Motorist Overtaking Fatalities in Urban Areas

The U.S. DOT/NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System now includes a code for bicyclist crash type. The map below has the 2015 fatalities that involve motorist overtaking in urban areas.

Of the 817 total fatalities:

  • 380 (46.5%) occurred in daylight; the remainder occurred in darkness, dusk, or dawn (with one unknown lighting condition);
  • 214 (26%) were on roadways classified as urban;
  • 233 (29%) involved motorist overtaking;
  • 113 (14%) were on urban roadways in daylight;
  • 94 (12%) were motorist overtaking collisions on urban roads, and 44 of these occurred in daylight (5% of the total).

This last group is the ones that urban bike facilities can possibly prevent. Although these roadways are classified as urban, they are not necessarily the type that are targeted for protected bike facilities.

If you have any more information about these overtaking fatalities, particularly the ones in daylight, please add it in the comments below, including links to news stories.

9 Responses to “Motorist Overtaking Fatalities in Urban Areas

  • Paul Schimek
    1 week ago

    Case 421,081, Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh:
    “Ms. Hicks was behind a vehicle at a red light in the left turning lane of Forbes at its intersection with South Bellefield. A car in one of two through lanes attempted to cross over into the turning lane but struck a vehicle behind the cyclist. That car then struck the bicycle, pushing it into the car in front of it and knocking it over, between the two vehicles.”
    “Homicide by vehicle and other charges were filed Friday against David Witherspoon, 49, of Beltzhoover, who police said was speeding and never hit the brakes before he rammed into a car stopped at a red light at the corner of Forbes and South Bellefield avenues about 5:30 p.m. Oct. 23.
    Following the crash, the witness said, Witherspoon opened the car door and fell out onto the street. Witherspoon was taken to UPMC Presbyterian even though medics said they didn’t notice any injuries.

    The medics did say, however, that Witherspoon and his car smelled of marijuana.

    Investigators said they found a marijuana joint on the floor of Witherspoon’s car near the gas and brake pedals. They said they also found a package of synthetic marijuana marked “Wonderland” in the center console. Results from a urine test conducted at the hospital showed that Witherspoon had in his blood at the time of the collision “synthetic cannabinoid,” which police said may be used as an alternative to marijuana.

    Witherspoon’s license had been suspended since February 2008. He currently is awaiting trial in two criminal cases and has previously been charged with felony drug crimes.”

    CONCLUSION: Drug-impaired and speeding motorist hit car that hit bicyclist stopped at red signal.

  • Paul Schimek
    6 days ago

    Case 330,047, Exeter, NH
    “State police said a red 1997 Ford Roll off-container truck, owned by Pinard Waste Management Systems and driven by Mark Lancey, 49, of Milton, was stopped at a construction zone when a bicyclist, identified as Margaret Rugg, 64, of Exeter was traveling eastbound in the breakdown lane approaching the construction zone site.

    Police said as traffic was being directed through the lane closure Rugg continued eastbound, attempting to maneuver through the lane closure. Witnesses told police she lost her balance and fell into the path of the container truck, suffering life threatening injuries. She was later pronounced dead at the scene. Lancey, the driver of the truck, was not injured in the collision.”

    CONCLUSION: Not motorist overtaking. Bicyclist overtaking stopped truck on the right, in the shoulder; truck started to move right and knocked her over.

  • SiteAdmin
    6 days ago

    Case 460,366 Brooklyn, NY

    “A 57-year-old bicyclist died Monday morning after colliding with a box truck in Ditmas Park.
    The man, who has not been identified pending family notification, was riding along on Church Avenue around 10:25 a.m. when he came in contact with the truck, according to police. The bicyclist and driver were apparently side-by-side going eastbound near Ocean Avenue when the bicyclist fell under the rear tires of the truck.”
    CONCLUSION: Not clear if the motorist passed the bicyclist too closely, or bicyclist moved to right of slow moving truck. Happened near intersection. In either case the bicyclist was not hit from behind, but rather was knocked over by the side of the truck, and then fell under the rear tires. This situation can often be avoided by bicyclists by staying behind trucks (and moving out of the way should one pull beside too closely).

  • SiteAdmin
    6 days ago

    Case 360,655 Staten Island, NY

    A 2015 Toyota SUV was traveling north on Hylan Boulevard with a boat in tow when it tried to change lanes and its trailer detached. The trailer continued rolling in the right lane, striking the 22-year-old bicyclist. The boat then hit Cioffi, who was pinned under the vehicle as it stopped. The driver of the Toyota remained on the scene. It is not yet clear if the fishing boat was properly attached to the Toyota.
    Police are investigating if the trailer hitch was somehow modified, and whether that cause it to become unsafe.

    CONCLUSION: Not motorist overtaking. Although the motorist was overtaking, this should be classified as Code 800 in PBCAT, which is used by NHTSA to code bicyclist crash types. It is called “set-in-motion situations such as; propelling an object”. From the FARS bike and ped manual:
    “800 (Unusual Circumstances) is used when there were other unusual circumstances not defined by the other attributes. This would include all set-in-motion situations such as; propelling an object, animal, or parked vehicle into the bicyclist. Also includes a vehicle to vehicle collision where an intransport vehicle is re-directed into the bicyclist. Crashes involving a bicyclist and a driverless motor vehicle in-transport are included here.”

  • SiteAdmin
    6 days ago

    Case 340,272 Medford, NJ

    “on Sunday morning at about 9am, Eileen Marmino, 34 was struck and killed by a 69-year-old woman traveling in the same direction on Church Road in Medford, NJ. Church Rd. has moderate to wide shoulders and a speed limit of 50 mph.”

    CONCLUSION: High-speed rural road in suburban area. No information in the various articles about why the driver might have hit the bicyclist, who was presumably in the shoulder. NOTE: check FARS for driver impairment.

  • Paul Schimek
    6 days ago

    Case 410,530 Botetourt, VA

    “From Virginia State Police: We are seeking the public’s assistance with an ongoing investigation into a fatal crash in Botetourt County. Virginia State Police Trooper C.W. Carrico Jr., responded to the crash Friday (Oct. 16). The crash occurred at 5:10 p.m., on Route 11, less than a mile north of Stoney Battery Road just north of Troutville. A bicyclist and a tractor-trailer were both traveling south on Highway 11 when they collided in the southbound lane. The impact of the crash caused the bike to run off the right side of the highway and into the trees. The bicyclist, a 66-year-old Chinese national, died at the scene.”

    “A truck driver who said he was blinded by the glare of a setting autumn sun when he struck and killed a bicyclist on U.S. 11 in Troutville was convicted Thursday of reckless driving.

    Bradley Leonard Karnes, 28, was sentenced to 60 days in jail under a plea agreement reached in Botetourt County Circuit Court.

    A driver for Lawrence Transportation, Karnes was headed south on the highway through Troutville the evening of Oct. 21, 2015, when the tractor-trailer he was driving stuck a bicycle that had strayed from the side of the road into the lane of traffic.

    The impact killed Jingpu Jain, a 67-year-old Chinese man who was visiting the United States as part of a bicycling trip, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Lethia Hammond said.

    Police found no evidence of speeding, intoxication or other negligence by Karnes, who was driving into a setting sun at about 6:20 p.m. A dirty windshield made visibility even worse that day, defense attorney Tony Anderson said.

    Karnes told police that he thought he had struck a piece of trash in the road, and continued driving. After he arrived at Lawrence Transportation a few miles down the road, he saw damage to the front of the truck that indicated something worse.

    By then, a state trooper had arrived at the trucking company, based on accounts he was given at the scene of the accident. Karnes was charged with hit-and-run, a felony that was reduced Thursday to reckless driving.

    Jain, who was riding alone, was in the U.S. on a travel visa .

    Earlier in the day, police saw him riding his bike on Interstate 81 and directed him onto U.S. 11. At the time of the accident, he was traveling in the same direction as southbound traffic but was several feet over the white line along the side of the road, attorneys said.

    Karnes, of Salem, no longer works for Lawrence Transportation.

    Under the plea agreement, he received 12 months in jail, to be suspended after he serves 60 days. He will then be placed on unsupervised probation for a year.”

    First article says that it was just at the edge of Troutville. Rt 11 at this point, per Google Streetview, has 2 lanes and no shoulder, and the posted speed limit goes from 40 to 55 mph at this point.,-79.8713563,3a,15y,35.97h,87.97t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sWzUyOpKftNQ7WXlx2BCUgA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    CONCLUSION: High-speed road, not in urban area. Motorist blind by sun, but kept driving anyway. (Why does the defense attorney think that a dirty windshield reduces culpability rather than the opposite?)

  • Paul Schimek
    6 days ago

    Case 130,341 Columbus, GA
    “The bicyclist who was struck Thursday afternoon has died, according to the Muscogee County coroner.
    The victim, identified as James Wright, Jr., 51 passed away at 10:22 p.m. Thursday night after he was transported from Midtown Medical Center to Atlanta due to the severity of his injuries.
    The accident occurred around 3:44 p.m. near Lawyers Lane and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. on Thursday afternoon. According to Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan, the cause of death was blunt force trauma to head, legs and abdomen.
    According to Bryan, the bicyclist rode out into the road and in front of the driver. The driver did not leave the scene of the accident. It is not clear whether the driver who hit Wright will face charges.”,+Columbus,+GA+31906/@32.4552077,-84.9546147,3a,75y,101.46h,71.18t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sqDrnQG2d7C2Zt1-0Lf6aOg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x888ccd46e9811257:0xa2305a9197646c06!8m2!3d32.4551835!4d-84.9543173

    CONCLUSION: Not motorist overtaking. Bicyclist rode out (from sidewalk? stop sign? driveway?) . MLK has 2 narrow lanes in each direction, plus turn, lane, no shoulders, very narrow sidewalk on one side only. Posted speed limit is 35 mph. Basically it sucks.

  • Paul Schimek
    6 days ago

    Case 220,486 New Iberia, LA
    Bicyclist killed after Iberia vehicle accident
    Posted: Sep 25, 2015 10:01 PM EDT
    Updated: Sep 25, 2015 10:01 PM EDT

    One person is dead and another is in jail after a traffic accident in Iberia Parish.

    Deputies responded to a person on a bicycle being hit by a vehicle Friday afternoon around 2:10 p.m.

    Investigators say the vehicle and a person on a bicycle were both headed south on Corrine Street when the vehicle struck the bicyclist in the 800 block.

    The bicyclist was severely injured, and transported to a local hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries.

    The driver Geraldine Jones, 48 of New Iberia, was arrested and charged with careless operation and driving with a suspended license. Deputies are advising that more charges could follow at the conclusion of the investigation.

    Impairment is not suspected on either person, but toxicology samples were taken and will be tested by the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab.
    Low-speed urban street –,+New+Iberia,+LA+70560/@30.0050047,-91.8303828,3a,58.4y,37.87h,75.18t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1szlXRUCgcNZwvVJd59eaI2Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x862382805ac1616b:0x4e45939a59a79150!8m2!3d30.0055813!4d-91.8299416

    CONCLUSION: Need more information. Driver charged with careless operation, but no felony, at least initially. Impairment not suspected, but no test results.

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