Cyclist hit, killed by driver in Manitowoc County

Robert Hughes, a 68 year old man from Kiel, Wisconsin was hit by a 27 year-old driver on April 8th and later died after being transported to the hospital. Hughes was riding his bicycle on County Road XX in the township of Meeme.  This is the second bicycle fatality in Wisconsin in 2019 compared to one, this date in 2018.

Diptich image of County HWY XXX plan view over a Google Street View shows no shoulders.

County XX does not have paved shoulders or a parallel side path in the area where the crash happened.

According to a media release from the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office, deputies and EMS personnel responded to the incident on County Road XX between Herr and Pioneer roads Monday at approximately 3:39 p.m.  The 27-year-old Manitowoc woman was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Captiva when she collided with Robert K. Hughes, who was riding a bicycle on County Road XX. Hughes was transported to a hospital in Neenah, where he later died, the release said.

According to the police report, Hughes was traveling east bound on CTY Rd XX when he was hit from behind by the driver. The cyclist was wearing a helmet and wearing a reflective jacket. The report lists the cause of the crash was listed as inattentive or erratic driving, but the crash remains under investigation by the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office, Manitowoc County Coroner’s Office and the Wisconsin State Patrol.

When driving, we are required to give our  full attention to the task of driving and give at least three feet when passing a bicyclist.


Even though more can be done to improve safety, it is important to remember cycling remains a safe and healthy activity. The rate of cyclist deaths in Wisconsin has declined significantly since 1970.

Chart of crash statistics from 2011 to 2016.

There are other states and countries with much lower crash rates, so we still have quite a bit of work to do.

People driving can make efforts by taking care when driving on any of our roads in Wisconsin, and by actively looking for people biking and giving them at least three feet of space whenever passing. In turn, people biking should ride in the same direction as traffic, travel in the correct lane for the their destination, communicate with hand signals and use lights to when riding.  Robert had taken all of those precautions.

About Carolyn Dvorak, Southwest Region Director

Carolyn lives in La Crosse with her husband and two daughters. She has loved riding a bicycle throughout her life. She enjoys working in the La Crosse area helping to create great places to bicycle.

3 thoughts on “Cyclist hit, killed by driver in Manitowoc County


    Bike Fed should plan a year of 3′ activism with hand outs of free 3′ noodles to every road rider and 3′ rides every weekend on a roadway where a bicyclist has been murdered by a car driver with a media and public info event at each site to push the same true and heartbreaking story state wide. The mascot could be a bicycling squirrel because bicyclists seem to currently have about the same level of rights and protections as squirrels. Possibly this could accompany a legislative push to increase and make mandatory stiffer sentences (was this driver charged?) and for modern bike infrastructure that physically separates motor vehicles from bicyclists. This tragedy might help make a difference going forward if it spurs a higher level of determination for change. My heart goes out to this family.

  2. Isn’t the law broader than that; “Every vehicle must yield 3 feet lateral space to all other vehicles and stationary objects”?

  3. Remember – even if the cyclist had been on a low-profile recumbent wearing grayish camoflage clothing, it is still not OK for the driver to kill him. While the details show how egregious this crime likely was, it is not a reason for all cyclists to excuse anyone who kills someone who is not in reflective gear. While it might be in practice true that a WI drivers license is a license to kill, we should not make that true in theory.

    I have seen this summer the depressing sight of foolish cyclists galore wearing blinking lights front and year in broad daylight. This does nothing but give drivers yet another excuse to kill you. It does not help your visibility. It just makes others a target. How soon until every car hitting a cyclist news report says, “The cyclist was wearing a helment, reflective gear, and lights.”

    Cars hit cyclists because the drivers don’t care. It’s has nothing to do with whether they see you.

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