google.com/maps/place/6000+Woodlawn+Rd,+Aliquippa,+PAfirstname.lastname@example.org,-80.2420823,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x883465c816895bc5:0x318664ef60fc1f99
If you’re approaching from the south/city and are running late, the dedication will be at 1045 at 632 Cherry Alley, South Heights, PA 15081 (GPS: 40.577089, -80.235470) This location is behind the Creswell Water Authority (Creswell= Crescent-Hopewell)
I imagine folks coming up from the city will depart south after the dedication and not continue north back to the starting point.
Facebook link: https://goo.gl/Y4LVAw
Do we have any estimate of when things will be wrapped up? If this starts at 10, the Tweed Ride starts at 2, and guesstimate of an hour travel time from one to the other, it sounds like there might be a chance they will not be in too much conflict. I don’t want to rush a somber event just to chase off to a fun one, but it would be useful to know if I have to choose between the two or consider making it to both.
Anyone contemplating both events will be welcome to join the Tweed Ride at the first rest stop, the Robert Burns statue at the East end of Phipps Conservatory. We estimate to reach there between 2:50 and 3:00 pm and will leave around 3:15, if things run close. I will post full details on the appropriate thread.
I can’t make either ride, but that Burns statue is just accross a couple of bridge from my home, so I’ll likely come by wearing some tweed.
@stu, yes I think you can make both.
The ride begins at the north end at 10am.
Dedication and brief talks start at 1045.
Figure the dedication wraps up at 1105.
You could depart the event at that time.
A cyclist could depart the dedication southbound and bike to the Point in 2h15m without killing themselves, so you’d be at the Point at 1330.
A cyclist who uses a car to move between rides could do the whole GhostRide and be at the Tweed Ride with plenty of time to take a nap and eat lunch.
Bump. this ride begins at 10am at the Beaver County Jail. Hope to see some of yinz out there!
Looks like the video portion isn’t loaded to the KDKA website just yet, but there’s this:
Thanks goes out to V. and everyone else who made this ride happen. While I’m really getting sick of riding in these memorials, I think they are very important to the families to show support from our community.
I’d like to say it’s totally wonderful to be in a community that comes out on shizzle-drizzle(tm) mornings for such a function. It’s great to be among yinz, seriously.
Some photos I shot at the Arthur Bell memorial ride in Aliquippa on 9/12 are at https://picasaweb.google.com/111415749895648787719/20150912AliquippaGhostBikeDedicationAndMemorialRideForArthurBell#
Here are three of them.
I just got off the phone with Beth Ann Banks, the mother of Taylor Banks. We are organizing a memorial ride for Saturday, October 31. Same route and time as last time, I think, unless people have other ideas.
Last time we met at 729 Pennsylvania Ave in Monaca, at 2 pm. We rode together down Route 51 to the ghost bike location, then back.
This will be the one year anniversary of Taylor’s death, to the day. The family has heard NOTHING from the police on how the investigation is going, or whether anyone will be charged. They would really like to raise awareness and maybe get some attention paid to the death of their son.
If you want to be involved with this ride please email me on gmail at jonawebb.
Another good reason to hold it earlier is to give the media time to get it on the evening newscasts. Hopefully they would want to tie this into their usual safety messages for that evening.
It’s total BS that this driver is not sitting in jail right now.
OK, so I’ve been in touch with Beth Ann & cyclists and here’s the plan:
1. We start at the same place (729 Pennsylvania Ave in Monaca), but at 10 am instead of 2 pm. The idea being to have a better chance of getting on the evening news. Also, since it will be Halloween maybe folks are going to want to get back early for kids and stuff.
2. Instead of riding south to the Ghost Bike, we ride north to the Beaver County courthouse. We circle the courthouse and have our memorial service / rally across from the courthouse, by the Korean War memorial. The idea is that we’ve spent enough time at the Ghost Bikes. The problem we’re having now is at the courthouse, not the Ghost Bike. We want the folks there to know we want action and answers.
The ride will feature a bunch of guys on Harleys as well as us cyclists. So we’ll probably draw a bit of attention.
The route I have in mind has us going over the bridge to Rochester, and from there across the bridge to the courthouse. I’ll post more later.
I’ll plan on attending this ride.
The last I heard about the Taylor Banks investigation was (2014/11/4, Beaver Times) “A motorist was taken into custody Friday at the time of the accident, Couch said, but that driver was later released.” Is there any news since then?
Here’s the beginning of last years’ thread on Taylor Banks: http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/another-day-another-cyclist-hit-another-month-another-cyclist-dead/page/5/#post-304326
There is no news. The family has been told things and, I think, is also hearing rumors. What’s clear is that nobody’s been charged. Taylor’s mother says she goes to the courthouse every three weeks to try to get something to happen. So I’m hoping that if we get some attention it will help. At least the family will feel supported. They really feel like they’ve been abandoned, and it looks that way to me, too.
I cannot condone violence, but it’s things like this that causes people to send rocks with a note attached through municipal windows. I would much rather get some attention with a crowd, a bullhorn, some protest signs, and rolling thunder.
I will try to attend, and the bike I will ride may have a motor. Anyone have a bullhorn?
I posted the event to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1035334773173846/
(Thanks, V, for pointing this out.)
Quick reminder: this is this Saturday, 10 am, at 1726 Pennsylvania Ave in Monaca (the same location as the Ghost Bike ride for Taylor Banks started last year). You will see a water tower there and there is parking.
We will be joined by motorcyclists. Beth Ann Banks, the mother of Taylor, has been promoting this very effectively and there will be press there.
The ride is fairly short, only 3.5 miles, up to and around the Beaver County Courthouse. We will rally there. The route is here: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/10638623.
I hope everyone here who is concerned about bicyclist safety on Route 51 or a decent measure of justice for the Banks family will join us. And if you can, please promote the event in your own cycling groups. The Facebook event is at https://www.facebook.com/events/1035334773173846/.
I cannot make it. Ironically enough, I will be at a funeral. Not cycling related.
On Sunday, I drove out 51 from McKees Rocks past Taylor’s ghost bike. (Can’t see Emily’s while traveling northbound easily and I am not sure where Art Bell’s is.) It’s hard to understand why that needs to be any higher than 40. Maybe some historical reason?
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