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  1. #1
    Senior Member spunkyj's Avatar
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    Cyclist killed in Toronto

    A cyclist was the victim of a right hook by a truck today.

    Both cyclist and truck were turning right onto Dundas from Sterling Rd (see the Google map photo I've attached: Dundas is the street with the bike lane).

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toront...struck578.html

    The only comments from Police are that the truck was close to the curb, and so the cyclist wouldn't have had much room to pass. There is no other information, and it's not clear to me that the cyclist was the one overtaking.

    From the Toronto star photo ( http://www.thestar.com/news/article/...-and-lansdowne) the cyclist appears to have been hit on or behind the stop line at the very beginning of the turn.

    If this is a case of a cyclist overtaking a truck, then it is probably avoidable. If it's the other way around, there probably isn't much the cyclist could have done. Thoughts?
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  2. #2
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spunkyj View Post
    If this is a case of a cyclist overtaking a truck, then it is probably avoidable. If it's the other way around, there probably isn't much the cyclist could have done. Thoughts?
    There is plenty a cyclist could have done. First of all, if operating in traffic, use a mirror. If you see that a truck puts its right blinker on, there are lots of options. Depending on relative speeds, a cyclist can take the lane and let the truck wait behind him, or slow down enough that the truck will complete the turn before the cyclist gets there. Either one is an option as long as the cyclist knows the truck is approaching.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

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    Senior Member spunkyj's Avatar
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    ^But there's a stop sign, so if the cyclist was in front, and got to the stop first she would have proceeded into the turn, expecting the truck to come to a full stop behind her. What can the cyclist do if she's started her turn, and then the truck decides to turn at the same time?

    For what it's worth, I have trouble reading car signals from my helmet mirror--In fact in downtown traffic I find the mirror more distracting than anything, and have stopped using it...

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    Resident smartass. Fargo Wolf's Avatar
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    What the story doesn't say is, is what kind of truck. Was it a straight truck? Was said truck towing a trailer? Was it an articulated truck(AKA semi truck)? If it was the latter two, then it could very likely be driver error, as the driver didn't swing wide enough to make the turn.

    Dundas is the through street, so both driver and cyclist would have been facing a stop sign.

    Google Street View:
    Sterling@ Dundas:
    http://maps.google.ca/?ll=43.650772,...205.19,,0,4.78

    Dundas, looking at Sterling:
    http://maps.google.ca/?ll=43.650586,...325.07,,0,8.64

    Spunky: That's why you should also shoulder check, in addition to using a mirror.
    Last edited by Fargo Wolf; 11-07-11 at 04:35 PM.

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    Senior Member spunkyj's Avatar
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    In complete agreement about the shoulder check. But my feeling is that I'm safer depending only on the shoulder check, without the distracting helmet mirror. Perhaps with a handlebar mirror I'd feel differently...

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    Resident smartass. Fargo Wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spunkyj View Post
    In complete agreement about the shoulder check. But my feeling is that I'm safer depending only on the shoulder check, without the distracting helmet mirror. Perhaps with a handlebar mirror I'd feel differently...
    That's what I have on my bike, is a handlebar mirror.

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    If I didn't see so many people ride their bikes to the right of stopped vehicles, i would be a lot more willing to blindly condemn the truck driver. OTOH, I'm sure truck drivers have been at fault in these types of accidents. I would really like to know how this happens, I don't think I've been in a situation where it was possible.

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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Something fails me here.......how is it that a right-hook ultimately resulting in death(but hopefully not), can actually be called a 'collision'? When it was not head-on or a t-bone. Also, How does referring to it that way, benefit cycling at large, when the death in question, is another example of a motorist not paying attention. Cyclists' don't appear out of thin air. It is not like cyclists' have a 'mobile' transporter like the one in Star Trek to beam them into situations where death and the driver saying 'I didn't see her/him' is imminent. Situations like this(and many more) are tantamount to riding a 'ghost bike', before the fact. Also a motorist with a 'me first' attitude.

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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spunkyj View Post
    In complete agreement about the shoulder check. But my feeling is that I'm safer depending only on the shoulder check, without the distracting helmet mirror. Perhaps with a handlebar mirror I'd feel differently...
    I also do not use a mirror. In addition, I am listening to the traffic, to hear if there is traffic behind me.

  10. #10
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    There is plenty a cyclist could have done. First of all, if operating in traffic, use a mirror. If you see that a truck puts its right blinker on, there are lots of options. Depending on relative speeds, a cyclist can take the lane and let the truck wait behind him, or slow down enough that the truck will complete the turn before the cyclist gets there. Either one is an option as long as the cyclist knows the truck is approaching.
    The operative phrase is "could have done". That definitely doesn't mean any suggestions could have been utilized. The OP links don't mention who was at the turn first. If it was the truck, then the cyclist made a fatal error trying to turn with the truck next to them. If the cyclist was at the turn first and the truck tried to pass the cyclist during the turn, then the driver should be remanded to jail pending a trial for voluntary manslaughter.

    Also, I never use a mirror in traffic(or not in traffic). I only use my eyes n' ears.

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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    My guess:

    The cyclist is heading up hill, so it is NOT likely she caught the truck and was trying to pass it.

    Likely the cyclist stopped or slowly rolled the stop sign before the truck got there. The truck driver may have seen the cyclist as he approached, but seeing her start her turn, he assumed she would be out of his was as he reached the stop sign WHILE LOOKING LEFT for his chance to make the turn. Seeing he had a clear way from left traffic, he made his turn without ever trying to check where the cyclist was during his turn.
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    Senior Member spunkyj's Avatar
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    CB HI: I agree that it sounds fishy that the cyclist was the one trying to overtake (as all the media here seem to assume).

    She was a mother with an empty child trailer, which makes it seem unlikely to me that she would be trying to squeeze into a small space.

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    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    My guess:

    The cyclist is heading up hill, so it is NOT likely she caught the truck and was trying to pass it.

    Likely the cyclist stopped or slowly rolled the stop sign before the truck got there. The truck driver may have seen the cyclist as he approached, but seeing her start her turn, he assumed she would be out of his was as he reached the stop sign WHILE LOOKING LEFT for his chance to make the turn. Seeing he had a clear way from left traffic, he made his turn without ever trying to check where the cyclist was during his turn.
    this seems to be a credible guess. I'm not sure about the traffic culture there, but around here there is some likelihood a driver would have rolled that stop sign at speed if there was no traffic to the left

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    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    Something fails me here.......how is it that a right-hook ultimately resulting in death(but hopefully not), can actually be called a 'collision'? When it was not head-on or a t-bone. Also, How does referring to it that way, benefit cycling at large, when the death in question, is another example of a motorist not paying attention. Cyclists' don't appear out of thin air. It is not like cyclists' have a 'mobile' transporter like the one in Star Trek to beam them into situations where death and the driver saying 'I didn't see her/him' is imminent. Situations like this(and many more) are tantamount to riding a 'ghost bike', before the fact. Also a motorist with a 'me first' attitude.
    Tell me about it. Tonight I after I passed a stopped bus, I had a car coming out of a side street pull out and stop short to avoid hitting me. Then expects me to continue as if they weren't there. This is like the third or fourth time this has happened to me. Every time it has happened I've waved them on.
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    I think the police suggestions of the trailer being a factor is probably on to something.
    Lots of police in Toronto bike as part of their job and thus likely have a good idea of how to ride and where the dangerous areas are.
    I have only ridden with a trailer once, and was surprised how different the bike handled.
    If (and this is of course hypothetical) this lady was new to the trailer I could easily see her thinking she had room to make a right turn around the truck (which is still dangerous but possible) the trailer could have widened her normal turning radius and caused her to veer into the truck.
    It takes two to collide but I would think the cyclist either didn't position herself well or tried to sneak beside.
    There are also rail trails very close to that spot which create sort of an artificial intersection. But the reports seem to be they were travelling on the same rode so that doesn't seem to be a factor.
    Either way I am with the police statement that it should have been preventable.

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    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    Just horrible.

    Beside a turning truck is a bad place for any vehicle to be. Even with the best, most professional driver, there are considerable blind spots around a truck, and they take up a lot of space when they turn.

    Years ago driving in Kentucky I approached an intersection where a truck was in the L lane. I started to go past him on the right when I realized he was starting a turn R. I stopped, with plenty of room I thought, but the rear of his trailer clipped the bumper of my car. He was apologetic but I figured it was my fault...he had been signalling, I just thought he had the wrong signal on. Lesson learned, at the expense of a bent bumper on an old Toyota--pretty cheap.

    There's a ghost bike near the school our kids used to attend, and I remember the day ten or so years ago when I was on my way to pick them up and saw the emergency vehicles gathered around. Young woman artist on her bike, crushed under the wheels of a turning truck. We drove by the ghost bike every weekday for years.

    Looking at the photos from the OP:

    Bike and truck had just come down a hill, and it's a sharp turn, more than 90 degrees. Truck would have been on the brakes coming down the hill for the stop. If it tried to slow-roll the stop sign, it would have been very slow indeed. This makes it unlikely that the truck overtook the cyclist.

    How long would it have taken the cyclist to go around that sharp bend? A lot less time than for the truck to come up behind and negotiate the turn.

    OTOH as someone noted above, cyclists frequently filter up on the R, even past vehicles signalling a turn. That happens frequently here in Chicago at least, I routinely see it. A cyclist seeing a truck starting a very slow R turn and not accounting for how the trailer is going to turn could easily think they have an opening to get past.
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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    My guess:

    The cyclist is heading up hill, so it is NOT likely she caught the truck and was trying to pass it.

    Likely the cyclist stopped or slowly rolled the stop sign before the truck got there. The truck driver may have seen the cyclist as he approached, but seeing her start her turn, he assumed she would be out of his was as he reached the stop sign WHILE LOOKING LEFT for his chance to make the turn. Seeing he had a clear way from left traffic, he made his turn without ever trying to check where the cyclist was during his turn.
    Unless there was more traffic on the road they were turning onto, and the truck had to wait for it to clear. Then she could have caught him. That's a long 5 ton truck, and a good reason for a cyclist to take the lane whether in front of, or behind it.
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    Senior Member Cyclomania's Avatar
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    Here in Portland OR a cyclist was killed a few years ago when she stopped along side a cement truck waiting for a signal. When the light turned green she went forward, he turned right. A quick and sorry death followed. People on the side walk yelled out to him but he did not hear them in time. I can't imagine how I'd have felt after running someone over with my cement truck.
    Last edited by Cyclomania; 11-08-11 at 06:37 PM.
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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    cyclist-jenna-morrison-was-a-yoga-teacher-dancer-mom

    The truck driver is responsible, irregardless of how a cyclists got there, they are responsible for turning safely and making sure they don't run something or some person over with the inside corner of the truck.

    Always check your blindspots before turning the wheel.

  20. #20
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Today as I was biking home from an appointment, I was passed extremely close, and the first thing that flashed in my mind, was what happened to the cyclist mentioned by the OP. I know she was pulling a trailer. But I started to wonder what would have happened if the motorist that passed me, would have done something like the deceased cyclist.
    Last edited by Chris516; 11-08-11 at 07:20 PM.

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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Let us consider and clear up some things:

    1. She was riding uphill and had a right hand bend just before the stop sign (follow the street view up the road).
    http://g.co/maps/894je

    2. There was no wide hard to handle trailer. She had an unloaded trail-a-bike. Something that she is use to hauling a bouncing 5 year old boy on, but this day was unloaded. Little difference from riding without it.

    3. She is a 38 year old expecting mother. They do not ride like 20 something guys racing around trying to beat a large truck through a bend and turn uphill.
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    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    I stand corrected. There is a short slight uphill slope before the stop sign on Sterling Rd...after a long gradual descent.

    Aside from that I'm not going to speculate on something horrible that happened to an undeserving person. Several of them, actually.
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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    For those of you who are curious there is a set of photo here. The West toronto railpath(?) ends right there where the sign is.

    Accident and memorial

  24. #24
    commuter
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    I drive a charter bus for a living and would like to comment on what I as a commercial driver would be thinking if I had to take this turn.

    1. This is a tight turn less than 90 deg. I would probably hug the left side of the lane to have more room to turn right. This might invite a cyclist to pull up between me and the curb. I have already had cars do this and almost been in accidents.

    2. I may still have to take more then one lane to make the turn. So now I am waiting for traffic to clear left and right, taking my attention away from traffic behind me and giving the cyclist time to catch me. (If she was behind the truck)

    3. The little angle in the road just before the intersection is going to make the the blind spots in my mirrors even worse. There just isn't a good angle and big enough mirror.

    A couple of more thoughts: People that don't drive large vehicles often don't know how much room we need to make a turn. I have had passengers amazed I was able to make a turn when I thought I had plenty of room and disappointed when I can't because of a street sign, pole, or curb in the way. Also just because our front wheels made the turn 15-20 feet from the corner doesn't mean the back wheels aren't going to be inches away from it. Personally I give large vehicles plenty of room, I've seen what 12 tons of vehicle can do to other objects. And finally yes cyclist do appear out of thin air, they also vanish into thin air every now and again. Most of my near misses with bikes have been when I was pulling away from a stop and was looking in a mirror, I usually just catch a little bit of movement. (Please use lights at night it really helps.)

    I don't know who is to blame for this accident, there isn't enough information. I suspect both parties each did something to contribute, unfortunately it cost one of them their life.
    Driving a bus has probably made me a better cyclist in traffic and riding a bike has probably made me a more polite driver.

  25. #25
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zirger726 View Post
    I drive a charter bus for a living and would like to comment on what I as a commercial driver would be thinking if I had to take this turn.

    1. This is a tight turn less than 90 deg. I would probably hug the left side of the lane to have more room to turn right. This might invite a cyclist to pull up between me and the curb. I have already had cars do this and almost been in accidents.

    2. I may still have to take more then one lane to make the turn. So now I am waiting for traffic to clear left and right, taking my attention away from traffic behind me and giving the cyclist time to catch me. (If she was behind the truck)

    3. The little angle in the road just before the intersection is going to make the the blind spots in my mirrors even worse. There just isn't a good angle and big enough mirror.

    A couple of more thoughts: People that don't drive large vehicles often don't know how much room we need to make a turn. I have had passengers amazed I was able to make a turn when I thought I had plenty of room and disappointed when I can't because of a street sign, pole, or curb in the way. Also just because our front wheels made the turn 15-20 feet from the corner doesn't mean the back wheels aren't going to be inches away from it. Personally I give large vehicles plenty of room, I've seen what 12 tons of vehicle can do to other objects. And finally yes cyclist do appear out of thin air, they also vanish into thin air every now and again. Most of my near misses with bikes have been when I was pulling away from a stop and was looking in a mirror, I usually just catch a little bit of movement. (Please use lights at night it really helps.)

    I don't know who is to blame for this accident, there isn't enough information. I suspect both parties each did something to contribute, unfortunately it cost one of them their life.
    Driving a bus has probably made me a better cyclist in traffic and riding a bike has probably made me a more polite driver.
    While I have never driven a motorized vehicle, my dream growing up as a little kid was to be a long-haul truck driver. I recall trucks having the warning on them about, making wide right turns. There is at least one turn, if I choose to take that route, where I would have to make a wide right turn on my bike( just like a truck or bus) in an effort to maintain speed so I am not slowing up traffic behind me. That same turn is part of one of the local bus routes and I see them having to make a wide right turn often.

    The accident in question, sounds somewhat similar to what I did back in 1981 when I was only 14. I made a right-turn at the same time as an elderly lady. Either she cut the turn too sharply and/or, I cut the turn too widely. The end result was, I ended up partially under her car, with my pedal digging into my foot. It hurt tremendously. I was screaming at the top of my lungs.

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