I don’t know enough about this yet to respond.
Some questions (in no particular order) about this particular crash—
- What’s the geometry of the intersection & the posted speed?
- Is there a history of crashes at this intersection?
- Was the driver driving too fast for conditions? He saw a bicyclist, presumably there are trail or pedestrian crossing signs posted (are there?)—did he slow his speed?
- Was the driver’s or the cyclists’ vision obstructed or obscured? Why didn’t the driver see the second, following cyclist? Why didn’t the cyclists see the car?
- Was the victim following his wife closely, or at a distance? Did his wife narrowly escape?
- Did the driver or the cyclist have any relevant impairments?
- How long were the cyclists waiting to cross?
- How many trail users cross here each day? How many cars?
Unquestionably, this is tragic for everyone involved. Our thoughts go out to both families.
For the record, Trails for Illinois has a strong opinion on street crossings—they can be safe, and must be for our residents, our visitors, our communities to get the highest returns from trail investments. Otherwise, road crossings squelch that hardwired yearning to go exploring as they become barriers and turn-around points; a poor road crossing wastes the millions of dollars invested in a trail system.
The value of trails rises with the number of trail users and hours/miles they spend exploring—more money flows into local businesses, more health benefits are achieved, more car trips replaced. The Triple Bottom Line’s bottom line is number of users*time spent.
Since trails are largely undervalued in Illinois, agencies generally underinvest (in design, in enforcement, and in dollars) in safe crossings. The death on 104th Avenue in the Chicago suburb Palos Park last year—on a trail voted one of the best running experiences in America—is one example.
We’ll work to get the details that will help us respond to this. Please send us news items as they surface, and share any questions you need answered about this heartbreaking story.