Bicyclist dies from injuries after being struck by a car

A 52-year-old bicyclist died on Pioneer Road at the bike crossing.  This is the third bicycle fatality in Wisconsin this year compared to two at this time last year.

Police have identified the victim as Darlene Mingo of Cedarburg. This was a terrible tragedy.  Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Darlene Mingo.

The crash happened at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, May 23, according to Cedarburg Police Capt. Glenn Lindberg.

One westbound car stopped for Mingo on her bike, but another westbound car failed to stop and struck her, Lindberg said.  Mingo was taken to the hospital by Flight for Life; she died days later.

photo from Qzaukee Interurban Trail website.

Police Chief Thomas Frank said the driver who struck Mingo is a 33-year-old Cedarburg man. Frank said police are waiting for the results of blood tests and other reports to decide whether to cite the driver or seek criminal charges against him.

Unfortunately, this is a common crash type at crosswalks.

Whenever any vehicle is stopped at an intersection or crosswalk to permit a pedestrian, personal delivery device, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device to cross the roadway, the operator of any other vehicle approaching from the rear may not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.346.24(3)

The most important responsibility of drivers is to attend to the task of driving,eliminate distractions and pay attention to all other road users.

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.

Immediately following the crash, the bicycle crossing signs on the road were replaced with larger more visible signs that include both bicycle and pedestrian symbols.  The Interurban Advisory Council will be meeting with municipalities to talk about short-term and long-term solutions to the crossings of the Interurban trail.  Municipalities along this corridor see the value in the trail and want to work together to make the crossings safe and comfortable for all trail users.

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.

8 thoughts on “Bicyclist dies from injuries after being struck by a car

  1. Many of us realize that pedestrian right-of-way laws are a mixed blessing, especially at a crossing
    like that one at Pioneer Road.
    It is a heavily trafficked, four-lane, 35 mph road, and even if one driver grants you the right, there is no guarantee that oncoming traffic in the other THREE lanes have even noticed what’s going on,
    beyond being irritated that someone has stopped in their lane for no apparent reason.
    I wonder if safety at like intersections might be better served by the type of signaling seen
    at many school crossings these days, in which the pedestrian pushes a button to activate
    lighting which stops all traffic.
    Drivers may not notice the pedestrian, but it’s hard to ignore that big red light, and the fact
    that everyone around them is stopping.

    • A flashing light does provide a visual cue to drivers to slow down and watch for people. There are often drivers that intentionally use this cue as an opportunity to speed up and sail through the crossing. I always look at the drivers in each traffic lane before proceeding.

    • I think the lights only provide one more thing for drivers to ignore and feel entitled. The street crossing by the library in Whitefish Bay has huge flashing lights, but less than half the cars stop for them. I don’t bother with it. Pressing that button is a total waste. It means nothing.

      Every over-the-top solution gives drivers one more reason to ignore the more subtle indicators. They give the police, district attorneys, and juries more reasons to make irresponsible driving acceptable.

      Only groups like the Bike Fed can help us change that culture and save lives.

  2. First off, I do not believe in any way this was the cyclist’s fault. We live in a culture that encourages crazy driving and absolves drivers of deadly motor vehicles from any responsibility for their behavior.

    That, and it’s as if the City of Cedarburg was trying to manufacture a fatality. This crossing is awful.

    I can compare the horrendous labeling of this and other crossings in Ozaukee County to a bike path I used in Florida. Florida overall is way worse than Wisconsin in terms of wild driving and rotten cycling environment, but the path I took (around Tampa) was obvious to drivers. It had signs, street markings, and speed humps. The drivers were paying attention, too, which felt strange for being in America. I could not believe Florida was outperforming Wisconsin in bicycle infrastructure.

    After using this FL trail, I was so impressed that upon returning and having to drive down Pioneer Road, I looked for the Ozaukee County trail. I could not find it! I drove back and forth and thought, “It must be around here somewhere.” I rode it by bike, and after returning a couple of weeks later driving, was able to finally locate it after considerable searching. It was almost camoflaged. Speeding is rampant on Pioneer Road, though I have never seen a police car or traffic stop. I have to drive this street for work sometimes, and it was depressing even before a cyclist was killed on it.

    So now the Town of Cedarburg finally spends a couple hundred bucks on noticeable signs. Guess someone had to get killed in this particular location for them to think it was worth it.

    • I also do not believe the crash was the fault of the bicyclist. It is true that drivers must be completely attentive to the task of driving, watch for people on bikes and walking and never pass a vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk or trail crossing.

  3. I believe that all road users — motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians of all stripes, including elderly in electric mobility carts and hipsters on skateboards — need to share the responsibility for safety at crossings.  As you well know, Carolyn, there are several locations in La Crosse alone with high-traffic pedestrian crossings spanning major arterials, such as West Avenue (WI Hwy 35) near UW-La Crosse or 8th Street (WI Hwy 16 near WWTC) where pedestrian traffic, at times, is almost continuous, spaced out like beads on a chain.  A person driving along these streets/highways could be delayed for excessively long times as one person crosses, then, just as that person clears the crosswalk another person starts across.

    And even though the speed limits in the areas I cited are posted at 25 mph, let’s be realistic.  No one, not even the police, drive at the limit — 30 mph is the new 25 mph, and speeds of 35 mph on most through streets — in almost any city, not just La Crosse — is much closer to the norm.

    While pedestrian rights (and by extension, cyclist rights) is a good thing, the idea of a pedestrian having absolutely no obligation to make sure that the way is (reasonably) clear and safe before stepping off the curb into traffic and trusting that the vehicle approaching will (or can) stop. You wouldn’t walk out in front of a moving train, would you?

    And speaking as a Life Member of the League of American Bicyclists, I also wish we — the cycling community — would once and for all decide whether or not a bicycle is a vehicle, to be granted all the rights and to be bound by all the rules that goes with that, or if it is a sidewalk toy.  This idea of it being a hermaphroditic half-vehicle/half-toy with the user deciding which form is most advantageous under the circumstances — especially with more and more motor-assist bicycles coming into use — just shouldn’t be right.

    • All road users have a right to the road. The big difference is those that are driving have the ability to cause injury or take the life of those walking or riding a bike.

      In urban settings where there is a lot of movement, we have the obligation to drive slowly and watch for people. I don’t think there are many of us who want to be responsible for taking the life of another because we were not willing to slow down and let another person cross the street.

  4. My wife and I have biked this portion of the trail early morning for over ten years every weekday weather permitting. We have many times witnessed both east and west bound auto drivers swerving around a stopped car in a lane for cyclists and hard accelerate through.

    One week at the same time of day after the fatality there were two young adults holding flowers on the North side of the intersection in remembrance of the victim, very tough to ride past this.

    A pedestrian/cyclist crossing with a button to stop traffic is the sensible and responsible thing to do for the city of Cedarburg. Although the auto drivers who stop in one lane are trying to be helpful never trust the drivers in other lanes and wave the stopped vehicle through.

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