The Chainlink

Virginia Murray, 25 Was Killed Riding a Divvy After Being Hit By a Truck 07/01/16

On Streetsblog:

A female bike rider was critically injured by a truck driver this morning at about 9:10 a.m. at Belmont Avenue and Sacramento Avenue in Avondale, according to Officer José Estrada from Police News Affairs. The cyclist was taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital, Estrada said.

According to an employee of a nearby business, the bike rider had been using a Divvy bike-share vehicle.

This appears to be the second case of a bike-share rider being critically injured in Chicago. In November 2014, medical student Travis Persaud was struck by two different drivers while riding a Divvy bike on Sunday, November 22, at 2:50 a.m. on Lake Shore Drive. He suffered a broken leg and a dislocated shoulder, and was placed in a medically induced coma. Family members believed he had been trying to cross Lake Shore Drive on his way home. Persaud’s current medical condition is unknown.

Full Article:

Update on Chicago Tribune

A 20-year-old woman riding a Divvy bike who was killed Friday morning in a crash involving a flat-bed truck in the city's Avondale neighborhood is believed to be the first person killed riding a bike-sharing bicycle in the United States.

The crash happened about 9 a.m. near Sacramento and Belmont avenues, said Officer Jose Estrada, a police spokesman, citing preliminary information. The truck and the woman were both going north on Sacramento, when they both turned east at Belmont and collided, Estrada said.

Initially, the woman was taken in critical condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center but later was pronounced dead, Estrada said.

Full Story:

Our thoughts are with Virginia Murray's family and friends. 

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My sincere condolences to the victim's family and friends. This is just beyond awful and hits home for me very personally as I have pedaled through this intersection hundreds upon hundreds of times, including many trips with my daughter first on a bike seat and then later on a Trail a Bike.  The ghost bike is appreciated as a sign of respect for her life and as a daily reminder for drivers.

In the bigger picture, this intersection is like thousands of others in Chicago, where there isn't an actual right turn lane, just (perhaps) two parked cars worth of space at the end of the block that prohibit parking. So as others have noted, a large vehicle like a truck has to be at least somewhat in the center of the actual lane to make a right turn.

Based on the video, the confidence of the cyclist and the intersection's physical limitations, it strikes me as extremely likely that the driver was guilty of not having a turn signal on. Thus the cyclist assumed they were *supposed* to be to the right of the truck, and it was just the worst possible timing in terms of the cyclist hitting a blind spot, although it is certainly also possible the truck driver did not properly look before and during the turn. 

Trucks should be treated with as much deference as possible, just for our own safety. Even when you are 100% following the rules of the road they are dangerous, I got "hooked" as in literally snagged by a truck's passenger side mirror on Belmont a few years back near Clark as it zoomed past me. The mirror caught my jacket and I got lifted practically off of my bike and ultimately sent to the asphalt.  That may have been the only time I can say having toe clips worked in my favor from a safety perspective, as my weight combined with the bike (a heavy Specialized Crosstrail) actually quickly bent the s mirror and I was released.  Fortunately I just ended up with a few scratches and bruised, but it wasn't hard to imagine that scenario playing out very, very differently.

Belmont has desperately needed a bike lane for as long as I've been alive, I'm impressed/hopeful that Steven mentioned it as a possibility as that would be a bona fide miracle. But I have no idea how that can be reconciled with the so-called rush hour parking control lanes, which don't have actual striping and thus are confusing as to where they actually start and stop. Traffic on Belmont during rush hour is... special to say the least.

I saw media reports today that Ms. Murray's family has sued the truck driver.  The extremely probable result is a large out-of-court settlement by the driver's insurance carrier.
Of course 90% of the social media comments I saw were "Cyclists have to obey traffic laws!" and "Divvy didn't do anything wrong!" The other 10% were "She didn't break any traffic laws" and "Divvy isn't being sued."


It's a vicious cycle.

Story about Ginny's family suing the truck driver:

Photo and mapping of her ghost bike:


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