Cyclist killed at south Tempe intersection

preface: ALWAYS ride with the flow of traffic; even on the sidewalk…

A cyclist was killed Thursday (June 12, 2014) morning; at the intersection of Elliot Rd and Harl Dr. I learned his name only  by chance it was in a news story about bicycling and Rural Road: Jesus Pena-Quinonez, age 55.

Here is the entire ABC15 news blurb:

TEMPE, AZ – A bicyclist was killed in a collision with a semi-truck in Tempe Thursday morning.

Tempe police Sgt. Mike Pooley said the bicyclist was traveling eastbound on the north side of Elliot Road, against traffic, when a semi making a right turn from Harl onto Elliot Road to head westbound hit him.

Pooley said there was no impairment on the part of the truck driver and he is not being cited or charged with anything.

The name of the victim has not been released.

Here is the approximate view from an counter-flow, eastbound cyclist’s perspective at Elliot and Harl.

It seems to me the police are avoiding the entire sticky issue of motorists apparently not looking both ways when stopped at red signals. I say that because the signal is not even mentioned; yet it should be a critical piece. The news article states cyclist had been riding counter-flow(i would surmise, but they didn’t say, on the sidewalk); entered the crosswalk; and was struck when the driver of the semi made a right turn on red (which is yet another surmise; since the police didn’t even mention that there is a signal there).

It is illegal for bicyclists to ride on sidewalks counter-flow, per City of Tempe ordinance; there is, however, no city or state law regarding use of crosswalks (in either direction)[BUT SEE COMMENT BELOW]. Drivers wishing to make a right-on-red must “…yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic proceeding as directed by the signal” 28-645(3)b.

Phew, that was a lot of surmising; I will update as actual facts become available (if they ever do; these types of crashes tend to just be forgotten).

The dynamics of this crash may be identical to another Tempe fatality that occurred 10/3/2013 at University Dr and Smith Rd; adot incident 2768355. The cyclist was faulted for “Other” and no fault went to the driver. Yet there is a signal there — what, no one violated the signal?

New tag: right-turn-on-red error to conglomerate all potential crashes of this type. Just this year (2/14/2014) there was another in Yuma, Another one I know of is this 10/9/2009 fatality at I-10 exit ramp with semi-truck; no specific article but all 2009 fatalities were reported here.


This is adot incident=2852553.

The location seems to me to be clearly within the City of Tempe. The coding as to city, and ncics is 115 / 729 / 739 which translates to City: Guadalupe / Officer NCIC: Tempe / Extended NCIC: Guadalupe.

I would have expected coding would be:  295 / 729 / 729; Tempe / Tempe / Tempe.

(and that reminds me I don’t think i ever understood where the two different ncic’s come from: the crash form seems to only have one field, here is what the crash form manual p.15 says:  box 1e – NCIC No. – Enter the four digit National Crime Information Center number of the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction of the crash scene.)

There are a handful of what would seem otherwise to be City of Tempe incidents that are coded the same way, mostly clustered on Elliot, from Harl to Priest.

As to the crash itself: the asdm data is all consistent with the news reports — and as expected the cyclist got dinged for DROVE RODE IN OPPOSING TRAFFIC LANE, which doesn’t really make any sense (a crosswalk has no direction; and a crosswalk is not a lane of traffic). The motorist got NO IMPROPER. It is not otherwise possible to know about the signal color; if the motorist had a red signal, the motorist should have gotten DISREGARDED SIGNAL behavior/violation.


There’s a major discrepancy with what’s in ASDM. According to ASDM the truck was turning right. According to FARS it was turning LEFT.

FARS case 40288 in year 2014.

pre-crash event P_CRASH1: 11 (Turning Left)
critical event  P_CRASH2: 83 (pedalcyclist)
avoid maneuver  P_CRASH3: 99 (unknown)

One thought on “Cyclist killed at south Tempe intersection”

  1. It was pointed out to me after I wrote this article that the City of Tempe has some, ahem, rather bicyclist UNfriendly laws, especially section 7-52(d):

    Sec. 7-52. Riding on sidewalks or bicycle lanes.
    (d) Any person riding a bicycle on a bikeway, sidewalk or bicycle path that is about to enter or cross a roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all traffic on such roadway.

    Does LAB know about this? How do you get to be silver BFC with laws like this one the books? That law says a bicyclist riding in a bike lane has the duty to yield to any and all turning traffic — Left cross, right hook, you name it, it’s your fault.
    It’s not clear to me what is meant by the term ‘bikeway’ in the Tempe city code; it’s probably just some sloppy drafting and another reason to avoid having city codes. The MUTCD says the definition is “Bikeway—a generic term for any road, street, path, or way that in some manner is specifically designated for bicycle travel, regardless of whether such facilities are designated for the exclusive use of bicycles or are to be shared with other transportation modes”. So, e.g. a bike lane is a bikeway. And a bike route (the green sign) is a bikeway.

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