PHX bike ambassador dies after getting hit by drunk driver

Aug 20, 2021

Hans Hughes was very seriously injured last month after being struck at a downtown Phoenix intersection (1st and Filmore). He subsequently succumbed to injuries. Police say a drunk driver ran a red light, striking the bicyclist, and then fled the scene. He was later arrested…

This is fishy; where is the media and why don’t they ask questions?? “The identity of the suspect was not released” (KTAR). As of late September 24th??!! wtf? These are very serious criminal accusations, felony hit-and-run and (likely) manslaughter (blowing a red light and kill someone is also a misdemeanor);  someone has been arrested, why the secrecy?

Here’s what the ABC15 report said:

In August, a spokesperson for Phoenix police said the suspected driver ran a red light at First and Fillmore streets. That driver, who was not identified, was arrested and cited for DUI and failure to stop.

Update March 2022; we’re finally seeing some news reporting (but only from azcentral. Other outlets continue to miss this:

“Hughes was while biking home from work near First and Fillmore streets on the evening of Aug. 20. After several weeks in the hospital, Hughes died of his injuries on Sept. 21. Despite initially saying the driver had been issued citations for driving under the influence, Phoenix police as of Tuesday had not named the driver or announced an arrest in the case and have not explained why. ” — azcentral.com

As I said, Fishy.

Note to journalists and pedantic alert — it’s not usual to refer to any criminal offense as being given a citation. A citation is what is given for a civil offense; Criminal offenses are more correctly referred to as charges. Any form of DUI whether or not associated with causing injury is a criminal charge (and further may be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the situation); i.e. it’s not possible to get a “DUI citation”; so that would have been incorrect from the get-go.

Crash Report

Also, I just realized — there doesn’t appear to be a signal at 1st And Fillmore, it’s an all-way stop. Perhaps someone got mixed up between disregarding a stop sign vs. running a red light(?) and this wrong info got passed along to news media(?).

Anyway, see comment below for what is in crash database. There are other inconsistencies; I’m setting the “missing hit and run” tag.

Crash data in database indicates a straightforward, right angle crash at intersection of 1st and Fillmore.

 

Statistical minutia

Hans died on 9/21/2021; making it more than 30 days after the crash. For statistical purposes, this doesn’t “count” for fatality reporting purposes in the federal FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporing System)

“To be included in this census of crashes, a crash had to involve a motor vehicle traveling on a trafficway customarily open to the public, and must result in the death of a person (occupant of a vehicle or a nonmotorist) within 30 days of the crash.” from DOT HS 811 137.

.

Reconfiguring Filmore

The death of Hughes appears to be the primary motivating factor in reconfiguring Filmore (example: “Victory!…this is a community win that honors the loss of Hans Hughes…”); despite his crash being unrelated to having anything to do with a bike lane, “protected” or not. (Hughes was north on 1st, while the driver was west on Filmore)

Here is the city project page: www.phoenix.gov/streets/fillmore

Most of the distance, from 1st to 7th Street (a little less than 1/2 mile)  would have one travel lane removed that used to have Shared Lane Markings; to be replaced by a buffer bike lane with flex posts in the buffer. The few hundred feet from Central Ave to 1st St is more confusing; it’s much wider, and Filmore bends and shifts at Central.

Here’s a nice pic of newly painted BL and flexposts:

Fillmore bike lanes now open for pedaling from phoenix

 

 

6 thoughts on “PHX bike ambassador dies after getting hit by drunk driver”

  1. You are right to ask these questions. Too often, our local media fall down in doing their job when it comes to pedestrian and bicycle crashes.

  2. It would appear having a ‘protected’ bike lane, or not, the manner of crash would have been un-related to Hughes’ death; in other words, no barrier would have stopped it.

    https://twitter.com/phxspokespeople/status/1501284284623048707
    “We’re going to get physically protected bike lanes from Central to 7th Street on Fillmore. This is where Hans Hughes was hit, and later died”

    https://www.abc15.com/news/operation-safe-roads/more-protected-bike-lanes-coming-to-downtown-phoenix
    “We mobilized and said, ‘Hey, this is a bicycle boulevard. Let’s put in protection where we know people have been hit and now killed,'” says Ryan Boyd, president of Urban Phoenix Project.

  3. I can’t come to that conclusion. I think the addition of barriers protecting bike lanes (even at intersections, where they are often terminated with special signing and pavement markings such as green boxes) make a difference. I think they always help – whether the barrier is made up of plastic delineators (pylons that would not stop a vehicle) or a concrete “Jersey” barrier that could make a real difference – even with a drunk driver. Physical barriers alert drivers, even impaired drivers, that something is different. That they don’t own the road.

  4. @Augsburg — it would depend on the manner of collision; barrier-protected bike lanes protect only against same-direction (or possibly wrong direction) motor traffic going straight ahead and a bicyclist is also going straight ahead… and not when turning and not at intersections.
    I’ll find out more about this particular crash from the crash database probably within a couple of days. FINALLY (this crash happened over 6 months ago!) a news report (the Arizona Republic; none of the others, 12new, abc15, etc) leaked out some tell-tale info, this is all very irregular and probably indicated “problems” with the criminal end of things(?).

    “Hughes was while biking home from work near First and Fillmore streets on the evening of Aug. 20. After several weeks in the hospital, Hughes died of his injuries on Sept. 21. Despite initially saying the driver had been issued citations for driving under the influence, Phoenix police as of Tuesday had not named the driver or announced an arrest in the case and have not explained why. ”
    https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2022/03/08/phoenix-adding-protected-bike-lanes-after-death-beloved-cyclist/9425254002/

  5. 2021-08-20 ; ADOT incident = 3809762

    Crash data in database indicates a straightforward, right angle crash at intersection of 1st and Fillmore.
    Motorist: WB on Fillmore; “DISREGARDED_TRAFFIC_SIGNAL”(6) and FTY . The unit table seems to correctly indicate that both units had a stop sign (it’s an all-way stop according to google street view). The correct violation was presumable “RAN STOP SIGN” (5), which happens to be right next to that one the crash form so perhaps just a coding error that got circulated in the news media?
    Bicyclist: NB on 1st St; violation “unknown” (that’s not really unusual)

    The Hit and run flag is NOT set (why?)
    And none of the suspected Alcohol, or testing flags are set (why?)

    In addition to the 29 y.o. male driver, there was also a 27 y.o. female passenger. The vehicle was a grey Nissan hatchback.
    Officer-estimated speed of the vehicle was 15 mph (this doesn’t really mean much).

    The crash report was received by ADOT on 2021-09-09 . That would be unusually quick for a crash report where criminality is suspected. I have a suspicion that police treat non-fatal — despite being obviously very serious injury — collision investigations differently (less diligently) than known fatals. The victim in this case died several weeks later. (just to be clear: the crash report, and the police investigation are not necessarily connected; a criminal investigation/case can, and probably is, “open”; and corrections can and should be made to the database, although i have no idea how that process works?).

    Here is a full dump of 3809762

    
    *************************** 1. row ***************************
                     IncidentID: 3809762
                      Microfilm: 0
               ADOTReceivedDate: 2021-09-09 00:00:00
                         Status: 200
               DataConv2008Flag: 0
                   IncidentDate: 2021-08-20
               IncidentDateTime: 2021-08-20 22:50:00
                   IncidentYear: 2021
                  IncidentMonth: 8
              IncidentDayOfWeek: 6
                   IncidentHour: 22
                    OfficerNcic: 723
                      OfficerId: 0
                     FileNumber: 202101300036
                   ExtendedNcic: 723
            DamageOverLimitFlag: 0
                PhotosTakenFlag: 0
               PhotographerName: 
                 PhotographerID: 0
             PhotographerAgency: 
        InvestigatedAtSceneFlag: 0
           DateTimeInvestigated: NULL
                CollisionManner: ANGLE_FRONT_TO_SIDE
                 LightCondition: DARK_LIGHTED
              FirstHarmfulEvent: PEDALCYCLE
           FirstHarmfulLocation: BAD_VALUE_0
                     TotalUnits: 2
                 TotalMotorists: 2
              TotalNonMotorists: 1
                  TotalInjuries: 1
                TotalFatalities: 0
         TotalMotoristsInjuries: 2
      TotalNonMotoristsInjuries: 1
       TotalMotoristsFatalities: 0
    TotalNonMotoristsFatalities: 0
                 InjurySeverity: 4
           MedicalTransportFlag: 0
              FatalAccidentFlag: 0
                    TowAwayFlag: 0
                  NscReportable: BAD_VALUE_0
           SchoolBusRelatedFlag: 0
            WorkZoneRelatedFlag: 0
             WorkersPresentFlag: 0
         AlcoholInvolvementFlag: 1
            DrugInvolvementFlag: 0
                  HazardousFlag: 0
                  HitAndRunFlag: 0
                         OnRoad: 07  FILLMORE            ST      
                CrossingFeature: 1st St
                         Offset: 0
             OffsetMeasuredFlag: 0
                     OffsetUnit: 0
                          MPNum: 0
                       MPOffset: 0
                         CityId: 214
                       CountyId: 13
                        StateId: 3
                      StateCode: AZ
                    CountryCode: 
                       Latitude: 33.4545008881092
                      Longitude: -112.072568123712
              ValidLocationFlag: 1
            LocationToolVersion: 
            HESIntersectionFlag: 0
               IntersectionFlag: 1
            IntersectionRouteID: 0
           IntersectionATISCode: 
                 TrafficWayType: TWO_WAY_NOT_DIVIDED
               IntersectionType: NOT_REPORTED_255
               JunctionRelation: 
                        Weather: 
        PropertyDamageOwnerCode: 
         PropertyDamageDescCode: 0
    *************************** 1. row ***************************
             IncidentID: 3809762
                 UnitID: 2007692587
             UnitNumber: 1
               PersonID: 2011074482
           PersonNumber: 1
             PersonType: DRIVER
                ZipCode: 0
                    Age: 29
                    Sex: M
           SeatPosition: 11
           SafetyDevice: SHOULDER_AND_LAP_BELT
                 Airbag: 
           InjuryStatus: UNKNOWN_99
               Ejection: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
             Extraction: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
    NonMotoristLocation: NOT_REPORTED_255
         AlcoholUseFlag: 0
              BACResult: 0
              TestTypeA: NO_TEST_0
            DrugUseFlag: 0
               DrugType: BAD_VALUE_0
              TestTypeD: 0
        TransportSource: NOT_TRANSPORTED_0
          TransportedTo: 
             InjuryArea: 0
             InjuryDesc: 0
             Violation1: DISREGARDED_TRAFFIC_SIGNAL
             Violation2: FAILED_TO_YIELD_RIGHT_OF_WAY_103
    *************************** 2. row ***************************
             IncidentID: 3809762
                 UnitID: 2007692587
             UnitNumber: 1
               PersonID: 2011075010
           PersonNumber: 2
             PersonType: PASSENGER
                ZipCode: 0
                    Age: 27
                    Sex: F
           SeatPosition: 13
           SafetyDevice: SHOULDER_AND_LAP_BELT
                 Airbag: 
           InjuryStatus: UNKNOWN_99
               Ejection: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
             Extraction: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
    NonMotoristLocation: NOT_REPORTED_255
         AlcoholUseFlag: 0
              BACResult: 0
              TestTypeA: NO_TEST_0
            DrugUseFlag: 0
               DrugType: BAD_VALUE_0
              TestTypeD: 0
        TransportSource: NOT_TRANSPORTED_0
          TransportedTo: 
             InjuryArea: 0
             InjuryDesc: 0
             Violation1: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
             Violation2: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
    *************************** 3. row ***************************
             IncidentID: 3809762
                 UnitID: 2007692588
             UnitNumber: 2
               PersonID: 2011074483
           PersonNumber: 1
             PersonType: PEDALCYCLIST
                ZipCode: 0
                    Age: 43
                    Sex: M
           SeatPosition: 255
           SafetyDevice: HELMET_USED
                 Airbag: 
           InjuryStatus: INCAPACITATING_INJURY
               Ejection: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
             Extraction: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
    NonMotoristLocation: 
         AlcoholUseFlag: 0
              BACResult: 0
              TestTypeA: NO_TEST_0
            DrugUseFlag: 0
               DrugType: BAD_VALUE_0
              TestTypeD: 0
        TransportSource: NOT_TRANSPORTED_0
          TransportedTo: 
             InjuryArea: 0
             InjuryDesc: 0
             Violation1: UNKNOWN_99
             Violation2: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
    *************************** 1. row ***************************
           IncidentID: 3809762
               UnitID: 2007692587
           UnitNumber: 1
             UnitType: DRIVER
      TravelDirection: WEST
        RoadAlignment: STRAIGHT
            RoadGrade: LEVEL
                 Lane: LANE_1
           UnitAction: GOING_STRAIGHT_AHEAD
     MostHarmfulEvent: BAD_VALUE_0
        HitAndRunFlag: 0
       RoadCondition1: NO_CONTRIBUTING_CIRCUMSTANCES
       RoadCondition2: NO_CONTRIBUTING_CIRCUMSTANCES
    EnvConditionDesc1: No Contributing Circumstances
    EnvConditionDesc2: 
     VehicleStateCode: AZ
              RegYear: 1
        BodyStyleDesc: Passenger 5Dhb Hatchback 5 Dr
             MakeDesc: Niss Nissan
            ColorDesc: GRY_GRAY
              BusFlag: 0
             GVWRFlag: 0
           HazmatFlag: 0
          PostedSpeed: 30
       EstimatedSpeed: 15
         DisabledFlag: 0
           DamageArea: NONE_0
          DefectDesc1: No Contributing Circumstances
          DefectDesc2: 
       EventSequence1: PEDALCYCLE
       EventSequence2: BLANK_0
       EventSequence3: BLANK_0
       EventSequence4: BLANK_0
          ControlType: STOP_SIGNS
    SurfaceCondition1: DRY
    *************************** 2. row ***************************
           IncidentID: 3809762
               UnitID: 2007692588
           UnitNumber: 2
             UnitType: PEDALCYCLIST
      TravelDirection: NORTH
        RoadAlignment: STRAIGHT
            RoadGrade: LEVEL
                 Lane: LANE_1
           UnitAction: GOING_STRAIGHT_AHEAD
     MostHarmfulEvent: BAD_VALUE_0
        HitAndRunFlag: 0
       RoadCondition1: NO_CONTRIBUTING_CIRCUMSTANCES
       RoadCondition2: NO_CONTRIBUTING_CIRCUMSTANCES
    EnvConditionDesc1: No Contributing Circumstances
    EnvConditionDesc2: 
     VehicleStateCode: NA
              RegYear: 0
        BodyStyleDesc: Invalid
             MakeDesc: Invalid
            ColorDesc: 
              BusFlag: 0
             GVWRFlag: 0
           HazmatFlag: 0
          PostedSpeed: 0
       EstimatedSpeed: 0
         DisabledFlag: 0
           DamageArea: NONE_0
          DefectDesc1: 
          DefectDesc2: 
       EventSequence1: MOTOR_VEHICLE_IN_TRANSPORT
       EventSequence2: BLANK_0
       EventSequence3: BLANK_0
       EventSequence4: BLANK_0
          ControlType: STOP_SIGNS
    SurfaceCondition1: DRY
  6. Yes, here in the U.S. the thought is barrier-protected bike lanes protect from same direction crashes. That said, America’s conventional “wisdom” is not subscribed to in more advance countries where the rates of crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists are much, much lower.

    We, here in North America, having been looking at the problem all wrong. Ages ago, Dutch and Danish road designers learned you do NOT mix cars and bikes UNLESS you treat the car as the interloper. For example, when a driver in a car crosses a bike plane at an intersection, the bike lane might be raised (like a speed table), letting the driver know they are to cautiously cross the cyclists path. Here in North America, we do the opposite, we treat the bicyclist as the unwanted guest – with devastating effect.

    More and more in the U.S., experts in cities and counties have learned that in good road design, you need to focus on sending a message (in how the road is designed) to drivers that they are the ones responsible for the safety of everyone around them. Road design elements such as protected lanes, road diets, etc. This notion of “message” becomes so obvious, when you ride a bike in places like Amsterdam or Copenhagen (both places that still have lots of cars). When you ride there, it is like, what could we Americans be thinking of with our road design?!

    Anyway, my point is that the actual effect of barrier-protected lanes goes far beyond preventing same-direction crashes. They send a message to drivers. I believe it is well established that if you send the right message to drivers, they respond accordingly.

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