Nov 262011

Around 11 a.m. on Friday, a FedEx van driver struck four bicyclists at the intersection of MacArthur Blvd and Goldsboro Road.  One rider was seriously injured.  A rider who came upon the scene said she thought the driver went through a yield or stop sign without looking.  This is from a Channel 9 story Friday:

Also you can click on the “raw video” link at the end of the video (or in the article) to see some additional (but bland) video footage from the scene.

The driver’s view seems to have been the same as this street view.  I wonder if he thought the two MacArthur lanes to his left were both oncoming traffic lanes, as if the grassy strip to his left was a median strip.  So he made his U turn without thinking to look back over his left shoulder.   I don’t know.  But that intersection is very screwy.   Just pan around 180 degrees in street view to see its full screwyness.

At least it seems like driver error, not animosity or rage against cyclists.   Nothing would surprise me on MacArthur Blvd.


  5 Responses to “Driver hits 4 cyclists on MacArthur Blvd”

  1. There’s nothing so screwy about this intersection that cannot be addressed by the simple act of drivers coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. It may not be apparent from the video, where the reporter is positioned a few yards from a stop sign, that there is a SECOND stop sign that the driver would have to cross to make the U-turn described. Had the driver actually stopped at that second stop sign, I believe the chances that he wouldn’t see a group of cyclists approaching, are pretty low. Quiet Black Friday? From now through the holidays, I assume that every driver will be in a careless rush chasing after all manner of shopping and errands. Delivery drivers will act even more pressured than usual. Bike accordingly – it’s not the cyclist’s fault, but it is the cyclist who will get hurt.

    • I assume the driver made his u-turn before the little island. The second stop sign comes after the island, so he would not have thought it applied to him entering MacArthur the way he did. He basically took advantage of the exit from the shopping center parking lot, which cuts across the two-way Goldsboro “spur” that he was on before it exits onto MacArthur. There’s a stop sign for people exiting the lot, but the driver wouldn’t have seen that. There is no “stop line” painted at the edge of MacArthur for people exiting the lot. In fact it begs the question: how can a parking lot exit actually cross a two-lane road to get to another two-lane road 10′ past it, with a stop sign only at the first road? It’s bound to confuse people exiting the parking lot. They might not realize they’re crossing/entering two roads, not one. This does resemble some service road configurations I’ve seen, but to drivers it looks nothing like a service road.

      It is a terrible intersection. It very unusual and it’s too complex, so it confuses many drivers. If it were done as a standard 3-way roundabout, it would have just 4 junctions (3 merges). But this thing adds another merge, a criss-cross of two lanes, and half an extra half intersection (at Oxford). The parking lot exit could simply open onto MacArthur, but because of the intersection design it must cross a full two lane street to do so.

      Generally I’m good at watching out for stop signs (hesitantly, to make sure I didn’t miss any) but anything this needlessly complicated is bad in my opinion, even more so if there are missing stop or yield signs.

      • I must respectfully disagree. Even if the driver had short-cut his U-turn and used the opening that doesn’t have the stop sign, he would be obliged to stop before entering a roadway (much like one is obliged to stop before entering a roadway from a driveway, even if no stop sign is posted). This was in conditions of good visibility. It is more of an example of a motorist being in too much of a hurry, than an example of bad roadway design – after all, the traffic volume using that opening is pretty small (from my observation) and it should be a very low-speed area, not someplace to zip in and out of. And if the driver was unfamiliar with the area, that much more obligation to slow down and proceed cautiously. Since I regularly see motorists drive thru stop signs on MacArthur without even slowing down, I don’t think another stop sign is the answer. If MDOT is willing to install some SERIOUS speed abatement devices, it’s worth talking about, but so far they have been unwilling to do so anywhere on MacArthur.

        • Maybe it sounds too much like I’m making excuses for the driver. I mean just to criticize the intersection. You’re absolutely right that the driver needs to know better what he’s doing, whether there’s a stop sign or not. His company has the slogan “absolutely positively has to be there overnight…”. What could possibly go wrong there? My neighborhood is plagued by speeding UPS trucks and trash trucks, all incentivized to hurry.
          – Jack Cochrane (mobiker)

  2. Here is what I think happened, based on the news story and the account of a (later) passer-by. But I have no first-hand knowledge or accident report. I drew stop signs at the little intersection where the U-turn was made in red. There’s no stop sign or white line where the van entered MacArthur.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.