reports are sketchy right now, it sounds like the cyclist was going straight in the bike lane and was struck by a delivery truck that was turning right.
First Ave. was modified in late 2009 to include bike lanes. The design for these lanes was intended to shield cyclists from traffic with a line of parked cars. During rush hour, parking is not allowed on the street, but during off-hours cars are allowed to park next to the bike lane, but away from the curb as shown in this photo, which I shot late last Fall.
There were problems with this design when it was implemented; drivers did not understand that they can't park next to the curb, or would hang over into the bike lane, creating a hazard for cyclists. The City installed "candlestick" markers to delineate the bike lanes better as a result of these problems. I originally took this photo to document the installation of the candlesticks.
I have ridden the re-designed First Ave. exactly twice. I rode it once right after it was installed to see for myself how well it functioned. I rode it again after the candlesticks were installed. The number of cars hanging over into the bike lanes were reduced thanks to the candlesticks, but I was never comfortable riding on First Ave.
The reason for my distrust of this bike lane was (and still is) that the parked cars obstruct the view of the cycle lane for drivers turning off of First Ave., and they also can obstruct the view of cars on First Ave. from cyclists using the First Ave. bike lanes. It always seemed to me that a right-cross was more likely, and left-cross was also a possibility. I avoided this street as a result.
My other concern with the design was that other cyclists would view First Ave. as a "safe" street to ride on because it has dedicated bike lanes that are isolated from traffic. In my opinion that creates a false sense of security that can lull inexperienced cyclists to believe that they are safe riding in these lanes.
I don't know the specifics of what happened today on First Ave. I can easily imagine the cyclist was riding up to the intersection, did not see the turn signal on the truck and proceeded straight through the intersection, directly into the path of the truck, which had begun it's turn.
I think this design needs to be revoked, or if not, additional controls need to be added to give cyclists green arrows or red lights to accommodate right turns.
It's too bad this tragedy happened, but hopefully we can all learn from this and create a safer city for everyone.
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