Emergency Service

Bike Death Prompts Safety Reminder

Four years ago the GUARDIAN posted a story encouraging BIKE SAFETY and it is probably time for a re-run.

BIKE NERD with lights, reflective vest and helmet.

BIKE NERD with lights, reflective vest and helmet.

Thursday morning’s fatal accident which is possibly a hit and run (the driver may or may not have known) involving a bicycle at 30th and State is a reminder that cyclists need to have proper apparel and lights and obey the traffic laws. Motorists seldom wish to hit bikes, but with the two wheelers going every which way collisions are inevitable.

According to Boise coppers, the bike had front and rear reflectors, a headlamp and a flashing rear LED light. The rider, Victor Haskell, 53, died of blunt-force trauma, the Ada County coroner said. He apparently was not wearing a helmet according to reports.

Friends of the GUARDIAN (yes there are a few) have swapped stories all summer of near misses, bikes going the wrong direction in bike lanes, riders without lights wearing black clothing. Almost every event involved an adult on a bike, not a child riding inappropriately.

Thursdays tragic accident may have been caused by construction along the street, but it just may be time for coppers to haul out the ticket books for those two wheelers without lights riding at night and generally reckless pedaling. An LED light set costs about half the price of a traffic ticket.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. David B. Hall
    Sep 26, 2013, 8:25 pm

    As someone who has biked in Boise, everyday, year round since 2006 I can assure you, many of these bicycle vs. auto are due to inattentive drivers mixed with poorly designated bike lanes (like State Street and others).
    Lights and reflectors are not only a good idea, but necessary under the present bike laws. This still in no way excuses inattentive driving.

    Nor does it excuse the city planners for not having better bike lanes in these more heavily traveled areas.

    I rode my bike to work daily, up Broadway ave to the industrial park. Incredibly dangerous as I have to cross lanes of traffic twice to allow for that traffic to exit onto the interstate.

    There are zero bike lanes designated along Broadway avenue, the most direct route to my place of work.

    Who ever the driver was, I am sure they had to have known they’ve hit someone or something. The obvious damage to the car would be beyond refute. I would only hope that they do the right thing now and come forward. If it was purely an accident (and not a typical early morning DUI in Boise) then you should come forward and own up to the responsibility, likely you will be found out eventually and the consequences will be far more severe at that time, I’m sure.

    To the family and friends of this person, my deepest condolences. I’m deeply grieved for your loss. I would hope that any comfort you feel would be knowing that this life lost, helps to reeducate the community on bike safety, as well as reminding us all to cherish every precious moment you have with family and friends, in this tenuous ad fleeting thing called life.

  2. Hard to see even a well lighted bike on a rainy night if it was is in a reflective cone-zone. (more details please)

    I agree with writing tickets. They could write one a minute on Hill Road from an unmarked car.

    And it’s past time for a bike tax.

  3. Diane Sower
    Sep 27, 2013, 6:38 am

    What about those riding things hooked to the back of bikes for babies and toddlers? The ones you can’t always see from a car? I’ve seen them downtown in rush traffic. No brains at all. None. Kinda like riding the waves of the river with a baby.

  4. Mr. Hall and others are not the only ones to ride their bicycles every day or nearly every day.

    I’m sorry about the man who was hit and killed but come on– what happened to common sense? State Street is dangerous enough as it is, and then add the construction barrels for Whitewater Parkway and— it just makes no sense to me to ride on it.

    There are plenty of alternate routes in that area. I mean plenty.

    I never ride my bicycle on State Street or 27th and rarely down Fairview and Main. Again, there are plenty of alternate routes and with the ability to ride through stop signs, cutting through a neighborhood does not cost much extra time.

    And about adding bike lanes, ACHD has made that a priority but they can’t do them all at once. And just where would they put them on State Street? Do you really suggest narrowing lanes? Maybe some bike nazis want the sidewalks removed and to heck with pedestrians?

    Hey, it’s good to be right. Just not dead right.

  5. And another thing. Your bicycle headlight does nothing if behind you are car headlights which are 100% drowning out your bicycle’s headlight. Been there done that.

    I was crossing 27th or 23rd a while back. There were cars coming but far enough away for me to cross safely. I get half way across and finally see the bicycle, and it’s dang lucky for the cyclist that I saw him at the last minute. But his headlight was completely invisible due to the cars much farther behind him.

    Don’t ride on busy streets after dark, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when you will get killed.

  6. It seems like every time the guardian writes an article about the police force he tends to forget he lives in America, not the UK. Seems like there is an ulterior motive behind “copper”. Maybe he should change his title to “journo” or “hack” since he likes to use slang all the time.

    EDITOR NOTE–Only a term of endearment. The chief is “top cop,” Justices of the Supreme Court are “supremes,” County Commissioners are “commishes,” we also use “councilor” instead of councilperson- councilman-councilwoman. Young broadcast journalists are “newsies.” Join the club Clem and quit trying to pick a fight. A “cop car” is a cop car–not a police officer transport vehicle. If you have a crime tip you call 342-COPS…not 342-OFFICER.

  7. Yeah, Zippo – a bike tax would’ve prevented this tragedy. (Or is this just another opportunity for people to unload on bicyclists?)

    I also agree with writing tickets. The stated position of the Boise Police Department: “Bike violations are NOT a priority for the Department.” They seem content to ignore cyclists (both as “perps” and victims of bad behavior) unless an accident is involved.

  8. Another issue is having some “bicycle riding sense”. You have to “dress for success” (like Bike Nerd) so those in cars and trucks can see you. Leave the black hoodie at home or cover it with a reflective vest and wear white or other light colors so you can be seen in the shaded parts of streets even during daylight hours.

    If you ride to work pick the safest route even if not the most direct. You are riding for exercise so try to avoid traffic if you can.

    I have seen some really stupid stunts pulled by bicycle riders in Boise. You will come out second best in all collisions with vehicles, you can’t assume the nut on a cell phone or texting will see you.

    I quit riding my motorcycle because I never got past a sense of vulnerability when riding it. I do ride my bicycle but only during off peak hours and not on collector or arterial streets if I can avoid them.

    Most people do not realize bicyclists are not required to STOP at stop signs, they are required to slow down and make sure the cross traffic conditions make it safe to proceed. They do have to honor right of way at intersections and must STOP at intersections with traffic lights.

    Finally, if they are on the wrong side of the road when a guy makes a left, it can be a deadly surprise.

  9. Note to Zippo… Most people who own bicycles own cars and trucks and pay licensing fees along with fuel taxes.

  10. Please bikers, signal your intentions, stop when/where you’re supposed to (including school buses) lose the ear phones and quit riding two and three abreast on Hill Road.

  11. No one mentioned education for automobile drivers or cyclists. Yes State St. is a bad road to ride on, but sometimes you need to go where you need to go; plus it is lawful to ride on a state highway, like it or not. Mandatory education for bikes and drivers followed by enforcement for the law, coupled with infrastructure that was made for all modes of transportation.

  12. term of endearment…..right. You’re not fooling anyone.

  13. Rod in SE Boise
    Sep 27, 2013, 10:40 pm

    Zippo wants to tax something? Anything?

  14. Bike riding in Boise is almost taking on a cult like status. One can’t ride a bike here unless the bike costs 2000 bucks and the rider must wear 1500 bucks in the finest equipment. The other extreme here is the perpetual suspended license candidate who now is relegated to riding his 1977 Schwinn to Jacksons to pick up the brew. Either way, no member of either group abides by any traffic laws….blown red lights and stop signs, riding on sidewalks when needed or streets as desired, in traffic or against traffic. And GOD forbid a car driver beep his horn or other wise call the bike rider on his behavior….you may wind up with the “accidental” handlebar scrape along the side of the car or a beautiful piece of mucus blown at the window. At the very least the middle finger will be displayed prominently. We all must remember that the bicyclists rule the road here……..this unfortunate death is an example however of what really happens when either party decides to ignore the rules…the bike rider will almost always lose. Political correctness can not defeat the laws of physics.

  15. Wow… These comments are truly amazing.

    If your driving a car, you are responsible for those things that are accruing in your lane of travel and ahead. If its dark and rainy then drive slower. If there is a cyclist in the lane ahead then slow down until there is room to safely pass. Bikes are vehicles… and the sooner car drivers understand that they have no exclusive rights to the lanes of travel, the safer everyone will be! This person who hit and ran and killed a person on his bike, whom had every right to be utilizing the lanes of travel, will soon find out that he is guilty of manslaughter! If someone is in the road, bike, pedestrian, horseback… you cannot run them over because you think that cars and only cars are allowed to utilize the lanes of travel. Guilty, guilty, guilty!

    And those of you who cannot grasp the concept that cars do not have priority or exclusivity of roadways are absolutely mistaken!!
    You should be treating anyone using the lane of travel just as you would another car! Or find yourselves in the position of the driver of this vehicle.

  16. Foe pa!

    Read the laws on bikes and what they do or dont have to do at stop lights or stop signs! Ignorant!

    Stops lights: must stop and then can proceed.
    Stop signs: Dont have to stop!

    The bike rider losing in this scenario is your logic? Stupid… The cars driver is feeling like no winner I assure you!

    Be safe! This us vs. them is not going to keep anyone out of jail or the cemetery! So you have to lose 10 seconds getting somewhere in your car to safely go around a cyclist… seems worth a life doesnt it?

  17. I disagree completely, WOW. With your understanding of survival, and from what I have personally witnessed, the average bike rider simply assumes that cars will stop and that he as a bike rider is omnipotent. Common sense dictates WOW…like it or not. Sounds like you are typical of the riders in Boise though…attitudinal, confrontational and ready for battle to maintain your perception of “rights” on the street. So what good will your rights do you lying in a gutter after you run the stop sign in all your arrogance….as that 16 year old texts and runs it as well. Keep your arrogance where it belongs.

  18. The Speckled Hen
    Sep 28, 2013, 9:17 pm

    Instead of tickets, some PDs work with non-profits to stop bicyclists who are riding without lights and use non-profit contributions to give them a light along with a safe riding guide. It’s more effective than expecting a dependent rider (one who doesn’t have a car) to spend $30 on a light or more on a moving violation.

    EDITOR NOTE–I actually had a half dozen tiny red flashers that I did exactly as you suggest. Have one left. The cost less than $1 each. Hard to even give away because bikers think motorists are the enemy. One woman actually pulled her cell phone and threatened to call 911 if I didn’t leave her alone as I offered the safety light.

  19. Unfortunately it is those bad groups, both bike and motorist, that ruin everything for everyone. I for one, my personal opinion, believe that cyclist should follow rules of the road. STOP! at Red Lights and at least slow down at stop signs. As it has been pointed out in other comments they are a moving vehicle not a pedestrian on the road and should act like a moving vehicle. Until that happens they will be more, lots more, accidents. I don’t know about the other but I cannot guess what a cyclist is going to do when the approach a stop light or sign.

  20. This is a sad case and the spin from BG doesn’t help it. The cyclist was abiding by the law in regards to lights. We will never know where he was riding, though cyclist do have right to ride in the full right lane of traffic in that area of State Street. The driver is suspected of drinking and driving, which may of contributed the cyclist losing his life. This driver potentialy broke at least 3 laws: Felony leaving the scene, DUI and failure of Boise’s 3 feet to pass law.

    Unfortunately we will never know the real story. This is what is call a Single Witness Suicide Swerve in the cycling world. http://velociped.kempiweb.net/ntvc/2009/07/swss/

  21. Good gosh. Are you insinuating motorists are seeking out and hitting bike riders on PURPOSE? Accidents happen. There is no grand conspiracy to seek out and destroy pedal pushers. I have heard it all now.

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