A teenager with a camera mounted on his handlebar caught a truck driver slamming into him. The truck was accelerating – rather than slowing down – to make a right turn at the upcoming light.The truck driver then fled the scene. Will Fresno PD act?
A TV station has the story, and apparently because they have the exclusive on the video, they have the “exclusive” on the news – I didn’t see any reporting in the Bee.
The TV station is calling it an “accident” and running with the “both sides are to blame” angle. Why are both sides to blame? Because the wife of the driver says so.
KMPH news reporter Erika Cervantes spoke with RMS manager Marcey
Stark on the telephone. Stark told her that she did not want to comment
on camera, but Stark did say her husband was the person driving the car
that ran into the bicyclist. Stark also said that her husband told her
that the bicyclist is the one at fault, because he’s the one who hit the
car. Stark went on to say if her husband did something illegal Fresno
Police would contact them, but they haven’t, so she is not concerned
about it. She also added that Fresno Police need to hear her side of the
story and she’s skeptical that the bicyclist contacted a news station.
Then she hung up on Cervantes.
The wife admits her husband knew there was a collision, and still fled. She also says shes not concerned her husband has no regard for human life.
If you click to the news story, you can see the video. The video is very clear, so it’s quite easy to see what happened.
It is impossible to dispute that the truck driver is guilty of a crime. He fled the scene, which makes it a hit-and-run. Full stop. His wife admitted the driver knew what happened, and fled. Since the driver came from behind the cyclist, and cut him off, it would be impossible to claim “I didn’t see him!”
Even if he was not at fault, fleeing is still a crime, and Fresno PD must act on it.
That being said, the driver was clearly at fault for causing the collision Approaching the intersection in the eastbound direction, the road consists of one turn lane, one general lane, and one bike lane. At the intersection, there is a left turn lane, a general lane, a bike lane, and the addition of the right turn lane.
Because the driver is going from the eastbound lane to the new right turn lane, he is turning across the bike lane. All vehicles changing lanes must signal their turn AND yield to traffic already in the lane next to them. What he should have done was slow down, merge behind the cyclist, and then turn.
In the diagram, the yellow line indicates the change in lanes, which must yield to traffic continuing straight on their green line.
(yes the general lane is extraordinarily wide)
Of course the driver isn’t the only one to blame. The city has done a poor job with their striping and signage. Now in this case, the company the driver works for (owns?) is based only a couple of blocks away, so he obviously drives this road daily and should be familiar with the striping. For everyone else, it may be a little confusing.
The bike lane is “abandoned” at the most dangerous part – the merge. No signage is placed to remind turning traffic to yield, and it might be unclear where cyclists should ride. The road is also excessively wide, leading to speeding (visible in the video).
Here are the existing conditions:
And here’s what proper striping would look like. At the very least, the city should use a dashed line to create a continuous bike lane.
The city has a chance to redeem themselves by arresting the motorist and amending their striping plan. Will they? I’m not optimistic.
The cyclist should also learn some defensive techniques to prevent future incidents with careless (and then criminal) motorists. Even though the cyclist was, by definition, proceeding straight from the bike lane to a bike lane, he might have been better off using arm signals to make the movement abundantly clear. That being said, if I were him, I’d be looking at a lawyer to press civil charges.