Interesting discussion on this crash. One of the QCB Board Members contacted me around 8am to tell me about the crash... a few minutes later he said the fellow had died. The crash site is a few miles from my home and he indicated police were still on scene, so I grabbed my camera gear, hopped on the Big Bike and rode down. I was able to shoot a number of pix from behind the police tape... later in the day, a few of us returned to the scene to place some flowers and look at the total scene. I didn't measure it off but the total distance of police paint [orange] was at least 50 yards. Most of the orange paint was right around the white line or to the right of the white line. I'm drafting a blog post on my ohiobikelawyer.com page which will probably go up later tonight or tomorrow for sure with additional photos.
Some "facts" and factors, from what I've been able to figure out or read about
1. Crash was around 615 am - so lights legally required. It appears the rider had lights but we're waiting for the official police report. Also, in addition to pre-dawn light, there were two large streetlights in the area which would have spread large cones of light at the scene of the impact. If the cyclist did NOT have lights I think we would have heard about it -
2. This is an extremely well used area of town for cycling. My understanding is that the motorist was on his way to work and probably drove this every day. If so, he would know that cyclists use this stretch of roadway in the early hours. Not that this is any type of excuse or cause, it just a factor that would make it difficult to believe that the motorist would not be reasonably expecting folks to be riding that early.
3. Handicapped plates- I noted the same thing at the scene and discussed it with the newspaper photographer and one of the cops. No one knew anything... later that day, when we were there laying flowers, a guy jogged by. He said he worked with the motorist. Somebody asked about the plates, and the guy said the motorist had some sort of leg issues - no "impairment" from a driving perspective he felt.
4. What happened? To me, just looking at the scene, it appears that the motorist "didn't see" the bike/rider and just ran the guy down from behind. Speed differential had to be pretty big, I think, given the damage to the car and that fact that it killed the rider... from one news story I read, the rider was a big guy, like 6'2" - It appeared to me that he slid up the hood, hit the windshield with body and snapped his head back onto the roof, near the point where the three roof lines come together... a very strong point on the roof. You can see the indentation on the roof where his head clearly hit. There were "gouge" marks on the pavement which were highlighted by the orange paint - these were to the right of the white line. it appeared to me, from the marks and paint, that the point of impact was likely very very close to the white line, if not to the right of it...
5. Someone asked about the double yellow line - in 2006 we [Ohio Bicycle Federation] got many amendments passed relating to cycling. One was a change which permitted motorists to cross the double yellow under a particular set of circumstances, the key one being that the vehicle being passed was going half the speed limit or slower...
Hope that helps - I'll be posting a lot on this crash. CPD had its fancy CSI truck there with the super duper high def camera so there should be some interesting data to look at some day.
Originally Posted by Kurt Erlenbach
A few points. First, I made a mistake by pointing out the handicapped plate (though some of you certainly would have picked up on it yourselves). There is no evidence that this driver is handicapped, or if he is, whether the handicap contributed to the crash. Second, it apparently was early dawn and foggy at the time of the crash and while it probably was light enough to see if you were, say, jogging on the trail, it would have been neither safe nor legal to bike without lights. It is unclear whether Mr. Gast's lights were on, but I'd bet they were. Third, we all make mistakes while driving. 99+% of the time, nothing happens. For most of the remaining 1%, the result is bent sheet metal, maybe some whiplash, and a ticket. In only a tiny fraction of those mistakes is someone seriously hurt or killed. Whenever I get all high and mighty about bad drivers, I try to imagine how I would feel if one of my children were the driver. That tempers my judgment. Finally, crashes like this should keep no one from cycling, any more than a fatal car crash in the news should keep anyone from driving. This should be a learning experience for all of us, both in how we drive and how we ride. We can change what we ourselves do - we cannot change what others do, at least not by much. I've learned a lot from A&S about how to ride more safely and how to drive more safely. The best way to honor Mr. Gast is by learning from his death.