Bicyclist killed in crash near Batavia

By Amanda Marrazzo and Rosemary Regina Sobol, Chicago Tribune
5:36 pm, June 28, 2013

Source: Chicago Tribune

A 50-year-old North Aurora man riding his bike along a scenic Kane County road was killed during a crash with a car Thursday afternoon, according to sheriff’s police.

Richard White, of the 1400 block of Fechner Court, was struck by a 2009 Nissan Rogue driven by MaMaxima Corazona Cardino Ty, 26, of Evanston, according to Kane County Sheriff’s Lt. Pat Gengler.

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Sheriff’s police said White was on a bicycle was traveling north around 2:15 p.m. on Nelson Lake Road near the entrance to the Dick Young Forest Preserve in Batavia Township. A line of cars also was traveling north on Nelson Lake Road, and several of the cars swerved to go around White, who was riding on the side of the road, authorities said.

The Rogue, which also was northbound, hit the rear tire of the bike, causing White to be thrown off, authorities said.

White was taken to Mercy Center Hospital in Aurora, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

Gengler said Ty was “very shaken up” at the scene. He said she was uninjured and was ticketed for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident. It was unclear whether alcohol, drugs or texting contributed to the accident, according to Gengler.

Gengler said Ty worked as an in-home caregiver and was in the area seeing a client.

A family member contacted by phone said White was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, but police said evidence at the scene reflected otherwise.

Gengler said investigators found a baseball hat and earphones at the accident site, but no helmet. It was not clear, he said, whether White was wearing the headphones when he was hit.

Loren Carrera, chief deputy coroner for Kane County, said no helmet was brought to the coroner’s office and she cannot determine whether White was wearing one at the time of the accident.

Carrera said the exact cause of death has yet to be determined. Preliminary findings show White had multiple injuries to his body, head and spine, she said. Toxicology results are outstanding, Carrera said.

Nelson Lake Road was closed for about three hours while the crash was investigated.

Amanda Marrazzo is a freelance reporter. Rosemary Regina Sobol is a Tribune reporter.

rsobol@tribune.com
Twitter:@RosemarySobol1

Background Reading

TakeAways

Quite recently a discussion on the Chicago ChainLink made it quite clear that there are few things around which the Urban Cyclist Community has formed a consensus other than that people of color should not “salmon” (i.e. ride against traffic) on a bicycle. Evidently if you are white and riding a Critical Mass Ride the practice is considered legitimate. (Note: Check out some of the videos taken by participants in the Chicago Critical Mass Rides to see what I mean about riders crossing the double-yellow line on a two-way street to ride en masse against traffic.)

But all you have to do is mention one of several issues which would seem to be worthy of a consensus notion (e.g. riding with headphones) and you get some pushback. In the “Music On The Bike” thread those in favor of riding with headphones in place fell back on that time-honored crutch of “relativistic thinking“. The mantra most often repeated by those who favor this practice to those who have a problem with it (I am one of the latter) is that it is only your opinion. The thread has this exchange:

Reply by Evan on Tuesday
Your opinion and that is fine but understand that this an emotional response and not a scientific argument.

Andy J said:
Something about being on the street and having your hearing compromised just doesn’t “sound” right to me – regardless if the music is coming from an earbud or boom box, if it keeps you from (or delays) hearing that hulk of metal, plastic, and petrol hurdling toward your toothpick-thin conveyance, the difference can be life or death.
On a trail? Maybe, but I’m sure many will argue otherwise, and definitely not my cup of tea.

Actually it is a scientific argument although the objector does not cite any research. I cite a fairly recent article from Slate which tries to make the case in a relatively approachable fashion.

What the author of the article says is unequivocal, the practice is terribly dumb. But cyclists are far too comfortable with pointing the finger at motorists every time one of them dies in a collision with an automobile. But I subscribe to the notion that in order to get to the bottom of cycling safety we must deconstruct the behavior of the cyclist as well as that of the motorist. It for instance should be routine that the blood alcohol levels of both motorist and cyclist be checked whenever there is a collision.

Sometime tonight there will be the annual L.A.T.E. Ride held in Chicago. And there will be a contingent of Chicago ChainLink Forum riders who will “audit the ride” (i.e. do the ride without paying for the privilege) with the express purpose of being intoxicated into the bargain. This is a rather odd way for cyclists who just a few weeks ago were outraged that one of their own was run down by an intoxicated motorist. Now as a tribute to the memory of that rider these fellows and gals are going to emulate the actions of the motorist whom they admit to despising by getting “juiced up” and hitting the roadways to ride “against the traffic” in an intoxicated state.

There really are no words that would carry the full invective I would wish to rain down on the heads of these cyclists. In fact I hesitate to call them cyclists. These are merely activists for whom a cause is nothing more than a reason to keep breathing and in this instance the bicycle is their chosen method of conveyance. Other than that there is little about such people that strikes me as evidence of their commitment to cycling safety.

If the bicyclist in this accident was a contributor to his own death then we need to know the facts and listen carefully so that the notion that riding with headphones is subject to opinion rather than scientific fact is dispelled. We often hear cyclists complain that motorists and governmental agencies do not take bicycling seriously.

On the contrary it is the person who calls themselves a cyclist but does stupid things despite evidence to the contrary that is guilty of not taking cycling seriously. Deliberately hopping on a bicycle after making certain that your blood alcohol level is above that of someone who is “buzzed” is an offense to the memories of every cyclist killed by an intoxicated driver.

Cyclists who are part of groups like the ChainLink Forum but who chose to remain silent on important issues like this are doing as much a disservice to cycling as the folks who act stupidly.

On Site Inspection

The entrance to the Dick Young F.P. is about a quarter to a half mile south of Main Street. Unlike the portions that run further south this stretch undulates enough that you could easily “disappear” from an approaching automobile as your bike drops below its sightline. I kept thinking to myself that riding this rather narrow stretch of two-lane road which is quite peaceful would be even more dangerous on a recumbent bicycle where the rider sits much lower than would be the case on an upright bicycles. And in fact anyone attempting to ride this on a recumbent trike or recumbent lowracer would be very much in danger of getting hurt by cars approaching from the rear not knowing of their presence.

A bright orange flag on any kind of bike riding this section would be warranted. There is no shoulder so a recumbent trike really takes a chance because he could not “bail out” by using the shoulder. In fact the situation is dire enough that three entrances to private homes are marked by a yellow sign warning that their entrances are hidden below the next hill.

I ride this general area at times but have not ridden this particular road alone. What would help even more than flags would be a steady stream of bicyclists moving along this stretch in such numbers as to make motorists aware of the possibility of encountering one over the next rise. Staying safe on a bicycle is sometimes a “fools errand“. You need to have your senses about you and I mean that not only in the sense of your wits but you really cannot hope to ride this stretch without being able to “hear and see” what is approaching from behind.

That would mean that all manner of earphones and music would be senseless on such a stretch. As quiet as cars can be the next option is either a rear view mirror on the handlebars or worn on your helmet or glasses. Most cyclists are riding around without much in the way of sensory receptors. They seldom seem to use mirrors and the few that have music on their MP3 players often want to enjoy the sounds as they cruise through traffic. Bad idea in my view.

Stay safe.