Aug 042012

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on two separate incidents where cyclists were fatally struck on the same road in the same week.

One speeding driver struck the rear tire of James Price‘s bike about 5 a.m. July 25 in the 7400 block of Penn Avenue. Price, 46, of Homewood, who was wearing a helmet and had his headlight and rear light operating, died about 5:30 a.m. in UPMC Presbyterian. The motorist, who was driving a white vehicle, is being sought by police.

On Wednesday, Anthony Green, 47, of Wilkinsburg, was struck from behind while riding his bike about 10 p.m. [July 31] in the 7700 block of Penn Avenue in Wilkinsburg. He died Thursday. The driver who hit him and remained at the scene may face criminal charges.

On top of that, a motorcycle officer of the Pittsburgh Police Department was injured while participating in a bike safety enforcement operation on Penn Avenue.  The enforcement operation was in response to the two fatal crashes and was aimed at drivers (and cyclists?) violating Pennsylvania’s bike laws.  The state just passed a new law that includes, among other things, a four foot passing law, more stringent than Maryland’s three foot passing law.  According to the advocacy group BikePGH:

HB 170 amends PA’s motor vehicle code to provide the following protections:

  • Every car that passes a bike must give a minimum of 4-feet of clearance at a “prudent reduced speed”
  • No turn by a motorist may interfere with a bicycle proceeding straight (the classic right hook)
  • Bicycles may be operated at a safe and reasonable speed appropriate for bicycles
  • Bicycles must be operated in the right hand lane, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of roadway.
  • This does not apply to a bicycle using any portion of the road due to unsafe surface conditions.

As if that weren’t enough, this all happened the same week as a fatal bicycle crash near Frederick, Md. that took the life of an iconic Pittsburgh developer and experienced cyclist Mark Schneider.  He was on the Catoctin Challenge, a two day charity ride north of Frederick, when he ran off the road and hit a mailbox.

According to a statement issued by Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl and BikePGH in response to the two fatal crashes on Penn Avenue, the city will make safety improvements to the street and post wayfinding signs along an alternate route.

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