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  1. #1
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    Cyclist killed in Ames Iowa by a Tractor

    It's harvest season here in the great midwest and normally in the Ames area cyclists are very welcome, but some how a loaded tractor ran into a cyclist while his family (rider's) looked on. Don't know many details but I will return with more when they are available. I sure that this will again spark the debate of cyclists being where they don't belong.

    Cyclist killed by Tractor

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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Special K
    It's harvest season here in the great midwest and normally in the Ames area cyclists are very welcome, but some how a loaded tractor ran into a cyclist while his family (rider's) looked on. Don't know many details but I will return with more when they are available. I sure that this will again spark the debate of cyclists being where they don't belong.

    Cyclist killed by Tractor
    The comment by the Officer sounds like the usual one that many think that vehicles with blind spots are not responsible for safely driving on the roads. If they can't see, they need mirrors to cover those spots, or not be on the roads.

  3. #3
    N_C
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    Dchief, I'm having a hard time agreeing with your comment about mirrors covering blind spots. First of all there is no indication as to what kind of tractor it was. From the sounds of it though it was a large one, especially if it was towing large grain trailers. Have you ever seen the size of these units? They can get very large. If the tractor is the type that I think it is, it is a newer style with all of the required safety equipment on it, including mirrors. That required equipment was installed by the manufacturer in accordance with federal regulations.

    I'm going to assume you drive a motor vehicle of some type on a regular basis. You're aware of course there are certain blind spots that are not covered by a mirror where you have to turn to look over your shoulder to see if something is there. Well farm tractors are the same way.

    Right now there are not enough details as to what happened. So it is to early to lay the blame on anyone. The farmer may have been driving the tractor in a very safe & responsible manner. I have yet to see a farmer that operates one dangerously.

    People here in the midwest know it is the harvest season & a lot of tractors are out on the rural roads. Other road users know this & there are safety campaigns launched every year before the harvest, etc. Not to mention several commercials regarding safe road usage by everyone. But accidents still happen.

    And before any of you start saying tractors should be banned from the roads, DON'T. Farming, particuarly crop farming here in Iowa is a very, very large part of our economy. You know that delicious beef or pork you may have had for or part of a meal this past week? Well guess what? More then likely the cow or pig that it came from was probably fed by corn or beans that came from an Iowa farm field. Farming is what helps keep both my wife & I employed as well as hundreds of thousands of other Iowans. So please do not start by saying farm equipment should be banned from road ways.

    While the cyclists death is tragic & unfortunate & my heart goes out to his family. His death will not have been in vain. I am going to do what ever I can with the resources I have to help make sure this does not happen again.

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    I mostly agree, NC.

    I should remind those BF members for whom it's relevant, though, that tractors can be deceptively wide at night. A couple of guys nearby have, or rent, equipment with booms in the rear that extend some distance into the center of roadway past the tractor cabin.

    This isn't meant to say that the farmers are negligent-- for all I know they're in conformity with the law, though some reflective stickers on that overhanging stuff in the back would be nice-- it's just to point out what's what.

    Lots of giant farm equipment on the roads now, it's true. Though some of the farmers around here are waiting until after Halloween to harvest, since they're trying to get a few bucks from corn mazes cut out of their federally subsidized fields.

    We've got some *long* roads connecting larger towns, and it's possible this time of year to draft a tractor going about 22 miles an hour for, oh, 22 miles or so.

    M

  5. #5
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Tractors are a good example of why cyclists belong on the road. Tractors move slowly and delay traffic, but no reasonable person would ban them from the road. Cyclists have the same right to use the road, even if we sometimes delay other traffic.

    It's a bummer about the cyclist and his family. Hopefully, they'll be a follow-up article with more facts.

  6. #6
    TLN
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    Wow that must have been a pretty large gust of wind! I guess thats why I hate riding when its windy out.

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    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    More of the story

    http://www.theiowachannel.com/news/3847495/detail.html

    The man apparently fell off the bicycle (the bicycle wasn't damaged at all, look at the picture) and then was run over by the tractor. It's a horrible accident but it appears it was just that, an accident.

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    One wonders if the truck had blocked the wind or did something to make him fall. People don't just fall over for no reason.

  9. #9
    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    My co-workers often remind of a guy that they used to work with that met his maker on the highway that I commute home on. This was several years ago before they paved the shoulder, but evidently he was riding on the road when a semi approached from behind and as he got off on to the gravel shoulder he lost control and fell under the semi's wheels. The shoulder is now paved and next year there is a sidewalk going in, so the danger factor is greatly reduced, but accidents still happen.

  10. #10
    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    I was out for a ride on my usual route in the farm country of souther Wisconsin last week. I was riding on a narrow road and saw an approaching tractor pulling some kind of farm implement. It was huge, taking up at least 3/4 of the road. I pulled over to the side, got off my bike, and onto the grass so it could pass safely. There was no way I was going to stay on the road and try to pass that thing.

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    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    There was wind gusting of 40mph that day so I bet the tractor probably while passing the bikes did cause a shift in the winds. But I consider this one a no fault. It's a freak accident that sadly has taken the life of a bicyclist and the tractor driver who will have to live with the fact that someone died under his tractor. A horrible accident but it is just that, an accident.

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    I don't think we can call it a no fault without more facts. How close was the tractor to the bike? The tractor was passing, so the burden was on it to pass safely. I hope the cops do a good job of gathering facts so that the result is fair to everyone?

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    Senior Member FXjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake
    More of the story

    http://www.theiowachannel.com/news/3847495/detail.html

    The man apparently fell off the bicycle (the bicycle wasn't damaged at all, look at the picture) and then was run over by the tractor. It's a horrible accident but it appears it was just that, an accident.

    Wow, that's horrible.
    If you can't avoid a tractor, you made a mistake.

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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake
    It's a horrible accident but it appears it was just that, an accident.
    Yeah, and it was just 1 of over 400 tractor deaths that happen every year. This time, it just happened to involve a cyclist.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    If read the latest about this tragedy

    http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?B...&PAG=461&rfi=9

    If I am reading this correctly, it appears the cyclist were using the tractor to shield themselves from the wind and the tractor driver was very cooperative with the cyclist. Another car come in the direction of the tractor and rather than stop immediately or merge into the cyclist, the tractor slowed down, the cyclist fell, and was crushed by the tractor.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N_C
    Dchief, I'm having a hard time agreeing with your comment about mirrors covering blind spots. First of all there is no indication as to what kind of tractor it was. From the sounds of it though it was a large one, especially if it was towing large grain trailers. Have you ever seen the size of these units? They can get very large. If the tractor is the type that I think it is, it is a newer style with all of the required safety equipment on it, including mirrors. That required equipment was installed by the manufacturer in accordance with federal regulations.

    I'm going to assume you drive a motor vehicle of some type on a regular basis. You're aware of course there are certain blind spots that are not covered by a mirror where you have to turn to look over your shoulder to see if something is there. Well farm tractors are the same way.

    Right now there are not enough details as to what happened. So it is to early to lay the blame on anyone. The farmer may have been driving the tractor in a very safe & responsible manner. I have yet to see a farmer that operates one dangerously.

    People here in the midwest know it is the harvest season & a lot of tractors are out on the rural roads. Other road users know this & there are safety campaigns launched every year before the harvest, etc. Not to mention several commercials regarding safe road usage by everyone. But accidents still happen.

    And before any of you start saying tractors should be banned from the roads, DON'T. Farming, particuarly crop farming here in Iowa is a very, very large part of our economy. You know that delicious beef or pork you may have had for or part of a meal this past week? Well guess what? More then likely the cow or pig that it came from was probably fed by corn or beans that came from an Iowa farm field. Farming is what helps keep both my wife & I employed as well as hundreds of thousands of other Iowans. So please do not start by saying farm equipment should be banned from road ways.

    While the cyclists death is tragic & unfortunate & my heart goes out to his family. His death will not have been in vain. I am going to do what ever I can with the resources I have to help make sure this does not happen again.
    I'm glad you referenced MY vehicle's blind spots, because, whether I see someone in them or not, I'm still responsible for safe operation of my vehicle on the road. From what I've seen, I have to be responsible, but drivers of large trucks and equipment on the roads are not. That's what I'm seeing inferred in this article, and in some posts.
    I drive one of the van sized mail trucks for the USPS delivering my route, and it has 7 mirrors.
    Last edited by Dchiefransom; 10-26-04 at 09:23 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    One wonders if the truck had blocked the wind or did something to make him fall. People don't just fall over for no reason.
    It happened to me. I had a really bad side wind, maybe 30 mph, and a semi going by blocked it. I started to fall/veer toward the semi, and ended up over correcting the other way, going down in the driveway of a car dealership. I lay there for a few minutes wiggling stuff to see if I was okay, and collecting myself, while a guy inside watched me laying there. I'll never even think of buying a car there.

  18. #18
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    First off, my heart goes out to his family and friends, this is just so sad.

    I live in an agricultural county, lots of farm tractors, combines, and semi trucks hauling grain this time of the year. I have been known to draft BEHIND tractor and heavy slow trucks when I can. I don't think I would ever put myself between the ditch and a tractor or other farm implement. Having grown up on a farm, and still helping my dad from time to time, I would be heart broken if something like this had happened to me while opperating a farm tractor on the road. These things are so big and some times akward to drive at speeds, they have no shocks what so ever and bounce around quite a bit on rough roads at any speed over 10 mph. Please don't put yourself in a posistion where you can be "pinched" into a dangerous situation. If you ride on 4 lane highways, on and off ramps can get you in a pinch.

    Remember our limitations, ride safe, and look out for each other!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by uciflylow
    First off, my heart goes out to his family and friends, this is just so sad. I don't think I would ever put myself between the ditch and a tractor or other farm implement. Please don't put yourself in a posistion where you can be "pinched" into a dangerous situation. If you ride on 4 lane highways, on and off ramps can get you in a pinch.

    Remember our limitations, ride safe, and look out for each other!
    I have to agree with these sentiments. If the report is accurate,
    and if the rider was riding between the shoulder and the tractor's trailers using the trailers as a wind break,
    and if the tractor driver was allowing them to,
    they both made mistakes that led to this unfortunate incident.

  20. #20
    N_C
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
    I'm glad you referenced MY vehicle's blind spots, because, whether I see someone in them or not, I'm still responsible for safe operation of my vehicle on the road. From what I've seen, I have to be responsible, but drivers of large trucks and equipment on the roads are not. That's what I'm seeing inferred in this article, and in some posts.
    I drive one of the van sized mail trucks for the USPS delivering my route, and it has 7 mirrors.
    Ok, now I really disagree with you. At least the part about you saying drivers of large trucks are not responsible drivers. Just to warn you, you've touched a nerve with me by saying that.

    My father is an Over The Road, or OTR truck driver. In the 25+ years he has been driving he has NEVER been in an accident. Why? He is one of the safest & most responsible drivers on the roads. His CDL allows him to drive anything with rubber tires & most things with air brakes at any weight on this nations road ways. In fact the worst thing that has ever happened to him while driving is he lost his brakes, once, in the mountains. He was able to keep the truck under control by using his engine brake, & shifting gears, he made it down the mountain & safely came to a stop. He has how ever stopped to assist at accidents involving semi trucks. He's even helped save a few lives with CPR & first aid. Had to use the fire extinguisher from his truck, even blankets & flares that he had on board. If that & the fact he has NEVER been in an accident while driving his truck is not safe & responsible large truck driving then I'm at a total loss as to what is.

    You making a blind & general statment about truck drivers not being safe labels every one of them on the roads, including my father. And it just isn't true.

    Ok, granted I do agree to a point that it was inferred in the article about drivers of large trucks & equipment not being as safe a drivers as they could/should be. Though I doubt that is what the officer meant by it. But I do see how it could be, by some people, taken that way.

  21. #21
    Look Ma, NO hands!
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    "At least the part about you saying drivers of large trucks are not responsible drivers."

    My MOTHER IN LAW, drove a semi truck over 1,000,000 miles,(how many trips is that between Memphis and Kansas City?) with out 1 accident. This was three years before she ritired. Most of the truck drivers I know are responsible.

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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N_C
    Ok, now I really disagree with you. At least the part about you saying drivers of large trucks are not responsible drivers. Just to warn you, you've touched a nerve with me by saying that.

    My father is an Over The Road, or OTR truck driver. In the 25+ years he has been driving he has NEVER been in an accident. Why? He is one of the safest & most responsible drivers on the roads. His CDL allows him to drive anything with rubber tires & most things with air brakes at any weight on this nations road ways. In fact the worst thing that has ever happened to him while driving is he lost his brakes, once, in the mountains. He was able to keep the truck under control by using his engine brake, & shifting gears, he made it down the mountain & safely came to a stop. He has how ever stopped to assist at accidents involving semi trucks. He's even helped save a few lives with CPR & first aid. Had to use the fire extinguisher from his truck, even blankets & flares that he had on board. If that & the fact he has NEVER been in an accident while driving his truck is not safe & responsible large truck driving then I'm at a total loss as to what is.

    You making a blind & general statment about truck drivers not being safe labels every one of them on the roads, including my father. And it just isn't true.

    Ok, granted I do agree to a point that it was inferred in the article about drivers of large trucks & equipment not being as safe a drivers as they could/should be. Though I doubt that is what the officer meant by it. But I do see how it could be, by some people, taken that way.

    Reread my post, the one you quoted. I did not mean to say they were not responsible drivers. I should have said that many times they are not HELD responsible for accidents that happen when someone is in their blind spot, while I would be. If these statements I hear were only a warning for safe driving, that would be understandable. But listening to the Highway Patrol say that large vehicle drivers were not at fault because they had a blind spot, is an inequality I don't accept. Everyone on the roads should be held to the same standards.
    NC, if your Dad ever drove out here in the urban areas of California, and didn't have an accident, then he REALLY is a good driver.
    Last edited by Dchiefransom; 10-28-04 at 08:50 PM.

  23. #23
    No pain, no gain. PainTrain's Avatar
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    My dad also drove OTR. He died over 20 years ago, but I remember him saying that it didn't matter whether he was 'held responsible' or not, if he was in an accident he could forget about being hired to drive by anyone (he wasn't interested in owner-operator). That was why he didn't trust 'four-wheelers'; auto drivers might do anything. Semi drivers are pros.

    His usual route was L.A. to Miami.

  24. #24
    N_C
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
    Reread my post, the one you quoted. I did not mean to say they were not responsible drivers. I should have said that many times they are not HELD responsible for accidents that happen when someone is in their blind spot, while I would be. If these statements I hear were only a warning for safe driving, that would be understandable. But listening to the Highway Patrol say that large vehicle drivers were not at fault because they had a blind spot, is an inequality I don't accept. Everyone on the roads should be held to the same standards.
    NC, if your Dad ever drove out here in the urban areas of California, and didn't have an accident, then he REALLY is a good driver.

    You're right about the fact that at times truck & farm equipment drivers are not held responsible. In other areas that probably happens more often then not. But any motorist, no matter what kind of vehicle they are driving should be held responsible in how they operate it. But keep in mind that no matter how responsible & safe a motorist is someone else could still be at fault for an accident. In this case of the Ames cyclist it seems there were a lot of variables involved with the cause. And it is difficult to pin point who & what is exactly at fault for it. In fact I'd almost be inclined to believe that everyone involved & the weather combined are all at fault in some way. It was a case of all of these elements coming together in such a pattern to cause the accident. So not anyone one person or thing is totally at fault for this tragic event. If that is the case & not anyone person or thing is at total fault then what happens now?

    This could be looked at in a triangular pattern, take anyone one of the 3 sides away & the accident could not have occured. The 3 factors are the cyclist, the truck towing the grain trailers & the high winds. Take any one of these 3 away & the cyclist would probably be alive today. Ever hear of the fire triangle? Where it takes 3 things to cause & start a fire. By removing just one of them it is impossible to do have a fire. This is a similar situation with this tragic & sad accident.

    My father has driven in all of the lower 48 states, in which he drove through a lot of urban areas in the cities. As well as Canada & Mexico.

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