Wrong-way driver kills bicyclist on A-mountain

10/11/2018 Thursday “morning”; victim 71 y.o. bicyclist Rick Ellwanger
Driver arrested suspected impairment. Wrong-way; hit-and-run; additional pedestrian victims.

On Friday afternoon police identified the suspect as 20-year-old Yanibra Moreno saying she’s being held on susp of 2nd degree murder and leaving the scene.

No specific location was mentioned; here is generally what the road looks like. It’s narrow (ten feet or so) two-lane, posted ?mph (25?), the uphill at least in this location has a very narrow, varying paved shoulder, and the downhill generally doesn’t have any shoulder. This is probably intentional and allows / encourages better lane position on descending cyclists. UPDATE: it’s believed the crash occured on the portion of the road that is one lane (one way) with the driver going the wrong way; Most drivers driving the wrong way are impaired; as we’ve seen in the many high profile headon metro area freeway crashes.

There have been zero reported bike-MV crashes along the A-mountain road  in the period 2009-2017; so comments in the news reports, though understandable, are not based on experience or training. Only fear. “a Bike Brand ambassador, said. ‘The fear is real. As I stand out here talking to you, how close the cars come to us even standing here. There’s no lane. Cars drive at a pace that’s just scary… I have avoided riding this, even though I have numerous friends who ride this weekly, daily. It frightens me, so I have never attempted it’ ”

The scenario bears significant similarities to the death of Rob Dollar last year in Phoenix South Mountain park: a suspected impaired, wrong-way driver on a two-lane mountain road.

The uphill/downhill roles were reversed; Rob was killed while descending, Rick was killed ascending. This, along with the hit-and-run + additional pedestrian injuries caused, indicate the driver in the Tucson incident was beyond out-of-control. In the former case, the driver was in the opposing lane because she was (illegally) passing.

 

Bicyclist hit by car on ‘A’ Mountain dies

A bicyclist is dead after he was hit by a car on “A” Mountain Thursday morning.

Tucson Police say a 20-year-old woman hit a 73-year-old man riding the bike while driving the wrong way down the mountain and didn’t stop. She hit two more pedestrians on the way down the mountain, who suffered minor injuries, and still didn’t stop, police say.

When she finally made it to the parking lot, police say she lost control of her car and crashed into a boulder.

She was hospitalized with minor injuries, but the bicyclist suffered life-threatening injuries. He was rushed to Banner University Hospital where he died Thursday afternoon.

Police say there were signs that the driver of the vehicle was impaired. Police intend to book her in jail on second-degree murder charges, pending release from the hospital.

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Safety Review

A” Mountain is getting some attention.
https://www.kgun9.com/news/roads/new-safety-ideas-for-tucsons-a-mountain

In that article, there’s a link to a draft safety review https://ewscripps.brightspotcdn.com/b2/ad/292eb4c5467590d55f2e151d3304/sentinel-peak-road-safety-review-draft.pdf The draft doesn’t have a full-blown volume study, but it looks like the higher-use days (weekends) are on the order of 500 vehicles per day.

I am wondering of for the 2-way portion, it would be better to not have any centerline. This is a park access road, and not a mountain highway. It currently looks as though it’s striped double-yellow throughout. Although center lines may be used here, the extremely low volume falls below even the guidance for use.  See Section 3B.01 Yellow Center Line Pavement Markings and Warrants

Standard:
Center line markings shall be placed on all paved urban arterials and collectors that have a traveled way of 20 feet or more in width and an ADT of 6,000 vehicles per day or greater…

Guidance:
Center line markings should be placed on paved urban arterials and collectors that have a traveled way of 20 feet or more in width and an ADT of 4,000 vehicles per day or greater. Center line markings should also be placed on all rural arterials and collectors that have a traveled way of 18 feet or more in width and an ADT of 3,000 vehicles per day or greater. Center line markings should also be placed on other traveled ways where an engineering study indicates such a need.

The way the road is striped, there is no legal way for a driver of a motor vehicle (except perhaps a motorcyclist)  to pass a bicyclist. The lane is quite narrow, and motorists are required to pass safely with a minimum of 3 feet. There appears to be no way to do this within the very narrow lanes, even when a cyclist, though not legally required to, is riding as far right as practicable on the roadway.

Arizona law does not allow crossing over a solid centerline to pass a slower vehicle; even if it can be done safely. (this is a shortcoming in ARS, but there you have it).

Striping into lanes tends to breed a them vs. us, segregation attitude; a shared space, walkers/hikers/bicyclists/motorists promotes sharing and wide passing clearances rather than trying to squeeze into a lane.

If edge lines are helpful, they can be placed near the edges of the roadway — so as not to lend the illusion that there is bike lane.

 

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