Driver veers into Scottsdale Bike Lane; kills woman and injures man

2/18/2021 One bicyclist was killed and another injured and taken to hospital when a driver “veered” into a BL along Legacy Blvd, near scottsdale Road,  Scottsdale (here’s a sample google street view of the area; location not exact).

If any/all more serious criminal matters are ruled out; Scottsdale police should be aware the driver should be charged with 28-672 because a driver who fails to keep proper lane resulting in death/serious injury is liable for that charge.

I mention this because Scottsdale has a history of not bringing this charge, for example Shawn McCarty was killed in Scottsdale 3/11/2012 when a driver drifted over the stripe and killed him. The driver was only cited for a civil traffic ticket and fined $420, no 28-672 charge was brought. 28-672 is NOT a serious crime, rather, it gives a judge the option of bringing meaningful corrective action to the driver’s dangerous behaviors including license suspension and even (theoretically) some jail time.

The more-recent case of an SUV driver drifting over the fog line and killing a bicyclist, 48 y.o. Miodrag Milovanovic is apparently still open.


 

 

Scottsdale police identify cyclist killed by driver who swerved into bike lane

Scottsdale police have identified a bicyclist who was killed Thursday as Ann Theil, 75…. Theil and another cyclist were riding in a bike lane on Legacy Boulevard near Scottsdale Road when a 21-year-old driver veered into the lane and struck them, according to Scottsdale police…

Crash Report

The SPD Dept Report number is 21-03335. It’s expected to be available approx 3/10. I will order a copy.

12 thoughts on “Driver veers into Scottsdale Bike Lane; kills woman and injures man”

  1. I know you said the Google Street View was not exact, but that doesn’t look like a bike lane but rather a shoulder. In Arizona, can a motorist be charged with a 28-672 as you suggested for riding in the shoulder?

    I’m not excusing the motorist, but would the cyclists have been better off taking the whole lane? Was there a car coming the other direction when the motorist hit the cyclists? If there was, riding in the lane might have prevented the accident. Otherwise, the motorist should have slowed down until s/he was able to move to the other lane. That’s one of the most common mistakes motorists make: trying to squeeze by.

  2. Hi Bob,
    It does appear to be a fully designated BL, see e.g. here
    https://goo.gl/maps/q8sNPAGUqACWdDWM8
    with both BL signs and ground markings.
    Either way, the predicate violation “failure to maintain proper lane” applies irrespective of bike lane or shoulder.
    Put another way; any time a motorist strikes from behind, the motorist can be liable for a 28-672 (when it results in death or serious injury) charge unless the motorist and bicyclist are both in the same lane. (where other rules apply, e.g. 3 foot clearance; too fast for conditions).
    Whether or not a bicyclist would be better off in the general travel lane in this situation is more or less impossible to predict; we’ll know more after the investigation. The term “veer” conjures up some sort of sudden uncontrolled movement, as opposed to , say, “drift”; and neither implies a squeezing / lack of space. But it’s a lot of speculation given the small amount of details that were given in the news report.

  3. Now that I look at the original Street View shot you posted I realize it was a divided highway, so my comment about squeezing by would only be germane if the motorist was being passed. Instead of slowing down, s/he may have tried to maintain his position in the lane and got to close. Or as you suggest, may have simply got distracted.

    Here in Florida, the police would have reported something to the effect that the “cyclists entered into the path of the vehicle.” I often wonder in these such cases, how police can determine whether the cyclists veered out of the bike lane or the motorist veered into the bike lane.

    I wish we had a 28-672 in Fla. There’s no doubt that here, the motorist would walk away with only a fine, unless s/he was impaired.

    I’m on a bit of a crusade here with my local Tampa Bay Times re its reporting of bike/ped crashes, as they make many of the usual mistakes. Noting the original report for this crash:

    “A vehicle collided with two bicyclists in Scottsdale on Thursday, leaving one injured and one dead.”

    No, it was a motorist who hit the cyclists. A vehicle doesn’t have a mind of its own.

    Then, the article tries to paint the driver as sympathetic:

    “The driver stayed on the scene and was cooperative with investigators, according to police. The driver was not speeding or impaired.” How do they know the driver wasn’t speeding?

    S/he may not have been, but s/he was careless and indifferent to the lives of vulnerable road users.

    This was nice to see, however:

    “The Scottsdale Police Department Reminds drivers to remain alert for cyclists and leave 3 feet between cyclists and their vehicle.”

  4. Research here in the U.S. is starting to show what they’ve know in places like Copenhagen and Amsterdam for decades. Painted bike lanes are actually more dangerous for cyclists – at least they often feel more dangerous. See this short video on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fztvoxj_pds

    I’d have to agree with the premise in the video. Drivers here in AZ shoot past me if I’m in a painted bike lane, coming very close, if not violating the safe passing distance. While on bike boulevards with sharrows, but no separate painted bike lane, I notice drivers tend to slow down and are more cautious in their passing.

    I think a road engineer from Copenhagen or Amsterdam would take one look at the road where the subject collision occurred and they would tell you it was: 1) all too predictable and, 2) made worse by how the road markings allocate a shoulder bike lane separate only by a stripe of paint.

  5. Agree. Drivers have the attitude that if they are in their lane and you are in yours, then all is copacetic, even if they pass with inches of you. You probably are aware of the Cycling Savvy folks, whose philosophy I embrace. cyclingsavvy.org

    I’d rather be on a four lane road taking the full lane–with or without sharrows, than be in a bike lane on a two-lane road with 11 ft. lanes.

    Worse still are two-lane roads with painted shoulder lines, which motorists and many police consider bike lanes and demand we be in them.

  6. After watching the video you posted, the narrator echos my thoughts on bike lanes. But a couple of other points:

    1. The bike lanes he was riding in had poor surfaces and, I would argue, unsafe.

    2. In the first section, he and the other cyclists were riding too far to the right, IMHO. They should be riding in the middle of the lanes to force motorists to wait until the adjacent lane was clear to pass.

  7. For several years now, we ride with cameras. My wife uses front and back Cycliq cameras. I use a front-facing GoPro. Both record traffic incidents (e.g., right hook at light, etc.), which we then upload and forward to authorities – gives us better ammunition to illustrate the problem. I have a standing request into my wife, if I get run over, grab the camera off my bike before checking for a pulse.

  8. Hopefully the police will find out what exactly happened! The driver of the car might have been looking at their phone right before the crash!

  9. I ride with the cyclic cameras too.

    We have to wait 60 days to get a crash report here in Florida. What’s the waiting. In Arizona, if any?

  10. As far as I know, there is no set period. The crash form itself is usually quicker than that. The full report, which is really what you need to look at if there’s anything questionable, can be much much longer

  11. Det. Paliwoda, [UPDATE: as things turn out, lead detective is Mark Johnson. See immediately below]

    In the event that a driver causes a crash and all more serious charges are ruled out —
    when a driver fails to maintain proper lane and a death or serious injury results; the offending driver should be charged with 28-672, a class 1 misdemeanor.

    Regarding the fatal traffic crash that occurred 2/18/2021 along Legacy Blvd in Scottsdale — I want to make sure you are aware of 28-672. I mention this not to tell you your business, but rather because a 3/11/2012 fatal incident that also occurred in Scottsdale under remarkably similar circumstances yielded nothing but two traffic infractions; the report makes no mention of 28-672 and leaves one to wonder why not.
    A more recent incident investigated by Det. Strohmeyer also has remarkable similarities and circumstances; and is recommending a 28-675 charge — the more serious version of 28-672 due to the suspect’s drivers license status.

    Regards,
    Ed Beighe
    President, Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists

    More information here:
    https://azbikelaw.org/driver-veers-into-scottsdale-bike-lane-kills-woman-and-injures-another/

    Ed,   Thank you for your concerns over this matter.  I am the lead case detective for the fatal traffic crash that occurred on 02/18/2021 at 0837 hours at 9700 E. Legacy.  My investigation is currently on-going and when it is completed I will be looking at all appropriate civil and criminal charges that may apply in this case.  Thank You.   
    Mark Johnson #585
    Scottsdale Police Department
    Vehicle Crimes and Reconstruction Unit

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