Bicyclist killed in accident with city vehicle

news-bike-signA warning comes just past where the bicyclist was struck on West Main.

A vehicle owned by the City of Charlottesville was involved in an accident that killed a bicyclist April 19 shortly after 9am on West Main at 4th Street NW.

Matthew Steven King, a UVA grad student studying mathematics, was taken to UVA Medical Center and died from injuries sustained in the collision at approximately 9:31am.

The city vehicle involved was a Public Works vacuum truck that hauls water and wastewater, according to city spokesman Ric Barrick.

The truck and King were both traveling west on West Main. A witness says that King was riding on the sidewalk and rode onto the street and into the path of the truck making a right turn on 4th Street, according to the Newsplex.

That location is within feet of where an Albemarle County police officer struck wheelchair-bound Gerry Mitchell in 2007.

"This is a terrible loss of a promising young man," says UVA spokeswoman Carol Wood. "Matt was a very fine student who will be missed by his family and friends and his many friends in the Math Department."

A vigil is planned for King at 5pm Friday, April 23, in front of West Main Restaurant.

UPDATE 10:25am April 20 with name of victim and correction of wrongly directioned 4th Street NW.

UPDATE 2:54pm: Video posted by the Newsplex shows a truck that looks a like the Public Works Department vehicles that can vacuum out the city's storm sewer system.


Gasbag said:

"Sorry, above should read ââ?¬Å?8,000 pound SUV” :)"

The average SUV weighs about *4,000-4,500* pounds. Do an internet search. I don't know what kind of SUV you're driving around in but it sounds to me like you're exaggerating things. Just a little.

And a big :D :D lol @ mic the knave. Maybe that's the other 4,000 pounds! :D Didn't even think of that....

just because something is legal doesn't make it a smart thing to do.

I would never ride a bike on west main, garth road, rio road or 29 north.

I also don't walk the streets in fifeville after midnight.

The city needs to outlaw bikes on west main until it is safe or a safe alternative is found.

There should be a tuturial for people using the crosswalk at the Belmont Bridge. I don't know how many people on cell phones just step into the crosswalk without watching traffic. I guess its some magical protector beam that surrounds them once they enter the crosswalk. It's down right scary. Especially women who wear black at night crossing the bridge, what gives with that?

HOOK folk, this story needs a correction: "West Main at 4th Street NE" should be "West Main at 4th Street NW".

quote: "I have been appalled at how many drivers (most of them) do not stop for me when crossing at a pedestrian crossing - it’s a state law for God’s sake!"

Where are these pedestrian crosswalks?

Keep in mind, if the pedestrian crosswalk has pedestrian signals, motorists are not required to stop if you have a "Don't Walk" signal. You are required to stop and wait for a "Walk" signal.

Yeah, just ask Jerry Rubin how he feels about j-walking. Oops, that's right. We can't.

quote: "That guy must have been the worst cop - oops, Sheriff’s Deputy, ever. Until he got fired, of course."

A sheriff in Virginia can hire or fire, with or without cause, at any time. After 22 years of steadily increasing performance evaluations, trust me, it wasn't my loss. It was actually like somebody had lifted a ton of brick from my shoulders. I had lost iterest in the job anyway after an incoming sheriff hired and promoted HIS OWN SON! :)

quote: "Gasbag Self Ordained Expert”Š.multiple comments”Š.Niche research!!! ââ?¬Å?”Š.98%”Š””Š to ââ?¬Å?share” your detailed, researched data with this comment outlet”Š???"

Already have.

I clearly said 98%..... based on my "personal observations."

was taught that it was the law to stop for pedestrians crossing at a pedestrian crossing.

But remember: no law has ever protected anyone. Law is just words, ink on a piece of paper. Only people and precautions can protect you. It's funny to see UVa students, upperclassmen walk out without looking while 1st years look both ways. This learned arrogance, supremacy of man's law over natural law (Newton's Laws of Motion) can't serve our future well. Where's the humility, connection to reality? The city's bike lanes are crazy, they disappear when you need them most- at intersections. I only bike ride off street now like at Walnut Creek Park.

Angel Eyes, what you're quoting refers to "vehicles." What CG quoted differentiated between "motorists" and "cyclists." How about if you figure out whether or not your quoted code refers to motorists AND cyclists or just motorists? and then prance around gleefully blaming the (dead) cyclist.

Gassy, thank you for the long-winded blowhardy self-aggrandizing way of saying "you're right, the motorist must signal in this situation."

I'm tired of Gasy Boy. He bores me.

Well, GBSOE, you and I are really "feelin' the hate", aren't we? We have run afoul of one of our cultural taboos, which is not to speak ill of the dead. It's commonly felt in some vague sense that to do so is to invite divine retribution. Of course in my case I don't speak ill of him since I didn't know him and maybe he was a fine young man, but do point out the fatal error leading to his untimely demise, and suggest his example should be remembered and serve as a warning to others.
In California by the way, it's legal for motorcyclists to split lanes. Most do, and this has led to an absolutely gruesome accident rate involving bikers getting bumped while doing this at high speed, going down and being run over by following cars or trucks on those fast multi-lane freeways. Though legal, it's dangerous and imprudent to do.
If a few bicycle riders incorporate some lessons from this incident, then maybe the tragedy will serve some useful purpose.

Angel eyes said: "All this casting of the subject as an ideological morality play is silly".

I don't agree. Of course you are talking about the realities of the situation now and that is needed for the safety of cyclists. But walking and bike riding existed as modes of transportation long before the car came along. For the sake of the planet, our cities and towns need to be designed to accommodate them more than the car which has taken primacy. The fate of the planet depends on it. Cars isolate people from one another, pollute the air and use up finite resources. We need to reclaim the streets for pedestrians and cyclists. The controversy over the delay in shoveling sidewalks of snow long after roads were plowed is also testament to the primacy of cars.

Some of you folks are pretty hysterical.
If you ride bicycles, always be aware of how vulnerable you are, and ride accordingly. That way you will live long enough to learn how silly you were way back in 2010 when you thought that being right meant more than being alive. The red pepper boy doesn't read so well. I was a cyclist before he was born, as I said before. I know it all; have been there and done that. That's why I know what fools many cyclists are. I bet red pepper boy never rode across the country on a bike, but I did, in 1972, and I lived to tell about it. Yup, Through Pennsylvania and Ohio, across the plains, over South Pass, through the Nevada Desert, over Donner Pass, and right down into Oakland. Camped along the way, 47 days. What a rush that was. I was 28 then.
You're a pedestrian when on a bicycle, except not as nimble. Keep that in mind and you'll stay healthy. Make yourself visible to motorists, try to make eye contact, signal your intentions, defer when you must, maintain awareness that you may be an impediment to traffic and minimize your impact. The roads weren't built for you and in the end your use of them is at sufferance. Behave like a mensch and maybe you'll get along better on the roads.

All this casting of the subject as an ideological morality play is silly. People on bicycles are often a complete surprise to people in cars and trucks with the way they weave in and out of traffic, slip past on the right at intersections, and mysteriously turn into pedestrians at traffic lights and stop signs. One can stop at an intersection, look left and right, look in the mirror, and someone slips up in your blind spot. Never mind all the things that happen at night when someone slides up on you with one of those little LED lights and expects you to see them or makes a left turn in front of you on a dark street when you're half blind from oncoming lights and they expect you to see their hand signal. What many people commenting here lack is POINT OF VIEW. When sharing the road, you need to be able to have the point of view of other users of the road, not simply your own little solipsistic bubble.

Rode a bike for a lot of years, broke a lot of traffic laws, I got away with it by watching two things, the tires of cars to indicate movement and the heads of drivers to see where they were looking.

Thank you Col. Forbin. I appreciate and would like to echo your sentiment. We are so temporal, let's not be so rash and instead be patient with each other.

quote: "...the driver speeds by a cyclist, only to hang a right and cut them off two seconds later. This happens to me almost every day on Preston Ave. What do you want to bet that was the move that cost this student his life?"

I don't think so in this case. If you've ever seen the truck in question, in motion, you already know how slowly it creeps around the city streets. And it was most likely moving very slowly to manuever the right turn it was attempting to make.

Gasbag, I'm talking about pedestrian crossings with no lights connected to them. Even pedestrian crossings with the button to push that gets you a flashing light eg on University Ave near the UVa tennis courts (which says stop for pedestrians, state law) and on Preston Ave near Shannendoah Joe's are not always successful in getting drivers to stop. I just got my drivers license and was taught that it was the law to stop for pedestrians crossing at a pedestrian crossing. For me it doesn't even have to be a matter of following a law. I don't want the injury or death of someone on my conscience for the rest of my life. I am only too happy to let someone cross the road. Whatever happened to common courtesy?

Oh and why don't we drop the speed limit on West Main to 15 MPH? That way everyone could enjoy it.

noticed the biker before he got to the fateful intersection because he had cool long hair. she saw him come to a complete stop at ridge/McIntyre and thought what a responsible biker. she saw him stop at 4th st and put his foot on the ground next to the city truck.
she saw the city truck go forward like it was going toward uva. she saw the truck then turn into the biker who was struck on west main, not in the cross walk. she specifically looked for the trucks turn signal, in wasn't on.
so why has the accident re enactment report so different?

gasbag, windbag, d-bag... you're a small small man whatever your moniker.

quote: "I find it extremely disappointing that people use a tragedy to make assumptions about... bicyclists in general."

I'm certainly not making any "assumptions."

I have driven the streets in Charlottesville for 22 years as a sworn deputy sheriff 1974 to 1996), 4 years prior to this, and 15 years since. That's 41 years of driving, before bike lanes and after bike lanes. I find it distrubing that cyclists and pedestrians continue to ignore all the rules of the road and do some of the craziest things out here.

Had it been a part of my duties and responsibilities in this city as a deputy sheriff, there's a lot of cyclists and pedestrians that would have received a summons for their actions during the 22 years I mentioned above.

"It’s sort of fun how this discussion has taken on a life of its own and become more general in nature."

True. Now lets talk about who should not wear spandex.
1. Bike riders

quote, OldTimer: "Yet again, I write a pleasant post that vanishes, while the Gas Bag bags on."


I don't see any moderated comments???

Did you hit "submit comment" and it wasn't posted? If so, you might have violated some terms of service here and it's sitting around waiting to be approved before being postedperhaps. Certain keywords red flag comments here now I think. Namecalling seems to be right at the top of the list, even if not being used to describe a fellow poster. This is why you see people deviating from the normal spelling above so as to get their namecalling past the automated red flag program.

"Until then, I will ride survival style: highly visible and in such a fashion that allows for the fact that MOST motorists DO NOT PAY ATTENTION to the street level while driving."

Dear Angel Eyes, this means that I make myself visible and AVOID motor vehicles at all costs - BECAUSE if there is contact I LOSE.

If I had an nickel for every self-ordained bloviating expert on cycling that apparently does not cycle at all...

Angel Eyes, your comments underscore your lack of cycling and cycling knowledge. NOBODY that commutes or has ridden a bike in traffic would make the statements you have made. Nobody.

Angel Eyes says:

"I know it all."

Well then, that settles that.

Amen, Robert.

That guy must have been the worst cop - oops, Sheriff's Deputy, ever. Until he got fired, of course. Pedestrians have the the right of way at any marked crosswalk in Virginia. If there are walk/don't walk signs, they are required to follow them. If it's at a stoplight without pedestrian signs, you walk at the green. I don't recall seeing the kind of pedestrian sign he's talking about that's independent of a stoplight anywhere around here.

Oh, and nice touch about the truck "slowly creeping around the streets." It's not an old mule. The driver, whether he is at fault or not(and I really do feel for him, and I hope he's okay ), probably could have managed to have avoided this outcome with a little more concentration on the task at hand.

Yet again, I write a pleasant post that vanishes, while the Gas Bag bags on.

Sorry, above should read "8,000 pound SUV" :)

Listen to everybody: Bad, bad cyclists! Next thing you know someone will say he had it coming. Of course, no news as to whether or not the driver turned his blinker on AS he was turning. But I guess cyclists should just 'know' when someone plans to make a right, switch lanes, open their door, blow a light, etc...

Both suggestions could indeed save your life someday.

Did you see my post (link) the other day where a judge in another state was also advising people to arm themselves because the cop shoppes can no longer protect you for a variety of reasons.

This is at least a traffic light controlled intersection. I have been appalled at how many drivers (most of them) do not stop for me when crossing at a pedestrian crossing - it's a state law for God's sake! Such negligence nearly cost me my life a few years ago. Being from another country where stopping for pedestrians at pedestrian crossings it taken seriously, I learned the hard way that many people in this country do not take this law seriously. Talking and texting on cell phones does not help people's alertness either. Drivers need to be aware of safe driving so that they do not risk injuring those on the road who are very vulnerable - cyclists and pedestrians.

Before everyone lines up to beatdown the nameless corpse for running a red this.

i know all of you drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians have halos and never, ever, ever break laws (it's just those out-of-towners who cut me off in traffic, right?!), but what we need here is a bit of perspective...and Jan Hoffman has done the research to give it to us. Thanks Jan.

And a bit of respect for someone who died wouldn't hurt either.

when one is driving the posted speed limit, one is not driving "too fast". Pedestrians and bicyclists need to realize that they are next to several thousands pounds of metal which cannot defy the laws of physics. Be careful, look both ways and act like you care about your life and there would be far less problems.

Gasbag- "On this same road, cyclists chug along at 10 and 15 mph and won’t get out of the way under any circumstances." my exact point. im sick and tired of a biker being in the middle of the lane when theres either a bike lane, or a sidewalk. this. is. how. they. get. hit. its as simple as that.

Angel eyes, where'd you hear that? Car drivers constantly underestimate the speed of bicycles. I've been hit once, and have had to panic brake many, many times by vehicles that pass you and then subsequently brake and turn into your path.

People need to pay attention. Today I saw a 60 year on an expensive road bike sail through the light at this same intersection a good two seconds after the red light - lucky I didn't assume he was going to stop. Then, returning down Water St. I saw a fellow in a Honda disregard the flashing crosswalk lights on 1st St., almost hitting a Mom with a stroller. At the red light at the parking garage, a pedestrian on a cell phone blithely walked across 2nd, forcing the cars to stop at a green light. That's just five minutes of driving downtown today.

Car drivers, please understand that you can kill a cyclist in a moment of inattention(British motorcyclists have an acronym for this:"smidsy", which stands for "Sorry mate, I didn't see you." And for the love of God, use your blinkers.

Angel Eyes you are wrong about my being complicit when macked by motorists that broke the law while macking me. How ridiculous are you? If you've never been hit then thank your LUCKY stars because that's what you are - LUCKY.

Further - I seriously doubt you "heard" the accident was the bikers fault. The scenario described is a daily occurrence and it happens to me almost every day:

Motorist and cyclist approach intersection.
Motorist speeds up to pass cyclist to make right hand turn.
Motorist greatly misjudges the distance and speed of cyclist.
Motorist makes right hand turn anyway, cutting off cyclist.

Angel Eyes, you can take your nickels and shove 'em. IF you LIVE on a bike you know the truth of what that is like. IF not, you're just a whiny motorist complaining about cyclists being in your way.

My bet is that it was the motorists fault AND he WILL NOT BE CHARGED with anything. That is what life on a bike is like.

26 of my 46 years I have commuted and earned a living on my bicycles.

Any day you want to spend 8 plus hours on a bike, in traffic, let me know.

EVERY day as I commute to the University of Virginia, I am passed on a blind hill by motorists that veer across the double yellow line - only to swerve back into the lane as a vehicle comes the other way. Guess who is getting shoved off the road during that veer back into the lane?

EVERY DAY I am passed and cutoff at the four-way stop down the hill from the football stadium by a motorist that does not want to wait their turn.

We're vastly outnumbered and are given little to ZERO respect. We're just in the way of that motorist who has got to get where they have to go in a big hurry.

As I said, ANYBODY that wants to bike with me during my very short commute, let me know. Particularly if you are a bicycle hatin' ex-cop.

People can talk sh-t all they want, until you ride a bike every day in traffic you won't know what that is like. The perspective from the safety of your motor vehicle is vastly different that being on a bicycle, body completely unprotected and at the mercy of people doing everything while driving but paying attention to the road.

Talk you sh-t, then come ride with me for a much different perspective.

Most likely no EDR in a city utility truck since EDRs are found in air bag equipped vehicles, not others.

As an additional comment, I can see how drivers may not want to consider the rights of cyclists and pedestrians. They both slow drivers down. In America which a car culture and where everyone is in such a rush, anyone who slows you down is a nuisance. I suspect cyclists are considered a nuisance by many drivers.

Having said all that, my heart and prayers go out to the cyclist, and their family and friends, and the driver, who whether to blame or not, must surely be suffering greatly.

Cars also ignore the rules of the road and do some pretty damn crazy things. You can't just single out bikers and pedestrians.

Who posts all this crazy comments????????

According to GSOE, we shouldn't ride bikes and we should arm ourselves to the teeth. Um, yeah, okay.

A Charlottesville cop shoppe guy told me this afternoon that a taxi hit a cyclist on Emmett Street last night. Allegedly the taxi was trying to make it under the yellow before it turned red. Didn't make it I suppose. The cyclist went into the windshield and was knocked out. But it didn't appear he had any life threatening injuries.

Gasbag said: "If you are running 25 miles per hour in a motor vehicle and you’re 10 feet from the crosswalk, you often can’t stop in time".

Gasbag to the 10th power said: "I’ll drive by the university and see some studenut running along the sidewalk and just veer into a crosswalk as though I could stop in 15 feet from 30 MPH".

Why on earth would you drive 25-30mph in an area where you know there are many pedestrians and right before a crosswalk? This is precisely the problem. Drivers not being sensitive to there being pedestrians around. When I drive in these areas I am fully aware that there are many pedestrians and crosswalks and don't drive too fast and keep on the alert for pedestrians because I actually don't want to hit anyone.

Hey William- that was an interesting article.

K: Again, your post reinforces the idea that the car is dominant over the pedestrian and the cyclist bay saying it is up to the pedestrian only to be careful and not the driver.

Billco: my point precisely. We may like to use rules to support our desire to drive as fast as we possibly can, but how would any of us feel if we hit someone? How about some concern for the lives for other people and not just selfish desire to do whatever we like?

The NYT times article reminded me of visits to NYC. I haven't been there in some years now, but do recall a time when bicycle couriers were omnipresent on Manhattan streets. They darted through traffic and ran up on sidewalks. All of them kept police whistles in their mouths which they'd blow constantly as they stampeded pedestrians out of their way, cars too. Anyone who lived through that would be prone to lifelong homicidal rage against cyclists. I don't think I've been to NYC other than driving through the Cross Bronx Expressway in over 20 years, so maybe the couriers are gone by now.
Anyone here know?

People will always bend the rules, run a red light, make mistakes. There is no changing that. Bicyclists will "lose" everytime no matter who is at fault.

If anyone must drive defensivley it is the bicyclist. It is a fact of life. A bicyclist has to watch EVERYTHING, even the opening of a car door that is parked, much less the almost continuous presence of blind spots.

Wear helmuts and I think it is best to be in the road acting just like a car. If one is on the sidewalk then one should act like a pedestrian.

A young man died here people. This is not a comedy central chat room. Have some respect for God's sake.

the newsplex's story- paragraph 6. states- "Under Virginia law, a bicyclist is not a pedestrian." this is in fact true. meaning, MOTOR VEHICLE DRIVERS, *DO NOT* have to yield the right of way to bikers. i know darn well that if i see a biker ahead of me, in the middle of the road when theres a sidewalk or a bikelane 8 or 2 feet away. Hmm (locust av). bikers BE PREPARED TO HEAR MY HORN! "share the road" yeah well how bout peds and bikers "share the sidewalk? hm? we can start a new initiative. and under virginia law, it IS legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk. feel sorry for the loss, but he and other charlottesville bikers need to pay more attention to MV drivers with 2-10,000lb vehicles. when they weigh from like 130-240? but really. bikers, PAY ATTENTION!!! ok ive put my 2 cents in.

Thanks for clearing up your hyperbole, Gasbag. Fill us in on this 8,000 pound SUV you're roaring around town in.

I don't get why you think a cyclist or pedestrian deserves the death penalty for a minor mistake, when you undoubtedly brake at some transgression that another driver does. Maybe because it might hurt you too?

And I love the fact that you got tired of police, sorry, sheriff's work at the exact same time they let you go.

Just a few things we can all agree on:
This was a terrible tragedy

Everyone, drivers,cyclists,pedestrians, needs to obey traffic laws and signals

And as a frequent pedestrian,the advice I give is the old "stop and look both ways before stepping into the street"Always look, and just don't depend on lights and signals. Do not assume that driver is going to stop for a pedestrian crosswalk, or not run a red light or stop sign. Many do just that! Signs and signals are no substitute for not using your eyes and ears, and your common sense.
Its not unlike the important advice given to firearms handlers. Just because the gun's safety is on is no excuse for having it pointed in an unsafe direction, or otherwise handled carelessly

Attention all cyclists. Ride in the middle of the car lane and avoid the deathtrap bike lanes on West Main. Slow car traffic down to your speed. This is your right and the only way to stay safe.

Also, ride in numbers so you can block the lane effectively.

Now if that makes someone in a car attempt to intimidate or kill you, let's send them to jail. Take their license and report them.

This is life or death and it doesn't remotely compare to someone's desire to drive a little faster.

The city should invest in physically separated bike lines on these high-volume routes.


This isn't rocket science.

quote: "If I had a nickel for every dumb thing I’ve seen cyclists do, I’d be rich!"

Thank You! I rest my case!

And welcome to the 100,000 nickel club. :)

Any of us could go in an instant. What would be the last thing you said to the people you love? Something kind? Let each of us live thoughtfully and with the knowledge that this life is temporary but beautiful.

The NYT article linked above by William Lorson, is interesting, although it describes several disturbing incidents of motorists deliberately injuring cyclists. It's sad that so many people here are quick to point fingers at cyclists, and Hoolarious is absolutely right that drivers should be aware of the destructive power of their vehicles and watch out for those around them.

There is now a memorial at the corner of 4th & Main: a white-painted bicycle with a placard bearing yesterday's date on it.

I often commute on my bike between Belmont and my job at UVA, and West Main St. feels dangerous to me, with all the buses and side streets and the risk of getting "doored," particularly on Friday evenings. Elliot/Cherry Ave is safer, with fewer turning cars, but it has that awful hill.

Some of you need to read and study Virginia State Code section §46.2-880. -- Tables of speed and stopping distances.

If I am traveling 15 miles per hour on Market Street and a jogger runs into the crosswalk when I am 30 feet from it, I CAN NOT stop in a 8,000 SUV. Even the state says I need 47 feet in a panic stop.

The joggers who run into crosswalks is what bothers me most. And I see it almost every day somewhere in this city.

So sad. Be careful of those bikers.

Peter, you are one of many.

This is tragic...

I hope this at least lights to fire under the city to address the poor support for cyclists on the streets.

We need education for cyclists and drivers (yes, there are laws that address proper cycling and proper driving around cyclists, but most people don't know them or ignore them)

We need proper sensors/timers on all lights. There are a lot of comments about bicyclists running lights. Sadly, sometimes there isn't an option. Many lights don't change until a car trips the sensor - something that a bike is too light to ever do.

We need bike lanes on both sides of the street. Most streets have none, only one (how do you get back?), or have lanes that abruptly end. Also, I've never seen someone ticketed for parking their vehicle where it blocks a bike lane - imagine parking in a car lane.

I'd probably bike to work nearly every day if it wasn't so scary (and I know I'm not the only one saying this). Charlottesville, it's cheaper than building the Meadow Creek Parkway.

Honkers, bicycles are accorded the same rights and obligations as motor vehicles under VA state law. What you're suggesting you'd do veers dangerously close to assault and illustrates the problems bicyclists face in our community today.

And using your logic, someone in a Chevy Aveo wouldn't have the same rights on the roads as a semi.

some horrible comments here that are quite insensitive to the biker. I have no idea if he followed every single rule on the books regarding bike safety, but I can guarantee you that none of us follow every single rule involving car safety.

a bike is not a 8 wheel trailer that clogs up traffic, makes you 20 minutes late to work and blocks access to where you need to go; its a small, tiny device that, at best, would make you slow down for about 3-5 seconds to let them pass or move out of their way.

surely, we all have 5 seconds to spare.

Who cares?

Let's not assume that the biker wasn't following the rules of the road until more details come out. There are quite a few bikers out there that do stop at red lights and stop signs, use hand signals, and wear lights at night. Go easy on this cyclist. Someone DIED here.

Ditto on the need for bicyclists to follows the rules of the road. Too many don't.

However, the city, in my opinion, is doing a darn poor job on encouraging the kind of development that makes being a pedestrian or biker a reality. The one neighborhood that was really doing it had it's commercial district taken over by, gee, restaurants, completely against the pedestrian zoning guidelines. There are a lot of places I would gladly ride to or walk to, but can't because it's really still set up for car traffic. PLus people come tootling in from the county to hang out in these locations with their giant SUVs while complaining bitterly about aving to pay taxes and not having roads to accommodate them.

Suburbia is dying, as it should, and it's death was only delayed by the housing bubble. The core of the city neds more small supermarkets and shops actually dedicated to needs, not botique garbage to being in the landed gentry. Then we will find the biking and walking works out better.


I'm a cyclist and a driver. I do pay taxes of all kinds, except they never go where I want them to. (Bike lanes, not wars)

A few days ago a car was coming up Park Street and proceeding into Court Square, with a green light. A jogging pedestrian ignored her "Don't Walk" and ran right out in front of him. He missed creaming her by about 2 or 3 feet. She threw up her hands and shouted out like the driver had done something wrong. This is the mentality of pedestrians because it has been drummed into their heads that they always have the right of way by the city officials.

The almost identical same thing thing happened a few ago where a person on a bicycle ran out into a pedestrian crosswalk on his bicycle while ignoring his red "Don't Walk" sign. The cars with the right of way almost ran over him! Again, the city repeatedly preaching to them that they always have the right of way.

I'll bet Redjalapeno was complicit in getting hit, most likely by imprudently asserting himself as I've seen numberless cyclists do over the years. I have ridden bicycles for longer than he's been a bicycle commuter, longer by decades. This means I am old, so I don't ride as I used to, but I have never been hit by a motorist, nor "doored". This is because I'm wise and know that it's just as easy to be right and dead. By the same token, I've not been in a car accident in 40 years, and that's because I see things getting ready to happen and so people heedlessly turning left in front of me at intersections don't hit me, etc.
If I had a nickel for every dumb thing I've seen cyclists do, I'd be rich

I always ride in the right third of the "car lane" when traveling on W. Main. Screw the bike lane; it just sets you up for getting doored.

We should outlaw all bicycles from every street and highway that do not have lanes for them. To build bike lanes every bicyclist should pay an extra personal property tax and pay for state inspections.

quote: "UPDATE 1:45pm: NBC29 reports a Public Works truck struck the cyclist."

Well, I am willing to bet the city will claim it was the fault of the cyclist in some way, shape or form.

Were there any witnesses this time that the city will try to hide away out of sight like in the Mitchell case?

I find this accident very sad and I find it extremely disappointing that people use a tragedy to make assumptions about the specific bicyclist and about bicyclists in general. My thoughts are with family and friends.

The only thing that this story makes clear is that Charlottesville is VERY far from being a safe place for bicyclists--even in the few places bike lanes are provided. I know many people who would bike to work or around town if only they felt safe doing so.

I used to bike to work every day but had one too many close calls and a few wrecks (one being with someone not using their signal at 4th and Main) so now I drive instead.

If anything comes out of this it should be safer roads for bicyclists--not intolerant assumptions and blame games.

So terribly sad. We were in the West Main Market when we heard what had happened.

Hoolarious made a good point...that drivers in a car are in the position of power on the road and should be cautious when pedestrians and bikers are around, regardless of how cautious they are.

More likely the truck overtook the cyclist, right?

This is indeed terrible news, and we should all be praying for the victim's family. What makes this especially tragic IS the location of this accident - one of two areas of West Main between Downtown and UVA that doesn't have bike lanes. I myself bike through here almost every day - and will admit that there have been a few times when I've disobeyed the law and ridden up in between stopped cars and parked cars approaching the light at 4th St (heading toward UVA). This is easily the most dangerous part of the ride from Downtown to UVA, and this tragedy is putting things in perspective. Bikers, I know these situations arise everywhere where the bike lane ends and there might be room to sneak in between stopped traffic and parked vehicles. If Paul is indeed factually correct about this accident, then it may be that this biker did what I have done before and so many others have done as well - not merged in with traffic.

In response to some of the earlier complaints about the city's bike/ped effort (Locust Ave Guy, etc.), I'm not really sure what your point is. There are city, state, and federal standards for lane widths for roadways so that bike lanes CAN'T be arbitrarily placed in tight spots. This is to prevent accidents as well as tort liability in the event of an accident. The city has essentially placed bike lanes literally everywhere that it is possible and has even removed some parking to do so. If you replace on-street parking with bike lanes, there will be an uproar as well. Essentially, old design standards have governed the design of roadways, and altering these standards to allow for more "flexibility" is not always easy with right-of-way constraints.

My heart goes out to the victim and his family. Bikers, please be cautious out there...

In cities with smart comprehensive bike plans, the bike lanes also include the front of auto traffic at every light. So bikes ride to the front of the line at a light, get in front of all the cars, and then lead the traffic out as the light turns green. Once they are safely across the intersection they go back to the bike lane.

the bag leaks....

Gave up riding my bike three years ago in the country for exercise every morning (well, not during the winter months). I just couldn't compete with 4 wheelers, narrow roads, 6 inches of tire riding space for me- cars on one side and ditch on the other.

I tried to let the cars and trucks share the road with me, but they would not do the same in most cases.

R.I.P. Matthew

And for all of you who are tired of the one who posts too much with ad nauseam advice, I suggest you just ignore the individual, don't mention the moniker used, and train your eye to skip over the posted verbiage. You have someone here who is seeking both positive and negative attention to feed a need that is not met in the real world.

LAG, got to figure in the weight of the wife and kids.

Peter "I'm tired of Gasbag"


Smart move, offstreetbiker! I think it's crazy to ride a bicycle on the same pavement with 2,500 to 5,000 pound cars, and 6,000 to 8,000 pound SUVs. And of course, the large commercial trucks like involved this morning.

Other Gasbag;
Hey, man, you forgot TEXTING!! As a frequent pedestrian people have been walking head on into me with heads bowed to gaze at the screen of their cell phone, Iphone, or whatever....

Sadly enough people jog with earbuds in ,groovin' on their tunes and, even worse, they do the same riding their bicycles. This is first order obliviousness, dumber than dirt too. Along with cell phone use while driving, people do it on their bikes too. I think some people are just so childishly naive (especially those on the thin cusp of adulthood) that they just don't seem to know that the world can be dangerous....I'll drive by the university and see some studenut running along the sidewalk and just veer into a crosswalk as though I could stop in 15 feet from 30 MPH.

@K It is a "speed limit" not a a speed minimum. You are going too fast if you drive 25MPH while there are lots of people crossing the street. Me? I speed between 3-7 MPH when out on I64 (and yes, if I get pulled over I won't be trying to weasel out of a ticket). But when I am driving down Emmet near Mem Gym with all those crosswalks I you won't catch me doing over 20MPH despite the speed limit. Too many kids, too many cross walks. If I killed some student who stepped into the street without looking it would not ease my conscience much to know that it was "their fault."

Let's face it: the city has done a terrible job providing for proper bike lanes, and there is absolutely no enforcement by police to ticket either vehicular traffic or bicyclists who break traffic laws that put cyclists at risk..

It is an absolute disgrace that a city with the resources of Charlottesville has not figured out how to get a real bike lane from UVA to downtown. God forbid we lose a few parking spaces. World class city? Come on.

I'm with the bikers on this one. Drivers often fail to treat cyclists as "vehicles." The most offensive move is when the driver speeds by a cyclist, only to hang a right and cut them off two seconds later. This happens to me almost every day on Preston Ave. What do you want to bet that was the move that cost this student his life?

Likewise, if some drivers learn something, this tragedy may serve some useful purpose. Bikes are a fact. So are cars. The attitudes of "bigger = right" and "bike = sanctioned anarchy" are no good. I will continue to bike safely, continue to assert my presence (taking only the space I need, but not giving it away), continue to communicate.
I think of this often when I am riding: what if I was your brother? What if I was your son? What if the cyclist ahead of me was my own family?
Would you treat your own family to the 'blame the victim' game?

The speed limit on West Main is already limited to 15 mph most of the day simply because of the volume of traffic and amount of traffic lights. You guys need to come up with a better plan of attack in aggravating people driving 3,000 to 8,000 pound vehicles. :)

As a driver and cyclist (and lifelong cville resident) I was really shocked and sad to hear this story.

After reading this thread I am very disturbed by what some of our commnity members have posted.

Is time so precious that you can't slow down and pass a cyclist at a reasonable speed?

The comments stating that cyclists should pay for their own roads, lanes, etc. is very interesting. All tax paying community members support infrastructure and maintenance via state income tax and sales tax. Highway and other niche laws notwithstanding, everyone has the same right to use the road whether on a car, bike, motorcyle, etc. This is a beautiful area and everyone should have the right to explore it safely and lawfully.

If you see a biker out there hugging the shoulder, chugging along, give them a 'brake'. It's a great sport and a great alternative to cars when possible but it's challenging enough without worrying about which driver is going run you off the road just to save a couple.

bike riders and there is also a weight limit on spandex.

"A young man died here people. This is not a comedy central chat room. Have some respect for God’s sake."

Stick it.

In all fairness to everybody in this thread, one of the major problems involved in car vs cylist/pedestrian incidents is the cell phone. The person in the crosswalk may well have a cell phone stuck up to their ear and oblivious to their surroundings. But the same applies to the driver of the motor vehicle. I have noticed that just about every third driver has a cell phone stuck up to their ear while driving. On a good day, and at a minimum, every second driver does. Sure, most people can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. But many can't drive and chat on a cell phone at the same time. The use of cell phones while driving is totally out of control now. Most research says this is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Gasbag10, I disected your reply sentence by sentence, word by word. And I can't argue one word you said.

I must have missed it above, or the story was edited later. But I see now where this guy rode his bike off a sidewalk and into the path of the truck. An eyewitness on Channel 19 news said the cyclist was attempting to beat the truck through the intersection. This appears to be an open and shut case as far as who was at fault.

First off, prayers out to the family. I am so sorry that Matt died this way.

I lived on Long Island, near NYC, and enjoyed bicycling for many years until I was hit by a car nearly 20 years ago (the driver swerved, head on, into my lane when he suddenly remembered to stop by the bank, so there was nothing I could do) and it was a while before I got back on my feet.

When we moved here, and as pretty as the scenery is, it didn't seem to me to be a safe place to ride, so I gave it up entirely. Some of that trepidation may be due to being gunshy, but imo there's simply not enough room for bikes. It's too bad that communities are rarely designed to acommodate pedestrians, and I don't think it's possible to fix what we have here in Charlottesville without some major new demolition and construction.

It's a pinball machine out there and my road warrior days are over.

GSOE's got a worthy perspective. I feel his pain.

quote: ââ?¬Å?stop and look both ways before stepping into the street”

The majority of people in this city simply do not do this. They walk or JOG down the sidewalk, reading whatever, listening to an iPod, or talking on a cell phone.... and they walk or JOG right into a crosswalk 1) without looking, 2) with no regard to the pedestrian signals whatsoever, or 3) without any regard to vehicles in or near the crosswalks. If you are running 25 miles per hour in a motor vehicle and you're 10 feet from the crosswalk, you often can't stop in time. Quite frankly, I am surprised there aren't more auto vs pedestrian accidents than there are in this area.

For all those concerned about "doing something" but are waiting on "the facts" to be revealed in some kind of investigation please know that the man killed would have asked that everyone stop and pray for all those (the driver, family and friends of each, and the community as a whole) involved in accident. Let us celebrate the life of m by reflecting(as best we can) his passion for Shalom which requires us to embrace and put into practice; radical forgiveness, radical justice and radical community.
For instance, how about we start posts with "My thoughts and/or prays go out to the families and loved ones of both the cyclist and the driver..."

quote: "I don’t get why you think a cyclist or pedestrian deserves the death penalty for a minor mistake..."

Don't put words in my mouth. I've never said any such thing. You're the only person in this thread that has mentioned "death penalty".

When a cyclist or pedestrian is killed, trust me, it's much more than a "minor mistake" on the behalf of somebody. I would stop at nothing ashort of calling it a catastrophic mistake.

I was talking to a neighbor yesterday morning. He said he had to come to a complete stop on Locust Avenue on Monday because three girls were jogging in his lane of traffic. They refused to move. Once traffic cleared, he had to go into the opposing lane to go around them. This is the mentality of joggers, cyclist and pedestrians in Charlottesville. Had it been dark and all three girls were run over, who would be at fault?

This is why I am here, folks! To edumacate you one at a time. Or one fact at a time. I am not talking about the little wannabe SUVs that are picked from the vine before they are ripe. I am talking about the Suburbans, Yukon XLs and Excursions. The Excursions weigh in at between between 7,500 to 8,000 pounds with the 44 gallon fuel tank full. The Suburbans and Yukon XLs, somewhere between 5,800 to 7,000 pounds depnding on the optional equipment purchased.

Locust Ave Guy, the sheriff hired his own son and promoted his own son around the mid 80s. By the time 1996 rolled around when I left, I was running on empty. The nepotism and favoritism had totally burned me out. Combined with the Democrats handing us whatever Charlottesville police officer wanted to enhance their retirement benefits by being our new sheriff every 4 years (Norford, Baird, Rittenhouse, Johnson). Well, as you probably know, a few sensible Democrats broke this trend in 2009 when they put James Brown on the ballot. No more hand-me-down sheriffs from the Charlottesville Police Department hopefully. No more sons being hired and promoted. No more nepotism and favoritism.

So he had to wait what, 5 seconds to pass them? What an inconvenience! And, by the way, it wasn't at night. And I'm sure your neighbor wasn't exceeding the 25 MPH speed limit, right?

Cars need to share the road, particularly in residential neighborhoods. I think Locust Ave. is in fact a pretty good model for how pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular traffic can co-exist.

G'bag 10;
I'll bet you were thinking how much fun it would be to give them a bump or pass them and then lock up your brakes like the guy did a few years back on Woodland Rd.!! Maybe the reptile part is dominant in you; it sounds like it.

You know it's a lucky break for most of us that the people in the Federal Govt. who set up the Interstate Highway System were prescient enough to put in regulations pertaining to what was allowed on the Interstate. If not for that we'd have cycle clubs brazenly riding 4 abreast on I-64, crawling up Afton Mtn. at 6 MPH, loutishly refusing to pull aside just because they had a "right to be there". It's sort of fun how this discussion has taken on a life of its own and become more general in nature.

Yes, I encountered the same problem going home last night with a group of about 10 who instead of forming up in a pace line spread out in the lane in an ostentatious way to block the entire lane.
You know what the reptile part of my brain was thinking......

Same deal last night on Dick Woods Rd. I even got shot the bird for honking to let them know i was approaching their 4 abreast formation.

One other thing for above....wish we could add to a post.

Almost everybody has heard about the experiment in high school or college psychology class. Remember the rats that would press a lever repeatedly to the exclusion of all else to stimulate the ââ?¬Å?reward center” of their brain?

Though it might be better called the ââ?¬Å?seeking center,” this is the same part of the brain that is stimulated by constant bombardment of information. It has to do with the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is produced by this activity.

So, those who post and comment here too much are basically doing the same thing as the lab rats. I mean if they weren't hitting refresh all the time, like the rat and leaver, how else would they be around to comment so often?

You're setting an excellent example as to how to ignore a "problem". Wanna go for 3 posts in a row? :)

How about considering what the witness said: Our stealth cyclist was riding on the sidewalk and veered onto the street in front of the truck. Folks, this isn't Amsterdam (yet), where bikes outnumber cars. Maybe bikes need to slow down and stop and green lights since the other alternative is injury. Maybe we need fewer bikes and more cars to truly make this an "urban ring."

Windbag: Can we dispense with the "cop shoppe" term already? It's not informative or hip, and it's really so tiring with the lame, pseudo wise-guy bravura that you're constantly trying to present.

Country Gentleman,

If bikers did as you suggest the only one getting tickets would be bikers on several violations. They also would be liable for any accidents that ensue as a result of their actions. I suggest you read the Virginia code on how bikers are supposed to ride, in what numbers and manners on the road way before opening your mouth again with such a suggestion.

Bikers, like motorists, are also responsible for the safety of the situation when they pass. Which means that, sadly, if this biker were passing by the truck when it turned right, he would be responsible for the accident. If the truck passed the biker, and then cut right, then he is responsible.

Your attitude is exactly why people get ticked off with bikers; some - like you- do not wish to share the road, they expect to own the road and for traffic to be run a manner that suits them, and are offended that they cannot block the road for their convenience. it is as self-righteous and selfish as motorists with cell phones stuck in their ears.

Such sad news.

This is a particularly tough intersection, too, as many drivers will attempt to speed through a relatively short light on 4th street that is somewhat blind to folks on West Main. Plus the city yard is on 4th street, so its an easy location for an employee/driver to be driving on "auto-pilot" due to familiarity.

Many condolences.

I arrived on my bike shortly afterwards, heading west on Main Street, and it was absolute mayhem. I tried to weave through but police turned me around. As a bicycle commuter it's especially sad and scary to hear of such tragedies. My thoughts are with the loved ones of the deceased, and with the driver, who must be suffering deeply too. If anything positive can come of this, I hope we'll all be safer out there, whether on bike or in car, and that the city will continue in its efforts to make Charlottesville a safely bikable town...

That is too sad! The city needs to emphasize bike and pedestrian safety to its drivers. I was nearly mowed down on Market St. the other day by a Jaunt bus that flew through a red light. Sad for the cyclist and his/her family and friends.

This is very sad...and there are so many people in Charlottesville who are trying more and more to ride their bikes for commutes. But I notice more and more that bike riders don't obey all the rules either. I'm not suggesting that in this horrible accident at all, and no disrespect, but I am suggesting that bikers should learn all the rules and obey them too. I see some in the street who breeze through red lights and turn right in front of cars and just cruise right beside cars in stopped in traffic and those parked. I thought if you were riding your bike in the street with cars you obeyed the same rules? So if there was a red stopped too...but so many bikers don't. And I have probably seen only one hand-signal in the past year from someone on a bike. And it makes it more difficult because some obey rules and some don't, just like drivers. Plus, especially at UVA some students just assume that because there is a cross-walk they don't have to look. They just start walking. If I'm on a bike I am extra extra careful...I know it's much easier for me to stop than a huge vehicle.

im all for bicyclist in this town, hell more bikes less polution, but bicyclist need to follow the rules of the road just like cars do, which means they need to stop at red lights , stop signs , etc. i can't tell you how many times i see bikests just rolling thru them, its a wonder they don't get hit more often.. im sorry for the accident, i pray for the families for both parties, but maybe now, they will ride with more concern for everyone on the road

Let's all be vigilant of ourselves and each other, drivers and cyclists together. Also, let's speak up to others that may be endangering themselves or others. Let's be polite, but forward.

Another non-accident INCIDENT.

I don't know anything about this event, and I won't claim to. But I will say it's been my observation that 98% of the people on bicycles pay no attention to the traffic laws whatsoever. Just like 98% of pedestrians pay no attention to the pedestrian signals. And there doesn't seem to be any type of law enforcement activity concerning their movements and actions. It's just a matter of time before a pedestrian gets killed at 2nd and Market right there at Fellini's Restaurant.

It was years ago but I was (rightfully) pulled over by a UVA police officer for blowing through a stop sign on a bike at 2am over by Scott Stadium/Gooch.

Agree, though, that everyone needs to be more aware and more diligent.

Maybe CPD should get that one officer who used to hand out jay-walking tickets like candy on the Corner to start a downtown beat? That dude was ruthless.

Here's my guiding principle when I'm driving and there are pedestrians and/or cyclists around me: since we're in an unequal relationship (i.e., I have a great deal more power to inflict harm to them than they do to me), I have a greater responsibility to be careful. I can whine all I want about how peds/bikers don't obey the ped/biker rules. And maybe, in a legal sense, I'm not culpable if I hit a biker/ped. But ethically speaking, because I'm both less vulnerable and more powerful, I have an obligation to be extra vigilant. That means slowing down if I'm passing cyclists. It means that if I see a ped hovering near a crosswalk or even just near the edge of a sidewalk, I slow down and keep an eye on them. They might break a rule and start jaywalking. Should they jaywalk? No, of course not. But if they do, I'm not going to console myself after I hit them with the knowledge that they were in the wrong.

time for critical mass.

To echo BusMan, I got ticketed on my bike recently for running a red light. I've laughed about it since, but stories like this -- and there was another not far away a couple of days ago ââ?¬â??ââ?¬â?? sure put things in perspective. Again, we don't know if the biker was at all at fault, but we all need to be more conscientious and careful, no matter what the circumstances.

I ride through that intersection everyday and it's one of the ones where there are more close calls - whether it's car v car or car v bike or car v pedestrian - than most other intersections I cruise through on my daily commute.

I completely agree that cyclists should follow the rules of the road but I also say that drivers need to follow the rules of the road too. I see, on a regular basis, ALL users of the road breaking the law in some way that is potentially dangerous to the other users of the road.

The problem boils down to a lack of enforcement. Users of the road just don't get cited for non-speeding offenses on a regular enough basis. If there's no enforcement of a law then it slowly becomes commonplace for that law to be broken - simple human nature.

The other factor is that, as a driver, you'll tend to notice and remember the infractions of other non-drivers more than you will of other drivers just as a cyclist will tend to notice and remember the infractions of drivers more than they will other cyclists.

I was there 30 seconds after this happend. The news of his death is very sad. The city truck was making a right hand turn and hit the man traveling through the intersection in the same direction. I doubt this was anyone running a light.
It was a sewer truck and is VERY tall and has an obstruction on the front. It is possible the driver couldn't see what was in front of him on this sharp right hand turn.

To Gasbag Self Ordained Expert: After seeing your name I guess I shouldn't have even bothered to read your post, but I did anyway. 98%? Did you take a random sampling over a 5 day period? How many bicyclists were included in your scientific survey?
We have a tragedy here; get off of your pedestal.


Glad to see you post here. I'm going to pretty safely assume you are the bike-riding Noah I know, and you are the first person I thought of when I saw the news. I know you typically arrive in town much earlier than 9am, though.

I walk to work every day, I have seen my share of other pedestrians cross against a signal. I just stand there (like a nerd, I guess) waiting for my right-of-way. And I will carefully, but purposefully, cross when I have the right of way ... including in front of traffic. Carefully, though.

A lot of peds and bikers are "casual" ... they don't truly commute every day that way. I find those are the ones more likely to cross against a signal, or when on a bike they shoot up past stopped traffic (or even jump onto a sidewalk now and then.) The ones who bike and ride everyday to and from work, they tend to follow the rules more.

I guess a lot of us are generalizing, including me. I just can't believe someone died from this. Just horrible.

Based upon what you say, Paul.... the cyclist was going in the same direction as the large truck and was possibly passing the truck on the right?


Bicyclists may overtake and pass another vehicle only when safe to do so. Bicyclists may pass another vehicle on the right or left, and they may stay in the same lane, change lanes, or ride off the road if necessary for safe passing. Please note that passing motor vehicles on the right side may be extremely dangerous if the motorist does not see the bicyclist and attempts a right turn.
A person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, motorized skateboard or scooter, or moped shall not travel between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction, except where one lane is a separate turn lane or a mandatory turn lane.

Motorists must approach and pass a bicyclist at a reasonable speed at least two feet to the left of the bicyclist.

Reference: §§46.2-839,46.2-907

Biofacman, to be quite honest, 98% could be entirely inaccurate. Because I have an extremely hard time sitting here now and recalling seeing as much as 2% of pedestrians and cyclists actually obeying the laws of the road.

But if you read my remark above again, you will clearly see where I based my original percentage upon my personal observations.

BusMan, if the truck overtook the cyclist, which is normal for a slow moving bicycle, I would hope the truck had then given a right turn signal.

I would also hope somebody knows how to send the "black box" out of the truck to have it analyzed and determine if a signal had been given prior to the truck turning right. (Unbeknown to a lot of people, these computers in newer vehicles can tell you a lot about what took place immediately prior to and during an accident.)

Cyclists have a ride to share the road with motorists. I find it interesting that over half the post here are pointing fault at cyclists. Cars are just as responsible. It is impossible to figure out where a car is going when they don't use their signal. Everyone needs to be more careful. We do need more bike lanes. Students need to learn to ride their bicycles with helmets and lights since so many do not.

I was just on the mall, walking my bike to look at people and enjoy the weather, when I ran into a woman who was a witness to the accident. She said that the truck made a right turn with no signal. This is not uncommon. I watched the same thing happen to my friend...luckily, she only lost her sense of smell and taste. ---As a full-time cyclist who also owns a car, I agree totally with Hoolarious (above). While in a car, a driver has the responsibility to look out for peds and cyclist, use turn signals, etc. On the flip side, cyclists should obey the laws and COMMUNICATE with drivers. I learned this after 7+ years of working as a bike messenger in Houston: make eye contact if necessary, signal, use bike lights, wear a helmet. I am a very responsible cyclist. Also, I am experienced, and I know to expect that the average car driver is Not looking out for me. This is why I have to ride defensively. For example, on West Main across from Maya or the old Starr Hill space, people often parallel park Way out from the curb, so I either ride the white line or get in the street. Also, how often do you check your side mirror before opening your door when you parallel park? How often do you speed up to make that right turn so you don't have to wait?--I do not mean to sound accusatory. What I am hoping to do is shed light on the riding conditions here in Cville from the perspective of a safe, responsible cyclist. I am not at war with anyone.
--Finally: it is so sad to hear about this on this beautiful day. I hope that the family and the driver of the truck are all getting the support they need.

Vehicles turning right in front of a cyclist create many problems for us cyclists. If he had his turn signal on early enough, it's the biker's fault. If he failed to use his signal it's his fault. MANY times when I'm on my bike and this happens, I see a single blink from the turn signal, then I hit my brakes and the car turns right in front of me because the driver failed to signal early enough. I've learned to see it coming when cars are going a little slower and move over to the right in the lane, but it's always a danger when I'm riding.

Factor in the size of the vehicle and their location close to the city yard and this sounds like a classic case of an inattentive and non-communicative driver.

I pass through that intersection often. I have seen many close calls of ped v. car, ped v. ped, ped v. bike, bike v. car, bike v. bike, etc. I often go west from there and turn south onto 5th St. SW. Many times have cars either zoomed passed me on the right (illegal), honked their horns because I am stopped in the travel lane, or invade my space and get close very close to my rear wheel. Charlottesville needs separate bike lanes!


When I was typing up my last post, you posted about main st. by Maya. That was the only intersection I could think of while I was typing. There's the danger of being hit by a door while moving at ~20MPH, but then after you pass that you immediately have to watch out for right turning vehicles on 7th st. I think you have the right technique. Stay left in the lane, or enter the traffic lane.

This is horrible and we dont know all the details
A PLEA to ALL BIKERS-- please obey all traffic laws and Please dont bike with ipods!!
I am sorry for the victim.
I have been nearly hit on West Main Street MANY times

German Running Man-
I am glad I am not the only one who thinks about that area. Once you have been 'doored', you never forget it!

There seems to be a lot of people that blame the cyclist for not following the rules obeying traffic laws and not paying attention.

In other words, cyclists are exactly like the majority of drivers but with a few differences:

If a cyclist runs into a motor vehicle - the cyclist will get injured or killed.

If a motor vehicle runs into a cyclist - the cyclist will get injured or killed.

As a bicycle commuter for the past 26 years, I can say with much authority that the number of motorists speeding, drinking, throwing trash out of the window, reading newspapers, putting on makeup, eating, talking on the phone, jamming to the radio, and any other number of attention deficit activities while driving a minimum of 2500 lbs of pollution spewing metal, FAR OUTNUMBER the amount of cyclists doing the same things just listed.

In fact, I'm guessing that of the items listed, you will find less than 2% of cyclists nationwide engaging in such activity while commuting via bicycle.

So, I'll make all you motorists a deal: when YOU stop breaking the law with your motor vehicle, I'll stop breaking the law with my bicycle.

Until then, I will ride survival style: highly visible and in such a fashion that allows for the fact that MOST motorists DO NOT PAY ATTENTION to the street level while driving.

The most comment lament by motorists: "I didn't see him/her".

The most common gesture by motorists: The Death Wave - this is the little wave given by motorists to the cyclists just after the motorist has almost wiped out the cyclist, and then gives the little wave and smile - "Sorry I almost killed you, but I didn't see you because I wasn't paying attention."

I've been hit 4 times by motorists, twice sent to the hospital.
Two of these motorists ran a red light.
One ran a stop sign.
One was drunk.

I've NEVER been hit by a cyclist.

That is not a good idea. For every bike on the road there is one less car, less oil, noise, space taken up. Question: does anyone get taxed for sidewalks? I don't know- I am a renter.
Why are you talking about outlawing bicycles and taxing cyclists? That seems over the top.

quote: "Cars also ignore the rules of the road and do some pretty damn crazy things. You can’t just single out bikers and pedestrians."

This is correct. But there's hundreds of Rambo rookies out there ready and willing to deal with motor vehicle violations. But there's very little to no enforcement when a cyclist or predestrian is involved in wrongdoing.

And yes, I can single out bikers and pedestrians. I have done so throughout this thread. If you want a second opinion, park yourself at the intersection of 2nd Street and Market beside Fellini's restaurant one evening. Count the pedestrians who obey the pedestrian signals... and compare it to those who pay no attention to the pedestrian signals at all. The cop shoppe could write 200 to 300 tickets at this one intersection alone on Friday and Saturday evening if they hide out of sight and pounce on the numerous violators. I'm talking six and seven people crossing at the same time with total disregard to the "Don't Walk" pedestrian signals.

Just two weeks ago, myself and a police car behind me had to swing wide to the right to make a left turn here because a motor vehicle wouldn't stop inching forward a foot every 1 to 2 seconds. 40% to 50% of his car was well into the intersection against a red light. We both had to maneuver around this car and the cop did absolutely nothing at all. So I certainly don't expect much from them when a pedestrian is involved.

quote: "GBSOE;
Most likely no EDR in a city utility truck since EDRs are found in air bag equipped vehicles, not others."

Possible. But if the family feels the city was at fault, it would certainly be worth looking into on their behalf.

In a recent cop shoppe case (not local), the black box proved that a cop shoppe vehicle had never even attempted to apply his brakes before striking a car broadside at 92 mph and killing the two innocent civilians while he was horsing around. (two cop shoppe cars drag racing)

This sad situation is a win-win for Gasbag.

If it turns out to be the cyclist's fault, he gets to rail against scofflaw cyclists. If it turns out that the truck driver was at fault, he'll rail against the city and start screaming about cover-ups.

turdburglar, in my very first remark here I said I know nothing about this case. But I do know how MOST cyclists and pedestrians act in this city. It's firsthand knowledge.

If the city was at fault, and this is proven, I volunteer to sit on a civil jury hearing the wrongful death lawsuit and award the victim's family $10 million dollars.

I'm tired of Gasbag.

Just heard it was the cyclist's fault. He was passing the truck on the right as it was turning right onto 4th. St. while westbound on W. Main. The cyclist ran into the front of the truck and got run over.
100001 nickels.
Same thing happened back in mid nineties on Emmet St. when a guy on a bicycle was passing traffic on the right and got run over by a bus turning right onto Preston.
Too bad for the cyclist, but he did one of the rash things that cyclists do all the time.

the new this more of a death of someone on a bike is sad to hear and to read and i feel sorry for the family victims of the person who died. the intersection of 4th and Maine street is still a bad place to cross or ride a bike with so many cars going though there. we need to slow down and not be careless when we go though there. i take the city bus all the time and i go though there all the time and its a bad place to go though if you do not know what you are doing?

i hope this tell us to be more careful and watch where the cars are and other people that go though there.

I'd like for mr. G to move somewhere else. but then he'd still need to comment on every story on here. What do you call an internet blog over commenting know it all? Gasbag I guess.

Angel Eyes, don't place all your faith in the initial reports. Just like in the Mitchell case, we heard HE was at fault, there were no witnesses, and a summons had been issued to Mitchell.

Things sure did change when a witness magically appeared and said the cop shoppe refused to take any statements.

But, I suspect the cop shoppe got this right. I figured the bicycle had failed to give the right of way to a turning vehicle. They do it all the time.

Angel Eyes, do you know if the truck signaled its right turn? because if it didn't, and if Country Gentleman's quote above is correct (namely, "Bicyclists may pass another vehicle on the right or left, and they may stay in the same lane, change lanes, or ride off the road if necessary for safe passing"), then I'm not so sure it's the cyclist's fault.

turn signals are there for a reason, people.

Hoolarious, interesting trivia.... most people (including cops) assume that a motorist has to give a signal every time they turn. This is not true. 46.2-848 clearly says a motorist MUST give a turn signal if the movement of his vehicle affects, or could affect, the movement of any other vehicle near him/her.

But, in this case, YES, the truck would have been required to use his right turn signal.

§ 46.2-841. When overtaking vehicle may pass on right.

A. The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass to the right of another vehicle only:

1. When the overtaken vehicle is making or about to make a left turn, and its driver has given the required signal;

2. On a highway with unobstructed pavement, not occupied by parked vehicles, of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles in each direction;

3. On a one-way street or on any one-way roadway when the roadway is free from obstructions and of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles.

B. The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle on the right only under conditions permitting such movement in safety. Except where driving on paved shoulders is permitted by lawfully placed signs, no such movement shall be made by driving on the shoulder of the highway or off the pavement or main traveled portion of the roadway.

(Code 1950, § 46-226; 1952, c. 666; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-210; 1985, c. 481; 1989, c. 727.)

quote: "Gassy, thank you for the long-winded blowhardy self-aggrandizing way of saying ââ?¬Å?you’re right, the motorist must signal in this situation.”

As I said, it was nothing more than trivia. :)

Gasbag I'm tired of your verbal flatulence as well. This know-it-all-I-used-to-be-a-cop, world-wise and weary bit is tiring, self-serving, and generally an unenlightening pain in the ass.

Can you do something else with your "creative" energies?

For starters, how about a moment of silence & prayer for the soul that is no longer with us and then another for the family that just received the hardest news life has to offer.

Separated bike lanes might be cheaper -- and certainly more ethical -- than facing victims' survivors in court.

"When sharing the road, you need to be able to have the point of view of other users of the road, not simply your own little solipsistic bubble."

Goes double for motorists.

Gasbag Self Ordained Expert....multiple comments....Niche research!!! "....98%..." to "share" your detailed, researched data with this comment outlet...???

This is incredibly tragic and I am so sorry for the family of the biker. I live about a block from where the accident happened and, having attempted to bike to work a couple of times, I can say for certain that this area of town is NOT bike friendly, despite the bike lanes on West Main. In fact, it is so terrifying that after a couple of attempts I gave up. There are lots of blind corners, the city buses pull into the bike lanes in front of bikers, cars parked beside the bike lanes open their doors into the lane without looking, and (as I learned the hard way) near the UVA campus there are inexplicable "knobs" in the painted median that can cause an instant face plant for a biker who is riding across the median to try to get away from cars. There are a LOT of bikers in this city and I think the city needs to either make a real effort to make the streets safe for bikes or ban bikes from certain thoroughfares entirely. The bike lanes on West Main just give bikers a false sense of security.

Bootzilla, just think of it as something like internet herpes, an annoying infection that flares up from time to time and for which there is no known cure.

If he was driving 15 mph or 60 mph, what difference does that make? The entire lane of travel was blocked by joggers. Locust Avenue is a heavily traveled street in this city. What makes it any different than the 250 Bypass? What makes it any different than Emmett Street?

And before the longer days and time changes in the fall and spring, people often do the same thing in the dark on Locust Avenue.

In reference to speeding: Up until a few years ago, there was NO speeding problem on Locust Avenue. Officer Phil Waufle faithfully worked radar on this street. After he retired I have NOT seen one cop shoppe car working radar at all on Locust Avenue.

don't really know exactly what to say about bikers versus cars. I know I personally try an give them a lot of berth when I pass because I am always afraid that they will hit a rock and fall, maybe ending up under the wheels of my car. That someties means holding traffic up a abit.

OTOH, I get irritated when bikers don't seem to want to scootch over at all, or they ride several abreast, and then act irritated because they need to break formation so cars can pass.

The best way to solve this problem is to start developing our communities to really be more biker and pedestrian friendly for our daily living activities, instead of pretending a few bike lanes and driver/biker awareness will solve the problem. There need to be more small grocery stores and pharmacy types shops, etc, that people can walk to. Convenience stores in this country are a joke, convenient for nothing but beer, candy, and cigarettes. I see the new on on Main St trying, but I think their selection needs some work to get it really going.

As fewer cars need to be on the road, many of these conflicts will solve themselves.

"People can talk sh-t all they want, until you ride a bike every day in traffic you won’t know what that is like. The perspective from the safety of your motor vehicle is vastly different that being on a bicycle, body completely unprotected and at the mercy of people doing everything while driving but paying attention to the road."

Conjecture. Maybe the driver is looking at other vehicles, kids, dogs, or other potential hazards instead of looking for someone moving 10mph on a small profile bike. I do not care if you do ride to the right side of the lane there is still only so much space a vehicle can use to safely pass you.
Ask yourself this. How much time is wasted, how much more fuel is being used, how many more pounds of pollutants are being exhausted all because someone is riding a bicycle "for the environment" and backing up traffic?

Ban every single bicycle on every major road/street that does not have a bike lane. If you need to get somewhere you can walk in the ditches when traffic is present.

RealityIs, I think banning every single bicycle on every major road/street that does not have a bike lane is a bit extrme.

But I can also say this.... about a month ago I had to go to Boonesville on business. I landed behind 4 or 5 other cars that were backed up behind a slow moving farm tractor on the public roadway. Even this tractor driver had sense enough to pull over every chance he had to let motor vehicles pass him safely. On this same road, cyclists chug along at 10 and 15 mph and won't get out of the way under any circumstances.

This is a great loss, he was such a great guy. My deepest sympathies to his friends and family.

The sidewalk is the least safe to ride a bike and if you ride off one into a street that sudden change of place is asking for trouble. It is the same trouble if you ride on the street and suddenly leave it to ride on the sidewalk to compete with pedestrians, broken glass, light poles and firehydrants making a narrow path even narrower. At least in the street you have time on your side to be noticed from the rear if you ride in the direction of traffic. The sidewalk is a last ditch escape route for anything happening on the street. Experienced cyclists know what Sancho Panza said when he stated that whether the rock hits the pitcher or the pitcher hits the rock, the pitcher is going to get broken. So part of riding is to know where to put your self (the pitcher) according to road condtions, time of day, amount of traffic, and whether you are going up or down a hill.

GSOE- "In all fairness to everybody in this thread, one of the major problems involved in car vs cylist/pedestrian incidents is the cell phone.....I have noticed that just about every third driver has a cell phone stuck up to their ear while driving"

the percentage has to be higher, as every cop/sheriff has a phone in their ear.

Harry, the new texting law in Virginia exempts cops. So they can have a cell phone in their ear, and another texting at the same time if they want to. :)

This blaming-the-victim/blaming-the-official is pathetic. There appear to have been lapses in judgment and/or attention on both sides. And if we find it tragic that a family and friends have lost a promising young man, then we should also have room in our hearts for the fact that a moment's inattention has turned someone who also has family and friends inadvertently into a killer. IMHO folks need to chill. On Friday night, I waited on the sidewalk to be picked up in front of Market St. Wineshop and watched with horror as my BF, driving east on Market and turning left just past the library to make the block to come and pick me up, nearly creamed a cyclist. He had his signal on and was paused before turning because of Fridays After Five traffic, but it was past 8 p.m. so the intersection was dark (not to mention him being blinded by the lights from opposing traffic). In addition, the cyclist wearing black and was hauling ass downhill so fast he was unable to stop. If the cyclist had been hurt or died, would it have mattered who was at fault? All our lives would have been shattered. But the story didn't end there. After BF picked me up and we headed west on Market back home, at that same light in front of Fellini's that Gasbag has been flamed for describing, a group of 20ish looking kids launched themselves into the intersection against the light--barely giving us time to brake. Were we speeding? Hell no, not after that close call with the cyclist. They were just drunk or heedless or thoroughly entitled. So this is where I fall on the issue. I saw the memorial to the young man who died and thought it was very moving. But if his death is a wakeup call, it's not just for drivers or for pedestrians/bikers -- it should be for everyone.

QUOTE: " that same light in front of Fellini’s that Gasbag has been flamed for describing, a group of 20ish looking kids launched themselves into the intersection against the lightââ?¬â??barely giving us time to brake. Were we speeding? Hell no, not after that close call with the cyclist. They were just drunk or heedless or thoroughly entitled."

They were thoroughly entitled. The pedestrian crosswalk signals don't mean a thing BECAUSE there is no enforcement at pedestrian crosswalks whatsoever. It seems the city cop shoppe only enforces UVA students or pedestrians crossing the train tracks up on the corner.