I'm trying to process what happened to Lisa as someone who rides that route every day.
Did Lisa get hit trying to merge with traffic just before the construction site or did this happen well before the construction - some folks are saying the semi hit Lisa while she was in the bike lane before the construction site.
All that being said - my heart goes out to their friends and fam.
Great idea. Also, critical mass this month should ride past to pay tribute as well if possible. Not sure if the organizers are on here as well.
What are the wishes of the family and friends regarding a memorial ride?
I really appreciate this article on Chicago Streetsblog about the tragedy. Thank you John.
Alert the media. Make sure someone says "We want Anita Alvarez to file charges of reckless homicide." The truck driver's actions caused a death; it was reckless. We want real charges to stop cyclists from dying.
DNAInfo really screwed this whole thing up by devoting half of their initial article to discussing the construction site bike lane blockage, when there is ZERO indication this had anything to do with the blockage.
1) The collision occurred long before the bike-lane blockage, approximately 100 feet northwest of the intersection of Milwaukee and Racine. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cp_QeYDWYAAgZPD.jpg:large
2) It's very unlikely that Lisa was doing a pre-emptive merge from the bike lane to the main lane at that point. This is (a): because the truck came to a stop fully within the bike lane, with Lisa's bike under the front axle of the cab, and (b): because the truck driver was cited for driving in a bike lane.
Yet even in this thread, where it was definitively stated that this collision occurred before the bike lane blockage, several posts continue to discuss the topic of bike lane blockage. While not as bad as all the anti-bike people choosing an article about the death of a legally-operating cyclist to rail about the evils of some other biker they once saw roll through a stop sign, neither of them have any connection to the topic at hand.
I know we're all annoyed by bike lane blockages and wish the bike lanes weren't treated as a 2nd-class travel area, but hijacking this incident to advocate for improvements there would be disingenuous at best.
Regarding "blind spots" and merging: Lisa's bicycle was lodged under the front axle of the cab. The only way I can imagine the bike ending up there is if it was hit directly from behind by the front of the truck, which is not something a flagger would even think to warn a truck driver about.
All the information so far (and surely we don't yet know everything!) suggests that this incident had nothing to do with construction, or lack of bike infrastructure, or ill-advised maneuvers by the victim. There is unfortunately very little that is likely to be learned/improved/changed from this incident, because indications are that the bike infrastructure was fine and the cyclist was operating safely. Sometimes a truck is just going to run over a cyclist and there's nothing that can be done about it. Thankfully it's one of the rarer forms of collision, since "don't run over that person in front of you" is a basic human concept that doesn't even need to be taught in driving school, and even the worst drivers almost always manage to avoid doing it.
It's speculation, but I find it easy to picture the cab of the vehicle angling to the right, striking the cyclist, and knocking they (her self-descriptor) down and under the front wheels. Also, who knows whether the vehicle was moved somewhat after the incident? I don't think this was a rear-end collision.
Would it be so hard for these huge trucks to have cameras to eliminate the blind spots, and/or sensors to beep if somebody was in the danger zone? Those technologies are plenty common in cars nowadays. Maybe something like this?
Look at the picture I linked above. The cab has a relatively short front overhang, and a relatively short and sloping hood, so pretty decent forward visibility for a truck, especially since a mounted rider is a fairly tall and visible road user. Even if the cab hit the bicycle with its side, it would have had to be the VERY front part of its side, and the contact point still would have been well in front of the driver. Mirrors and traditional "blind spot" detection (which covers the areas to the sides and behind the driver's position) wouldn't have even activated in this case.
Skyrefuge, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You have brought up some valid points about the specific tragedy with Lisa. And you bring up a good point - we don't yet know all of the specific details about the case.
I don't find it "disingenuous" to bring up the safety concerns cyclists experience with bike lane enforcement in general. I do believe it is all related because there is an over-arching issue with bike lanes not being respected as a designated area for cyclists to ride their bike without constantly having to worry about vehicles driving and parking in the bike lanes. And yes, minimizing the impact construction has on bike lanes should also be a consideration. Keeping cyclists safe needs to be a priority. This is why I started the thread last winter: http://www.thechainlink.org/forum/topics/what-s-this-doing-in-the-b...
Sadly, incidents like these seem to be effective times to be heard in communicating about bike safety. The creation of the protected bike lane on Clybourn is another example: http://activetrans.org/blog/clybourn-protected-bike-lane-victory
I would much rather have a discussion about bike lane enforcement than read the horrible victim-blaming conversations that are taking place on some of the Chicago media sites. From the little I have seen, I had to look away so that I would not get worked up by the insensitive comments. Just like all of you, my heart breaks when someone from our community is hurt or killed while riding their bike. When my heart hurts like this, my brain furiously tries to find solutions and ways to help. So many of us are feeling so helpless and upset by yesterday's tragedy.
I have actually had fun needling the mopes that choose to soap box about subjects they do not understand.