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Like most of you, I ride everyday (often near semis in industrial areas) and this is very disturbing. RIP Neil, and condolences to his family and friends. 

I think the scariest thing for the community now is the fact that the cyclist was riding in a bike lane designed to protect him from harm. This proves that those types of lanes, alone, do not solve the safety problem. Having cars and bikes at their disproportionate speeds in such close proximity will always be unsafe. We need more avenues of transportation where bikes and cars are separated by clear physical barriers. The community needs to keep pushing for this type of planning.

That is a ways away. For now we have to keep politely reminding everyone we meet to remember that the road is for everyone, and THANKING them when they yield. I love smiling and waving my hand out at drivers that hold their doors shut until after I have passed. Ongoing respect on both sides is required if we are going to maintain safety on the streets.

See you all at 9pm. 

Sigh.  RIP.  This could easily happen to me, or any of us.  Just a horrible chain of events.  I wonder if the door clipped him, or he just lost control when evading?  

Wow yeah, apparently the title has since been changed again, now to " he will be missed." That could never happen in print media. Wow.

Julie Hochstadter said:
Yeah. The title says , "he did have a lot of close calls."
. Why they had to highlight that one stupid sentence.
April said:

Here is the reporter's email: , CMastony@tribune.com.


Someone, please write them and tell them their story was terribly biased and point out door safety.  I need to get back to work and this should be done as soon as possible.  Thanks!!

Very good point.

Andrew N said:

Please don't interpret this as an effort to nitpick or diminish anyone's good (and appreciated) efforts, but as we write letters of concern to the Tribune and other media outlets, I think it would be good to spell his name correctly.  As far as I can tell from news reports and some older (prior to today) sources via Google, it's Neill Townsend.

Thank You Ethan, for speaking clearly and to the point on the news. Well done.



Active Transportation Alliance said:

Here is Fox coverage: http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/19746868/bicyclist-fatally-struck...

We also posted a blog and will continue to follow-up: http://www.activetrans.org/blog/espotts/person-riding-bicycle-was-k...

Ethan Spotts, Active Trans

Yes, one of the clueless commenters on the NBC5 version of the story said "the cyclist should have stopped" for the door, so it did get read like that by some people.

James BlackHeron said:

The reporter also states that "the bicyclist swerved around an open door."   

That should be an opened door -semantically they do NOT mean the same thing.  Later in the article it says that the door was just opened, but a reader at that point in the first paragraph gets a mental image of the rider seeing an OPEN door far ahead and just deciding to swerve around it rather than slowing or at least checking before swerving into traffic.  Saying that he swerved at the last instant around a door that was opened INTO him is much different. 

Tiny differences in the way that something is worded makes all the difference in the world in the way the reader judges the situation. 

Getting punted under the wheels of a moving flatbed trailer by an inattentive driver that couldn't bother to check before throwing their door open into them is hugely different than seeing an open door up a ways up ahead and simply racing around it. 



Julie Hochstadter said:

Yeah. The title says , "he did have a lot of close calls."
. Why they had to highlight that one stupid sentence.
April said:

My sympathy to all involved: the rider's family and friends, the truck driver and the Minnesotan who apparently unknowingly opened his door in the rider's path. We can descend on this guy all the wrath we can but it won't resurrect the rider. Awareness and greater education is what's needed. ---I haven't read the comments under the Trib's story yet but dread the crap I will read there.

Well said. Thanks you Bruce.

Bruce Mitzit said:

My sympathy to all involved: the rider's family and friends, the truck driver and the Minnesotan who apparently unknowingly opened his door in the rider's path. We can descend on this guy all the wrath we can but it won't resurrect the rider. Awareness and greater education is what's needed. ---I haven't read the comments under the Trib's story yet but dread the crap I will read there.

I agree Melissa.

Melissa M said:

Might it also be a good idea to gather for a memorial on a weekday morning around the time that it occurred? We could wear white shirts and gather (on the sidewalk?) at the site. It just seems like being there at the time when the area is busiest is a good time to remind people to check for cyclists (and other traffic) before opening their doors.

I believe that law is (or was) in effect in NYC. In my own car (Prius), I'm pretty much encased into the the driver's side; it is impossible to exit on the right. When driving a car, I've several times nearly taken off the door of  some parked car on a narrow street. People are oblivious to endangering a rider and their own self-interest popping open a door.

In any case, I always look in the side mirror when getting out. 
Michael J Blane said:

Somewhere, a long time ago, when I had drivers' ed and stuff, I'm pretty sure that I read that it was illegal to exit a vehicle on the traffic side.

Is this still true that you are not supposed to open a car door on the traffic side?

--

Please don't start in about how difficult it is to not exit on the traffic side. I'm merely asking.

Awareness and education are important but what we really need are safer riding conditions. I hate riding on Wells, the bike lane is way to close to the car parking lane and there are drivers pulling in and out of those spots all day long. We need more protected bike lanes - this would have never happened on a protected bike lane!!!!

Bruce Mitzit said:

My sympathy to all involved: the rider's family and friends, the truck driver and the Minnesotan who apparently unknowingly opened his door in the rider's path. We can descend on this guy all the wrath we can but it won't resurrect the rider. Awareness and greater education is what's needed. ---I haven't read the comments under the Trib's story yet but dread the crap I will read there.

Here is the letter I wrote to the Trib:

Dear Colleen,

While your report of this morning's tragic accident on Wells focused touchingly on Neill's work relationships and who he was as a person, it also misrepresented the facts of the situation.

The bottom line is that the Wells Street bike lane is not safe. That lane is way to close to the car parking lane. The guy who opened the door should have looked but it is, tragically, so easy to forget. That is why we need more infrastructure to support safe transit for all methods of transportation that our citizens choose - walking, biking, public transit, and driving an automobile. This should be a wake-up call to all those naysayers out there who complain about the new protected bike lanes. WE NEED THEM! We need them to protect those who choose to ride bikes, like poor Neill. We need them to protect people who choose to drive cars and open their doors. We need them for semi-drivers who must deliver in the city. This tragedy affects not only the person on the bike who so sadly lost his life but everyone involved. We need protected bike lines to protect all of us. Not just those on bikes.

Now is the time to call attention to the hazardous conditions of the infrastructure that cause terrible tragedies such as this - not to focus on supposed risky behavior by a man hit and killed on the road today. Have you ever ridden a bike in the city? Do you know how difficult it is to avoid an opening door two feet in front of you? We should be talking about that.

Poor infrastructure affects each and every one of us negatively and sometimes tragically. Let's make a change.

Kindest,
Kristy

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