Driver hits, kills 49-year-old riding his bike to job near Algoma

This Google Streetview image shows the roadway conditions near the crash location. Without a paved shoulder, the recommended position for bicycling is about one foot to the left of the fog line. When driving on a road like this when visibility is limited due to sunrise or for any other reason, people should reduce their speed. Crashes that occur at speeds below 50mph are much less likely to cause a fatal injury.

Note: This story has been updated to correct misinformation in the original post. The victim, Andrew Nowak, was riding his bike to work at WS Packaging in Algoma. The driver of the truck, Bryer A. Benet, was driving to work, but at a different employer. They were not co-workers as previously reported.

A man driving a pickup truck to work in Algoma Tuesday morning crashed into and killed a 49-year-old man riding his bicycle in the same eastbound direction on Highway 54, the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department reported.

Chief Deputy David Cornelius said the rising sun obscured the vision of the 20-year-old driver, Bryer A. Benet, 20, of Luxemburg. Benet told a sheriff’s deputy his speed was about 60 to 65 mph, five to 10 miles above the limit on the highway four miles from the city. The crash occurred about 6:10 a.m.

Evidence at the scene showed the victim, Andrew Nowak, 49, of Casco, was riding his bike to the left of the fog line, Cornelius said. That section of Highway 54 has a single travel lane in each direction, about two feet of pavement right of the fog line and a gravel shoulder.

“This is going to be devastating to both families,” Cornelius said.

The 49-year-old was an avid cyclist, who went for rides of 30 to 100 miles during his time away from work.

The victim is the fifth person to be killed while riding a bicycle in Wisconsin this year. Two of the others were killed in similar circumstances: hit by motorists who reported they didn’t see the person on the bicycle on the rural highway ahead of them.

Crashes that involve speeds above 60mph almost always result in death of the person riding a bike or walking, whereas the victim is statistically much more likely to survive if the speed differential is just 50 mph. FHWA-RD-98-154

While we certainly need to wait for all details from the full crash report, based on initial evidence and the report given by the driver of the pickup, this crash highlights the importance of always driving the speed limit or slower, when road conditions, weather or time of day limit visibility. The posted speed is the limit, and it is never legal to exceed that speed. Even small increases in speed can result in significantly higher chances that a crash with a person walking or bicycling will be fatal.

If a person on a bicycle is traveling 15mph and is hit from behind by a person driving a motor vehicle traveling 45mph the impact speed is 30mph and the risk of fatality is reduced by 40%. It is prudent and safer to drive ten miles per hours below the speed limit when your visibility is reduced, particularly on narrow rural roads without shoulders where you might encounter someone walking, bicycling or a farmer.

Not only does reducing your speed when conditions warrant greater caution decrease the chances of a fatal impact if you hit someone, it also decreases stopping distance and thereby reduces the chances of a crash happening at all. So driving even 10 mph slower could really be the difference between life and death or avoiding a crash entirely.

Speed limits are set by state statute. Local governments are given some leeway to reduce posted speed limits by up to 10mph on state trunk highways like the one where this crash happened, but not to increase them.

The Share & Be Aware Program directed by the Wisconsin DOT Bureau of Transportation Safety encourages drivers to slow down and be prepared to encounter people walking and on bikes at any time in their travels. State law requires that people driving cars provide at least three feet of clearance when passing a person on a bicycle. The Wisconsin Bike Fed continues to advocate for safer roads and a more cautious approach while biking, driving and walking. Of the 15 fatalities involving people riding bicycles in 2015, 12 of them involved drivers who did not see or react to cyclists in front of them.

This is the fifth person riding a bicycle killed by someone driving a motor vehicle this year compared to six at this time last year. On average, about 10 people riding bicycles are killed in crashes with motor vehicles annually. Despite last year’s spike with 15 deaths, the number of serious crashes and fatalities involving people on bikes in Wisconsin has dropped steadily in recent decades.

The number of crashes has been on the decline in Wisconsin for years, even as the number of people commuting by bicycle increases. The fatal crash numbers are so small, that the variations from year to year are probably statistically insignificant. Of course our goal is to make that number zero.


Note that in the graph below, it was common to have 30-40 fatal bicycle crashes in the 1970s and today we average around ten. We have bike lanes and education to thank for the huge reduction in fatal crashes. In fact, our Share & Be Aware Program is one of the biggest programs we run at the Wisconsin Bike Fed. Our regional S&BA staff teach classes, work with Drivers Ed instructors, and share safety information at hundreds of events around the state all summer long.

While we should do everything we can to reduce the chances of fatal crashes like this happening, it is important to remember that riding a bicycle remains an incredibly safe and healthy thing to do. If you factor in the health benefits of cycling, riding a bicycle is more likely to help you live longer than result in a fatal crash:

“For individuals who shift from car to bicycle, we estimated that beneficial effects of increased physical activity are substantially larger (3–14 months gained) than the potential mortality effect of increased inhaled air pollution doses (0.8–40 days lost) and the increase in traffic accidents (5–9 days lost). Societal benefits are even larger because of a modest reduction in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and traffic accidents.

Conclusions: On average, the estimated health benefits of cycling were substantially larger than the risks relative to car driving for individuals shifting their mode of transport.” Source: Do the Health Benefits of Cycling Outweigh the Risks? Jeroen Johan de Hartog1, Hanna Boogaard1, Hans Nijland2, Gerard Hoek1

So while we all keep the family and friends of this man killed near Algoma in your thoughts and prayers, let us all pledge to reduce our speed when conditions warrant greater caution when we are behind the wheel. Let us also feel good about ourselves when riding bicycles, as bicycling not only remains a safe, fun, healthy way for us to get exercise and get around, our society and communities benefit every time someone rides a bike.

If you would like to request one of our S&BA Ambassadors for a class or to table an event, make your request online here. We can also give you free safety information to share in your community or at you employer.

32 thoughts on “Driver hits, kills 49-year-old riding his bike to job near Algoma

  1. I actually posted this earlier today regarding the fog line on my FB page.. Imho I think one of the more misunderstood aspects of operating motor vehicles on roadways is the fog line. To clear away some fog on this I offer the following.

    First, it’s called a fog line. It’s purpose is to delineate the right edge/side of the road during foggy, snowy, rainy, or otherwise limited visibility conditions.

    Secondly, it is NOT a line that distinguishes the shoulder area in which a cyclist is required to ride.

    In short, it does not designate a bike lane (although most cyclists for good reason ride to the right of it). It’s a fog line and in most states (I am hard pressed to know of any state where it isn’t) it is legally part of the lane and therefore part of the road. Thus, cycling left of the fog line is not proof of, or an indication of, that you have either violated the law or are doing anything wrong. That car and truck drivers get incensed when they come upon you and honk or yell to “get on the shoulder” is evidence of their ignorance. That they may assume cyclists will be to the right of it is an indication of a lack of proper orientation/communication (public awareness) by the DOT.

    Riding as far right as practicable and safe IS generally a legal requirement, as is observing two abreast restrictions. However, as cyclists, we often need to be left of the fog line for a variety of legitimate reasons and we have every right to do so as long as we’re not unreasonably impeding the flow of traffic.

    • Correct, which is why we said the recommended lane position for a person on a bicycle is to the left of the fog line, not to the right as if this were a 4 ft paved shoulder.

  2. Mr Held,

    I fail to understand why you would recommend riding to the left of the fog line when there is so much room to the right if it.

    I notice that in most of your posts you do a great job of describing how motorist can drive more safely without any mention of good safe defensive riding for bicyclists. If your intention is to help make road riding for bicyclist more safe, why don’t you recommend a few things like:

    – Use bike paths whenever possible
    – Choose roads with asphalt right of the fog line and ride there
    – Ride single file whenever cars are present
    – Avoid riding when the sun is low in the sky
    – Come to a complete stop at ALL stop signs
    – Ride without earbugs so that traffic can more easily be heard

    If the goal is to keep bicycles and cars from coming into contact with each other, both car drivers and bicycle riders share the responsibilities. It would be helpful if you would spend equal time in describing road safety to car drivers and bicycle riders. After all, it’s the bicyclist who has the most at risk and making recommendations like riding to the left of the fog line when there is room to the right of it sounds dangerous.

    • You shared excellent points on how to ride more safely Jerry. Riding to the left of the fog line is recommended for a number of reasons: Improved visibility being one, and also the often deteriorated and uneven surface of the narrow pavement right of the fog line. It’s best to ride in a consistent and steady fashion, rather than swerving back and forth to avoid obstacles and bad pavement. The area right of the fog line is not meant for traffic. The fog line doesn’t designate a bike lane, it designates the edge of the road as a guide for motorists.

      In situations like this, where a driver kills someone who is riding a bicycle legally, the onus falls on the driver. As we noted, 12 of 15 fatal crashes involving bicyclists last year also were caused by driver errors. Driving a vehicle that has the potential to kill someone carries a burden that too many motorists fail to appreciate. To use an analogy, if someone mishandled a gun and killed someone, would you direct the safety messaging toward the actions of the victim?

    • Hi Jerry, relative to the fog line, according to state law and best safe practices, bicycles should ride as far to the right as is “practicable,” which means as far to the right that safely and successfully ride. For most riders, that means leaving 3 feet from hazards since bicycle stay upright in part by moving from left to right when the wind blows, including gusts from passing motor vehicles which tend to push a bicycle to the right. The 1-2 feet to the right of the fog line on this road is not sufficient width for safe travel.

      Since people like this victim need to get places like to work that often do not have a separate path or even a wide paved shoulder, it is necessary to ride to the left of the fog line. Since people in cars are doing the killing, using your logic but putting the responsibility where it belongs, you would be better to argue people should not drive on roads without wide paved shoulders when their visibility is limited if they think there may be people walking, bicycling or farmers using them.

      Instead, we choose to ask that everyone who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle operate that potentially dangerous moving object according to our laws and that they take their responsibility for other’s safety seriously and drive with extra caution when the potential exists they their negligence may cause serious injury or death.

      As a further practical measure, we advocate that roads be constructed for the safe passage of all users. Given the purpose of our roads is to transport goods and people, not move people in cars, we advocate that roads be designed with all users in mind. Complete streets are safer for everyone.

      To reiterate what is mentioned in the post above, despite this tragic death, when the health benefits are factored in, riding a bicycle is probably safer than driving a car AND riding bicycles has a positive return to our society and communities, where as driving personal motor vehicles, however necessary for many, has a negative return.

      Thanks for reading and writing though, civil dialogue is always a good thing. -Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director, Wisconsin Bike Fed

    • Jerry, riding to the right of the fog line is not always safest either.

      I’m a very experienced cyclist since 1974 and obviously before that as a kid. Over a quarter million bike miles.

      Having said that I fell into the ride to the right of the fog line idea and it put me in extreme danger too. This was on a busy road near Stevens Point with probably only 12-18 inches of “paved shoulder.” I was riding my Tour Easy on the shoulder and was passed by a pickup where his rear tires were on the fog line. His mirror probably went right over my head. Yes, if I were in the traffic lane he may have hit me. In retrospect I probably shouldn’t have been on that highway, Highway 66.

      We rode cross-country a couple of times. You have to go on roads, there is no cross-country bike trail. When we were on 2 lane roads and saw a tractor trailer coming towards us and another in our rear-view mirror, we’d get off the road because invariably all three of us would meet at the same time. Going across California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas we even rode on the Interstate a few times. Yes noisy, blown tire debris on the shoulder and trucks going by that sound as if their tires are on the verge of blowing. But it is a generally easy ride and the only way to go in some places.

      BTW, I’ll stop at all stop signs when cars stop at all stop signs. The rolling stop is normal with cars. I do stop and wait at stop lights.

    • Jerry, of course riding to the right of the line is safer. It’s common sense. But these ‘expert cyclists’ don’t care about that. They’re obsessed with ‘protecting their right’ to ride in the lane. They remind me of gun nuts, manic over their ‘right to bear arms’ and wield AK-47s even though no one needs them for protection.
      Riding any narrow, high speed highway is dangerous. Why make it even moreso by riding in front of the 2,000 lb death machines? Because they have the ‘right to take the lane, that’s why! 3 deaths this year alone on rural highways don’t matter to them.

      • Sorry Shawn, it would be nice if we could both be right, but you’re not. The indisputable facts are that riding a bicycle is safer than many other common activities we all take for granted, and when you following the rules of the road. Factor in the health benefits from the exercise and riding a bike is more likely to extend your life than shorten it. Of course, it would be even safer if people obeyed the law when they got behind the wheel of motor vehicles.

        • How am I ‘not right’? Of course riding a bike is safer than many other common activities, because MOST PEOPLE don’t ride to the left of the line or in the middle of the road! Telling people the correct way to ride a bike is in front of the mobile murder machines is horrible advice. Two bike riders in Illinois, an older couple, were recently killed on a rural road in Illinois. No information on their position on the road, but it bothers me that this idea that the ‘right’ way to ride is to the left of the line is being communicated to the biking community and could be a factor in similar deaths across the country.

          • Shawn, if there were three feet or more of room to the right of the fog line, then you would be correct recommending people ride to the right of the line. Without that sufficient room for a bicycle to ride there, it isn’t the recommended place to ride. The reason bike lanes have to be four feet wide when next to the edge of the road, and five feet wide next to parking, is that engineers have studied crashes, bicycle lane position and bicycle handling and determined that four feet is the minimum width for safe travel given the side-to-side motion of people riding. That is why the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices makes that requirement before a community can label a paved shoulder a bike lane. It is actually recommended on roads with higher posted speed limits that the shoulder be wider.

            Most riders need more than 18 inches in width to ride. Some experienced riders can hold a line without wavering more than six inches, but not many in a real world situation. When we teach bicycle safety and lane position, we recommend people ride “as far to the right as is practicable,” which takes into account their personal abilities. That means a person could possibly ride a few inches to the right of the fog line, but we would not specifically suggest it to anyone. When forced to make a general recommendation with a linear measurement, I tell people to ride 3 feet from parked cars and the edge of the road. In this situation, that would put Andy just to the left of the fog line.

            I am a trained, insured, bicycle safety instructor. I have spent 17 years teaching safe bicycling, studying and reporting on crashes, and designing bicycle facilities as the City of Milwaukee Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator. I make my recommendations based on my training and experience. This type of crash, getting hit from behind, is actually one of the statistically least likely ways to get hit. It is however one of the more likely crashes to result in a fatality.

            In this situation, my primary safety recommendation is that we all slow down and drive below the speed limit when traveling on a two-lane road with a narrow shoulder when our vision is limited by things like bright sunshine, rain, fog, etc.

            Sorry if my last reply sounded a bit snappish, but I have ridden with the guy who was killed here, so I really do not make these recommendations lightly, out of some dogmatic belief, or for advocacy reasons to try to get wider paved shoulders. I make them in the best interests of bicycle safety. Thanks for being part of this discussion and for your concern for safety as well. I honestly do appreciate the reasoning behind your argument, and as I said, we all learn a lot with a dialogue like this.

          • Shawn….the safest place to be is indeed in the road, and yes it is being taught because many cyclists don’t understand that principle. As a slow moving vehicle it is MOST important to be seen. From there it is the approaching vehicle that must slow and pass when it is safe to do so, just like passing any other slow moving vehicle. Hugging the white line only invites an approaching vehicle to pass by sharing the lane when there most likely is not enough room to do that. If there is a miscalculation there guess who’s going to lose? The cyclist. As for riding that narrow bit to the right of the fog line, it is fraught with danger. And invites the approaching car to pass at an unsafe speed. For example, a large vehicle passing you within 3 feet at 60mph….if you’d like an example of that go stand on a train platform inside the area that is marked as unsafe and have a fast train go by you.

            What is so difficult about waiting to safely pass a slower moving vehicle?? If there is a farm implement going down the road what do you do? Honk at him, yell get off the road, etc? Can’t you think farm implement when you see a cyclist on the road?

            For me, I’ll take more of the lane making sure I’m seen. If you hit me you’re going to do it with your hood ornament, no “oh, I didn’t see him”. And go ahead and honk, I like that; it’s confirming that you see me. I will also be watching the approaching car in my mirror making sure things are going as they should.

            As for the couple in IL that was recently hit from behind, my guess would be they were hugging that white line and the driver didn’t see them. BUT….the driver is 100% at fault, period. I love Mr. Greissmeyer’s analogy of the semi truck, small car. Does any of that make sense to you?

            I wish the WBF would work on driver education for passing a slow moving vehicle, and promotion of mirror use by cyclists.

  3. Jerry, I hope you don’t feel like we’re all jumping on your comment – which is very respectful and well thought out – but I had just one point to add.

    As a cyclist I regularly ride on or to the left of the fog line (well within reason – I don’t want to anger anyone). I am more visible, and drivers are less tempted to zip by me without thinking about oncoming traffic or decreasing speed. I lived in WI for many years but now I live in CT. Since many of the roads are old carriage roads the space to the right is massively unpredictable. On my route into work there’s one section where I have 4 feet and then, 20 yards later, the white line is literally crumbling because that’s the edge of the sad old road. There are also segments where rocks and trees jut out, right up to the fog line (CT is a weird place). I’m grateful the law doesn’t require me to ride to the right. As Tom says, I’d have to swerve in and out of traffic to avoid these things, without even taking into account fallen tree limbs (also very common) rocks, glass, etc.

    Again, just wanted to explain one of your points from my point of view. I’ll echo Dave in saying thanks for the civil dialogue.

  4. Thank you to Tom and the Bike Fed for covering this tragic crash and all car-on-bike fatalities in Wisconsin. This hit-from-behind scenario is all too common. The crash in Kalamazoo that killed 5 people riding bikes got national attention, for about half a day.

  5. I bike and drive. There have been times in my ignorant youth when I really should have just stopped driving because I couldn’t see a thing – snowstorms and sunblindness for example. But I didn’t and by some miracle I didn’t hit or kill anyone. So I could have been this driver. And I could have been this bicyclist. That said, until the bicycle community (and all the other people who think we need to break free from our automobile addiction) raises a holy stink about every such incident, people will continue to hop into their giant death machines and go barrelling around the countryside expecting everyone to get out of their way. Harsher penalties, stronger enforcement, and better infrastructure must be the mantra. Otherwise, we are just like the antelope at the watering hole. One goes down and back we come a few minutes later like nothing happened. And nothing changes.

    • Thanks for the honest comment Cathy, but I would be remiss if I didn’t argue that we are actually making significant progress. Despite this most recent tragic death, fatal crashes and the crash rate in general have gone down significantly in Wisconsin and the US. That does not mean we should stop fighting for every improvement in engineering, education, encouragement, and enforcement that we think will reduce the chances of future fatal crashes, but please do not fall into complete despair. We are making progress, slow progress, and sometimes it seems terribly frustrating that we don’t do more, but there is progress.

  6. Come on you guys. Let go of your rhetoric and war stories and see my comments for what was intended. Your biggest audience is bike riders and, from what I can tell, very little time is spent on advise about safe riding for those people. Riding a bike anywhere left of the fog line when traffic is present and there is safe asphalt further right is simply foolish and you guys should be saying so. Stopping at all stop signs Ron is the law, regardless of what anyone else does and to justify not stopping because other don’t is not only dangerous, it’s stupid. Using a bike path when available and choosing good roads with paved shoulders is not only safety smart, it’s also courteous.

    Wishing for better designed roads and better behaved motorists is great. But in the meantime, my point is that your blogs could spend a whole lot more time giving tips like the ones I provided to help bike riders be more safe. That is your intention, isn’t it? Make bike riding safer??? On the other hand, it doesn’t appear some of you are able to see any perspective other then your own tunnel vision.

    • Jerry….regardless of all your supposed well intended suggestions for bicycle safety, there are two main points at play here. Number one, the cyclist is completely allowed by law to be on that road, period. And the cyclist should be using a large portion of the lane because, as shown in the picture, that lane is too narrow to share with another car. Number two, a vehicle approaching from behind MUST give way and pass, using the full passing lane, if and when it is safe to do so. Period. The approaching car is NOT entitled to unencumbered use of the road….as most of your suggestions imply….as in, “hey biker, get out of our way”. Driver is 100 percent at fault. Period. We need more driver education regarding these basic rules of the road.

    • Sorry Jerry, I honestly do appreciate your claims to want nothing more than to reduce the chance of crashes, but telling people who walk and ride bicycles they can’t go where they need to go is simply not acceptable. It is tantamount to telling people not to go outside at night if they don’t want to be robbed. In our society, we have a right to expect people to obey the laws. We don’t accept criminal behavior. We recognize it where it exists, but do our best to fight crime and defend people’s right to liberty and free travel. That is a core element of our constitution and a benchmark upon which our country was founded.

      I also don’t understand your point that people on bicycles should stop at every stop sign because it is the law, but you excuse a person who admits to breaking the law and as a result killed an innocent road user. Why the double standard that blames a victim and excuses someone who killed an innocent person?

      Using a bike path when available is great, and I prefer to take trails when I can because they are so much more pleasant, but in every fatal crash this year similar to this one, there wasn’t a bike path available that got people where they needed to go. Nor can we expect communities to build trails everywhere.

      Finally, we don’t “wish” for better designed roads, we advocate for them, and work with the state, counties and municipalities to ensure they are built and we work with our legislature to codify those safety improvements into law. We have mostly made signficant progress, as the dramatically improving crash statistics demonstrate, but unfortunately we still have work to do.

      It seems clear that you disagree with the Bike Fed’s mission, but I guess we must agree to disagree here. Despite that, with this crash and others as our encouragement, we at the Bike Fed will redouble our efforts, roll up our sleeves and keep at it.

  7. While I agree with most of the comments on this thread, the responsibilities of the rider have not been discussed; only the RIGHTS of the rider. Sure, the rider has the right to ride to the left of the fog line, but the rider must also use good judgement and ride defensively, just as a motorist should drive defensively to avoid a crash, even if they have the right of way. One way the rider can do this is to have a mirror on the bike or helmet and check the mirror continually. My wife and I ride rural roads extensively and we both check our mirrors frequently (every few seconds). If we notice a vehicle behind us that does not start to pull around us, we assume the motorist didn’t see us and we ride to the right of the fog line or into the ditch if necessary. This may seem over-reactive, but I would rather be safe and alive rather than “dead right”.

  8. Andy rode with us in the Bike Fed Spring Series ride in Southern Door. I rode with him for parts of the Peninsula Century last weekend. He always either had on a bright orange vest or a slow moving vehicle triangle on his bike. I would post a picture if I could. He was a good guy. I have driven ( in my car) this section of 54 many times. It is right after a broad sweeping right corner and often times cars take the apex and drive over the white line to cut the corner. I have many times myself done that in this very spot. I believe the two involved were co-workers who were both on their way to work and knew each other, so lets keep your comments civil. Thank you.

    • Oh my gosh Carl, of course I remember Andy now! I did not know him well, but have ridden with Andy at least twice. Once again, I want agree with you and thank people here for maintaining a civil dialogue, even if we disagree. As coworkers, this crash is even more tragic. We report on these fatal crashes in the hope that we can decrease the chances of a similar crash. If nothing else comes of this, everyone’s personal introspection on how we all drive cannot help but make our roads safer. Thank you for your comments, and I am so sorry for your loss.

  9. This continues to happen in this state with no real consequences to the driver. My wife and I were ON THE FOG LINE- Not “1 foot to the left of the fog line” when she was hit and killed last November. When will any changes be made?

    In our area, bicycling lanes are not an option!

    • Thanks for your very personal comments Bob. Our state has a great network of relatively low traffic paved town roads that are in most cases wonderfully safe and pleasant roads to ride a bike. You and your wife had every right and reason to have faith in that when you went for a ride. In some instances like this one and your tragic crash though, the simple negligence of one driver in a million can result in the death of an innocent, productive, much loved person like your wife. I have reported on and studied crashes for the last 17 years, but I still don’t know what to say to people like yourself who have suffered such an irreversible loss. All I can say is that every person at the Wisconsin Bike Fed promises to continue to fight for safer roads, better education, more encouragement to get people to drive, walk and bike safely, more enforcement of the laws that keep people safe, AND more equitable punishments for those who cause serious injury or death through their own careless actions when driving a motor vehicle. Thank you again for your comments.

  10. Dear Jerry,

    Thanks for your comments and suggestions. Not sure if you ride a bike on roads with cars traveling at high speeds or not but here are my thoughts about your comments as a person who does ride with cars at high speeds.

    1. Riding far to the right does not always make people safer. Drivers are more likely to try to pass a cyclist from behind without giving three feet/ a safe distance than they are to drive directly into the cyclist. Example if the bicyclist is in the middle of the road the driver will slow but if there is a foot of space and an oncoming car the driver will try to pass and blame the oncoming car for not moving at least three feet left.

    2. Use bike paths whenever possible. This sounds very practical but is not realistic. If drivers of cars only used highways where bicycles are prohibited there wouldn’t be any car bike crashes. How many times have you driven somewhere in your car and said I’m going to go out of my way to get on the highway so I don’t get hit by a bike?

    3. Ride single file. Most of the people killed last year were riding solo and the drivers claimed they could t see the bicyclist. Riding double file and in large groups increases visibility and safety.

    4. Avoid riding when the sun is low. See above. Group riding, double file riding, and taking the lane help increase visibility. All opposite of what you claim is good advice for safe riding. The law says if a person’s vision is affected by sun they should slow to a speed they can see or stop if necessary. Telling others to stay off the road during certain weather or blaming them instead of the person who hurt them is the same as asking what type of clothes a rape victim was wearing. If you can’t see when driving a 2000 plus pound car, common sense says stop the car.

    5. Come to a complete stop at all stop signs. Stopping increases chance of injury to bicyclists. See Idaho stop law studies.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t your suggestions directed towards making motor vehicle drivers drives more convenient, than they are with the safety of people on bikes?

    Why is it unreasonable to require drivers to follow the rules of the road and hold them accountable when they intentionally choose not to?

    Clayton Griessmeyer

  11. The driver’s vision was obscured by the sun. His response to his vision being obscured was to drive his vehicle 10 miles over the legal speed limit. Is there not a disconnect here? Why would he be surprised by running into something?

  12. Based on the facts as currently available, a tragedy. We should mention that Andrew Nowak, the rider who died in the crash, was a U.S. Army veteran, who honorably served his country.

    Words cannot express how awful this crash and loss must be for Andrew’s friends and family. Without in any way diminishing the magnitude of that loss, most of us who read this blog are also drivers, and we should remember that there is a high probability that the mistakes the 20 year old driver made that morning will haunt him the rest of his life. With that in mind, we should endeavor to drive better in the future, and urge others to do likewise.

    An observation that others may or may not share. I’m a driver and a cyclist. In Milwaukee, I’ve noticed a distinct rise in the last five years in driving behaviors that strongly suggest a lack of patience on the part of drivers. Speeding, running yellow and red lights, not stopping for persons at or in pedestrian cross walks (especially when the driver is making a turn), excessive acceleration, weaving at speed around cars, driving while talking on or (worse) texting on cell phones — all these behaviors are on the rise. (Sure, I can cite examples of cyclists not complying with traffic laws in Milwaukee, but that behavior doesn’t cause the risk, or the sense of fear in me, that driver non-compliance causes). Impatient drivers around cyclists on rural roads also lead to similar unsafe driving behaviors. Advocating for better designed roads is part of the solution long-term, but other than enforcement, what can be done that would lead to a culture of more patience on the roads? I fear the Bike Fed’s Share and Be Aware Campaign will go unnoticed or will be completely ineffective with the growing population segment that has adopted an impatient driving style.

  13. I know that for the Bike Fed I’m posting a broken record.

    We were in Mississippi in March and were shocked to see the following video on TV as a public service announcement.

    This video was funded by the Mississippi State DOT. I don’t know if there were screams of outrage over this PSA. but I’m sure there were.

    Could we not find someone with some bucks to run a similar PSA in Wisconsin? I know the State wouldn’t do it these days.

    P.S. Jerry, I slow down coming to a stop sign, shift into lower gears, look both ways, being prepared to stop, and if the road is clear, I’ll ride through the intersection at walking speeds. Better than the majority of cars. They can kill: I can’t kill anyone in a car by hitting them. (I saw a cop run a red light the other day. I shouted “nice stop.” Stupid of me.)

  14. I wonder how Jerry and Shawn would feel about the following scenario? One of their loved ones is driving a car on a three lane highway in the middle or left lane and slows to 15 mph for a lawful reason. A semi driver plows into the loved one at a speed of 60-65 mph and kills the loved one. People make the following comments:

    1. Why wasn’t the car driver in the right lane? Don’t they know it is safer?
    2. Why didn’t the car driver use a back road that doesn’t allow semi’s? Don’t they realize that in a crash involving a car and semi that the semi will win every time?
    3. Why didn’t the car driver look in their mirror and get out of the path of the semi approaching from the rear?
    4. Was the car driver wearing a helmet?
    5. What type of shoes did the car driver have on?
    6. Why was the car driver on this road during a time that the sun made it hard for semi driver’s to see cars?
    7. I have seen some other car drivers (not this one) roll stops before in my life. Because I saw other people in cars roll stop signs, this car driver must somehow be at fault for getting hit by a semi from behind.
    8. Did the car driver have his or her radio on when he/she got hit from behind by the semi going 60-65 mph?
    9. How many car drivers have to get killed on our roads before car drivers figure out that they should not use the same roads as semi’s?
    10. If a car driver chooses to use the same road as a semi and the car driver sees a semi behind them they should immediately pull off the road because it is just too hard for the semi drivers to see those little cars.
    11. Why are people always blaming the poor semi drivers and focusing on what they did wrong? Shouldn’t we spend more time teaching car drivers how to avoid getting hit from behind by someone not paying attention, or someone who can’t see where they are going but still chooses to speed?

  15. Is there any sort of performance report on the effectiveness of Share and be Aware? My experience in Green Bay is a complete absence of motorist behavior improvement. Even the regional DOT and Green Bay DPW engineers and Police shrug their shoulders in public meetings over endemic speeding and seem to think it’s perfectly OK to drive 5, 10 or 15 over the limit as long as it’s within the 85th percentile rule.

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