Updated: 19-year-old bicyclist killed at Broadway and Campbell

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 6.30.39 PM

Update: Police have identified the victim as Albert Rich. 

A 19-year-old man was struck and killed by a semi-truck while riding his bike near the intersection of Broadway Boulevard and Campbell Avenue.

Sergeant Chris Widmer of the Tucson Police Department said the crash occurred at about 5:30 p.m. on July 3, 2013.

Both the cyclist and the semi were heading west on Broadway Boulevard when the truck made a right turn to head north on Campbell Avenue.

Widmer said the cyclist struck the truck’s passenger side and was pulled underneath the truck.

The cyclist was taken to University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

No citations have been issued as of yet.

The crash was originally classified by TPD as a pedestrian crash, but several TucsonVelo readers reported a mangled bicycle at the crash scene.

Right hook crashes are one of the most common crashes in Tucson according to http://bikecolli.info. There have been several right hook crashes at this intersection in the past.

This is the first bicyclist fatality in the city of Tucson in 2013.

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29 comments
BobRogers
BobRogers

Mirrors are useful. Check your mirror before each intersection for "body language" alerts by closing vehicles and wave them off. 


DanielStolte
DanielStolte

@Mike

Please keep posting these articles. This has nothing to do with morbidity or a sensationalism. It's the only way for the rest of us to learn and be better and safer cyclists. As an avid scuba diver, I can't tell you how much I've learned from the accident columns. All dive magazines have them and for good reason. Keep it up. 

DanielStolte
DanielStolte like.author.displayName 1 Like

I'd not be surprised in the least if the truck driver didn't bother to look. Or maybe he did, and the cyclist rode in the dark with no lights. For those of us who ride bikes, I can only say that if you're riding next to a truck and not taking into the account the truck - or any vehicle for that matter - might turn without looking for you, you're making an awful mistake. Motorists in this town (state? country?) just don't look for cyclists before they turn. If I had trusted them to see me and let me pass, I'd be long dead. And I've only lived here for 8 years. 

EdBeighe
EdBeighe

@DanielStolte "Or maybe he did, and the cyclist rode in the dark with no lights.".... the crash was at 5:30p in early July.

PlanckLength
PlanckLength like.author.displayName 1 Like

@DanielStolte You're right in that cyclists need to be vigilant and essentially need to assume that everyone is out to get them.  With that said, however, the vast majority of motorists don't cause problems for cyclists, and the drivers in Arizona aren't really any different than anywhere else.

sluggh
sluggh

Given that we have a dead bicyclist, it is difficult to see how the truck driver made his right turn "with reasonable safety," as required by 28-754.

PlanckLength
PlanckLength

@sluggh Perhaps the cyclist was in the driver's blind spot, and as such it wasn't possible for the driver to see the rider.

sluggh
sluggh

@PlanckLength @sluggh Absent Albert's version of events, that will be the presumption, yes. Interesting how that works. The claim of a "single-witness suicide swerve" also seems to be compelling around these parts, far less so in other countries.

EdBeighe
EdBeighe

@MikeMcKisson @sluggh @PlanckLength Thanks Mike; please update us on the outcome of the crash report. 

Fault in a right hook situation (especially with a large truck) usually revolves around who is passing whom. If a vehicle begins and never completes the pass and turns right; the vehicle driver is at fault ("i didn't see him", or the cyclist being in the "blind spot" doesn't avoid the fault). 

Here's a similar right hook with large truck fatality in Flagstaff, the driver was cited after a lengthy investigation: http://azbikelaw.org/blog/flagstaff-cyclist-killed-in-collision-with-city-truck/

Sometimes the truck is moving so slowly that the cyclists begins to gain on the truck and actually begins to pass on it's right -- here's one (not a right hook, but it's the same idea) where police determined the cyclist was attempting to overtake the truck, a collision resulted and the driver was not cited: http://azbikelaw.org/blog/cleapor-fatality-mesa-police-stonewall/


MikeMcKisson
MikeMcKisson moderator

@sluggh @PlanckLength I'm planning on getting the police report when it is completed. We'll see if there is anything that might assign blame. 

sluggh
sluggh

@PlanckLength @sluggh You totally busted me on my lie-detector suggestion. I can appreciate the blind-spot argument but am also interested in seeing how strict liability statutes work elsewhere.

PlanckLength
PlanckLength

@sluggh @PlanckLength Exactly how do you propose that be done?  Further do you also propose that at accidents cyclists also be "tested" for veracity?  Lie detector test?  Hmm.  Well that's an interesting authoritarian tack.  I suspect that there would be a great many people opposed to being forced into taking a lie detector test for any reason.

Do you have access to facts that no one knows about?  Perhaps you just have  a bias you can't overcome, like the bias some of those you complain of have.

You should have just admitted you had nothing objective to offer and that you had no facts on which to base your suspicions.  I think it's rather unlikely that you know the driver or have witnessed him driving.  Given the paucity of facts that you have in hand, the wise course of action to follow is to see what report the police eventually release.  Of course, it's very likely that unless the report supports your suspicions and preconceptions, you'll claim a number of conspiratorial reasons why the report will read as it will.

It's that sort of thinking that makes us cyclists look pretty damn stupid and no better than any other run of the mill conspiracy junkies.  Anyone with a pittance of objectivity and functional intelligence will understand that at this point it's just as probable that the driver did something wrong as it is the cyclist did something wrong.  Right now, no one here has any evidence to the contrary, and there is no point whatsoever assuming that one particular party was at fault.  The only reasons to presume a party at fault at this point are to further a political point of view or to reinforce biases. 

PlanckLength
PlanckLength

@sluggh Pray tell, sluggh, how you suggest, then, objectively investigating the accident?  Should someone pose as the victim and make up testimony?

sluggh
sluggh

Interesting how the TPD frames this accident in terms of the bicyclist running into the big rig. Kinda like how Berbick's face repeatedly pounded Tyson's fists.

silverpedals
silverpedals like.author.displayName 1 Like

Of course it's depressing and unpleasant to read this story, but it's very important to have it reported.  The story on KGUN news cited a Tucson traffic detective, Chris Widmer, saying that it was "determined that the driver of the semi-truck was not at fault. He did not receive a citation, according to Widmer."  Why not?  How is it that a right-hook by a driver isn't an illegal move?  Or was it that the cyclist didn't notice that the semi had already slowed and veered left in the process of completing a wide right turn?   We need to know if  the cyclist was not paying attention, or if the TPD isn't citing drivers who kill or injure cyclists.

zz
zz

@silverpedals If the cyclist spent any time or distance in the truck's blind spot, then the "I didn't see him" excuse may be 100%. It seems acceptable, however,  that drivers can 'forget' what they've passed one-half second after they do it. It may not be possible to know which.  A cyclist asserting their right-of-way at an intersection against a large, right-turning,  limited-sight vehicle is not responding well to traffic. Just stop and/or get up on the sidewalk.

Orvis
Orvis

@zz It would seem to me that the right hook is singularly unique to bicyclists.  I cannot think of an analogous situation that involves a car turning across a lane of traffic which is to their right and traveling in the same direction.  Similarly I cannot think of any common roadway features that fling the drivers of automobiles to the ground at regularly intervals like the street car tracks do.  I general traffic engineers have done a pretty good job of engineering much of the risk out of driving an automobile.  I don't think they've done nearly as well with bicycles and pedestrians. The road configurations that create the opportunity for right hooks are engineering failures. 

I have to question infrastructure where a very momentary and minor mistake can end up ending someone's life.  I also think it's a cultural failure in the we tolerate this sort of thing as part of the cost of operating motor vehicles.  Denial isn't just a river in Egypt.  

zz
zz

@Orvis Motorcycles are subject to them,  too...just not from the right lane so much. It's the size differential and people don't look behind. Motorcycling taught me to always look and look again and resist changing lanes a lot. Good carry-over to bicycling.

Orvis
Orvis

Tragic as these stories often are I appreciate your posting them with the updates as they come in because it's the only way I'll actually get an inkling of understanding regarding the facts of a situation. Right hooks are really fast.  You're riding along and then it's oh my god! That Campbell intersection is a tough one. Headed east towards the Safeway you're pretty much in a dangerous place a block before and a block after Campbell.  

DanielStolte
DanielStolte

@Orvis I would never ride my bike on Campbell to begin with. Suicide mission. 

Dan N.
Dan N.

The multiple updates on killed cyclists is kinda nasty, and something I've noted on this website recently.  When an article has nearly zero facts and is actually titled "Conflicting reports..." we don't get anything from it except fear and titillating sensation of someone being killed.  Please don't compete with the breathless "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality of the local news, do something actually useful.

sluggh
sluggh

@Dan N.  I guess I'm late to the discussion, because I don't see any reference to "conflicting reports." No doubt the story has been updated. Nobody deserves to be hooked. If what happened is as described, I take it as a tragic reminder that taking the lane when approaching a major intersection could be a lifesaving move. This site could hardly be more useful than that.

MikeMcKisson
MikeMcKisson moderator

  @sluggh Yesterday when I originally reported on the crash, TPD didn't have much information and the public information officer was leaving for the night. 

TPD said it was a pedestrian who was struck and that is all they had, but I had received several emails, texts and messages on twitter indicating it was actually a cyclist. 

I try to cover both cycling and pedestrian issues so I would have reported on it either way, but the details were scarce and we were hearing two different stories. 


sluggh
sluggh

@MikeMcKisson What I figured. This case reminds me of the fatal right-turn squeeze at Fort Lowell and Mountain in 2008. No charges against the bus driver in that one.

MikeMcKisson
MikeMcKisson moderator

@Dan N. I appreciate your feedback, Dan. As a cyclist, these types of stories are awful to write and I hate doing them. 

Judging by the numerous messages I've received on the subject, it seems that many people are concerned about it and want to know more. I agree we don't know very much, but that is more the function of the police department knowing little and sharing little. 

We have however, learned more from comments here than from the police. 

As for competing with local media, I'd argue their stories are all about the inconvenience of a closed street. Here at least it's cyclist or pedestrian who matters. 

I've learned you can't and rarely please everyone. If we ignored it or waited until the press release from the police, I'd be getting complaints from other people. 

It's a terrible situation that had no good answers. 

Thanks for reading and for the feedback. 

DanielStolte
DanielStolte

there was a bike there 100 % I saw it. hat, backpack and bike with twisted front wheel, all in a row from left to right, when I drove by at about 7:15 pm. the items appeared to be left in place deliberately, not where yiu might expect them to be if someone had tried to move them off the road to clean up. honestly, they almost looked like they had been put on display.

rob
rob

I drove by a little while ago and saw a mangled blue bicycle, a backpack and a hat in the crosswalk. I really hope the bike took most of the damage. I think the removed the bicycle soon after that.