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Archive for Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cyclists on lookout for hit-and-run driver

July 20, 2010

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Bicyclists upset by hit-and-run incident

Several local bicycle enthusiasts claim they were victims of an angry truck driver Thursday. The driver of the car reportedly swerved to hit one of the riders and then drove away. Enlarge video

Curtis Martell, director of the Free State Racing Team of Lawrence, shows a bicycle that was destroyed when a pickup truck driver ran a cyclist off the road.

Curtis Martell, director of the Free State Racing Team of Lawrence, shows a bicycle that was destroyed when a pickup truck driver ran a cyclist off the road.

1000 block of E1400 Road

Curtis Martell has been riding bikes in Lawrence for 15 years. He says he moved to the area because it’s so bicycle-friendly.

But Thursday night, he says, he witnessed someone being anything but friendly to his group of cyclists. “There were seven of us riding our bikes, riding along in a single-file line, and a black truck came up beside us and started to yell,” Martell said.

The group was traveling in the area of the 1000 section of East 1400 Road in the county.

Martell said words were exchanged between the angry driver and his group, and then one of the bicyclists was struck. “We were traveling about 25 miles per hour; it all happened really, really fast,” he said.

Martell said the driver was apparently upset that he had to share the road with the bicyclists and appeared to have intentionally hit the lead rider, who fell from his bike. The injured bicyclist had scrapes to his back. His bike, his helmet and his clothes were all damaged.

Martell said the driver didn’t stop, but instead took off down the road.

The driver was described as a white male in his 40s, with dark blond, shoulder-length hair. He was reportedly driving an older model, four-door, black Chevy truck.

Martell said he’s confident, with the help of the public, that the driver will be arrested. “We’re going to patrol that road and that area,” he said. “We’re going to look for that vehicle; and if I see it, I’ll recognize it, and we’ll report it.”

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 843-TIPS.

Comments

Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

BOTTOM LINE:

The truck driver had no business intentionally smacking a cyclist no matter what!

Cyclists have been using these county roads for years it is NOT unusual

These cyclists are more athletes than commuters and/or recreational riders therefore bike paths are not practical

Cyclist have as much right to the roads as anybody else after all cyclists pay taxes and most own cars that get taxed.

This truck driver needs to be prosecuted. Might have been drinking it seems.

County commissioners might want to put some big teeth in county laws regarding this unacceptable behavior.

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hughjanney 3 years, 9 months ago

I was one of the seven riders there that night. After reading all these comments, it seems to me some crucial points are missing. First, competitive cyclists are well aware of the dangers inherent in the sport. So please don't refer to our "stupidity" or lecture us on safety. We are making the choice, and are well aware of the dangers. It is important to recognize that we are taking all the risk; car drivers don't get killed by cyclists. Cyclists get hurt and die all the time, even when cars aren't involved. Riding in a peloton inches from other bikes is inherently dangerous. All we ask is that motorists don't actively try to kill us. Second, we were racing that night. We were riding single file at a rapid pace. Anybody that understands bike racing knows we can't ride on bike paths or sidewalks at that speed. We occasionally have to ride on Hwy 32 or 24 in order to get to a county road. The latter is our venue of choice, but they are hard to get to at times, so we use highways as a conduit. When those highways have shoulders, we generally stay on them. Not to say that cyclists don't do stupid stunts on the roads, but you can't blame all of us for the actions of some. That would be like blaming all motorists for the actions of this particular truck driver. Finally, the whole single-file versus two-abreast really comes down to safety, our safety, and since we are taking all the risk, our safety comes ahead of motorist convenience. Riding two-abreast is safer for us because motorists are forced to pass us like any other vehicle, and not just slip by without moving into the other lane. It makes them slow down in many cases, but so what? We are not talking about I-70 here. The truck the other night had no problem getting around us even though we were riding (racing) down the middle of the lane! There was no other traffic around, which is often the case. If the seven of us were jammed in a pickup pulling a boat would he have run us off the road for going too slow? I seriously doubt it.

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thuja 3 years, 9 months ago

Cyclists riding two or more abreast on rural highways can talk to each other and forget that they are obstacles subject to the whims of increasingly inattentive drivers.

No small wonder that these riders do that, and one of them got hit.

The law shouldn't blind you into forgetting that stupidity is your choice.

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garyr 3 years, 9 months ago

snap_pop_no_crackle (anonymous) says… "...a black truck came up beside us and started to yell,” A yelling truck? I'd buy that for a dollar.


Prime suspect: Cletus from the movie "Cars". Case closed boys, put the wheel lock on em'.

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Norma Jeane Baker 3 years, 9 months ago

Cyclists don't have to use the shoulder, thuja. We are entitled to use the road. Many times, the shoulder presents more dangers than the road.

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thuja 3 years, 9 months ago

"Stop exaggerating the inconvenience of groups of cyclists on the road."

My point exactly, grimpeur. Stop taking up the whole lane.

As it is, this bike crash happened on a road that has a nice, wide shoulder to ride on. Why ride in the road and get hit if you don't have to?

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grimpeur 3 years, 9 months ago

If you don't want to drive near cyclists, then stick to the car-only trail: the interstate. Otherwise, expect to see cyclists on all our roads all the time. And it doesn't matter how many abreast cyclists may ride: if there is oncoming traffic, you simply don't pass. Clear enough? There is not enough room.

If you want to drive on the rest of the roads, then you'll have to pay more, since car-related taxes only provide about a quarter of the state's road budget. I have three large trucks, two cars and two motorcycles. I also buy milk, shirts, and guitar strings, which provide most of the tax revenue required by our endless thirst for new pavement. Needless to say, I pay my fair share of road taxes. If I want to ride my bike to work or for pleasure on the county roads, I will.

The fact that these incidents have only happened when: 1) text junkies take to the road and blindly run over people, or 2) cowards take to the road and commit crimes like this one make it pretty clear that riding on our county roads is safe for everyone involved. Bikes and cars. Anti-bike claptrap thinlyl disguised as safety concern is bunk. If you were concerned, you'd speak up for more restrictions on motorists, because motorists, not cyclists, are the hazards out there.

Roads were made for cyclists long before there were cars. The fact that roads can accommodate cars does not mean bikes should not be there, any more than the fact that roads can accommodate my large dump truck going 90 mph means that slow cars should not be on the road.

Stop exaggerating the inconvenience of groups of cyclists on the road. They are infrequent enough that the delays are negligible, especially compared to the relatively frequent and extensive delays and congestion caused by cars.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 9 months ago

"...a black truck came up beside us and started to yell,” A yelling truck? I'd buy that for a dollar.

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Norma Jeane Baker 3 years, 9 months ago

Comparing Lawrence and the surrounding area to South Central? Nice, but a red herring.

As far as the cyclists giving a pleasant greeting in return, many of us do just that. Many!

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commuter 3 years, 9 months ago

With all of the bike lanes here in Lawrence, why do cyclsts continue to drive on country roads??? It is not like they are to a specific place??? If seem like we have wasted all of the money for bike lanes that are noty used as intended.

Also, hearing that the cyclists said "Thank you & have a nice day" sounds nice but I do not buy it. I have had too many cyclists go on a tirade that would make sailors look like infants. It is too bad it happened but sometimes you need to take accountability for your own actions.

Just because I can go just about anywhere is the US, do I go to South Central LA or other areas that have a lot of acts of violence?? No because I do not want to be hurt or get "killed."

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asramas 3 years, 9 months ago

When a cyclist rides on the road with machines, they knowingly take and accept a chance that they will be maimed or die. It is the nature of the road.

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asramas 3 years, 9 months ago

Cyclists don't pay the road taxes. And they don't follow the rules of the road. They are not considerate, and they take chances that could kill them. Most have very, very little respect for others on the road.

I think they should ride the sidewalk and stay off the road.

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thuja 3 years, 9 months ago

It makes me wonder if your group was the one I nearly pulled over to chat with coming in to 31st and Haskell from the south after seeing these cyclists riding three abreast on a road that I wouldn't ride my bike on, period, and causing some bottleneck situations with the 55mph car traffic...

From one cyclist to another, I would urge your group to please refrain from riding two or more abreast. I just think it infuriates those drivers that are already annoyed with our presence. Single file is safer all around, regardless of what the law says.

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love2fish_ks 3 years, 9 months ago

with all the calls for a special bike trail throughout Lawrence, would the biking community suppport a bike tax to pay for it? Similar to the property taxes that vehicles pay? Would the lawrence bike community go to work and raise 4M or more to pay for the bike path? Would they use it (the lake is there and not robustly used)?

Every year bikers die on the roadway. What are the solutions? Restating the laws doesn't seem to do much good.

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Eride 3 years, 9 months ago

I think it is great that a driver of a vehicle can run someone over on purpose and there are still people who will come on here and attack the victim even though he had a lawful right to be there and did nothing wrong.

Anyone who has driven around this town knows how bad and inconsiderate the drivers are. I can't even remember the last time someone properly stopped at a stop sign. Just like there are bad drivers (a lot of them) there are bad cyclists and bad pedestrians. But just because someone annoys you or maneuvers in a way that is against the law doesn't make it alright to act in a way that places other peoples lives in danger.

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consumer1 3 years, 9 months ago

Lawrencebiker, Happy you are okay.

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ThatGirl2 3 years, 9 months ago

Lawrencebiker (anonymous) replies… I could have been "killed".


I don't think you need those quotes. I'm pretty certain you could have been killed.

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TrooGrit 3 years, 9 months ago

Here's the words that were exchanged (likely, hypothetically):

Motorist: Why don't you dumb asses get off the road? Bicyclist: Hey, we're just trying to ride the same road as you! Motorist: Oh, you wanna make something of it? Bicyclist goes down.

Any questions?

Remember, aborigines come in all shapes and sizes, no disrespect to any Aborigines meant.

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ralphralph 3 years, 9 months ago

"words were exchanged"

There's your trouble. You are on a bike, some guy drives by, probably already mad about something else or maybe just a jerk, he yells at your group of cyclists, and you .... provoke him. Nice work.

No, it does excuse what he did, but it explains part of it. Use your head a little and you can avoid confrontations and tragedies. Flying down the road is not the time to convince a rude driver of the error of his ways, and trying to do so is less likely to get him won over than to get you run over.

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gatekeeper 3 years, 9 months ago

I am in no way supporting the person that hit the cyclist. But, I would like to say that there are lots of cyclists that ride the rural highways and make it dangerous for both the cyclist and drivers. In particular, there are spots where there are curves in the road and you can't see that once you round the curve, there are a dozen cyclists going 25 when the drivers are doing the speed limit (65 usually). I have seen so many close calls because cyclists want to ride on rural highways. Those highways aren't designed for cyclists and they endanger everyone on the highway. cyclists can ride on the levee and be safe. They can ride the bike trails around Clinton. But any cyclists riding on rural highways aren't using their heads. I have seen so many close calls and I unfortunately know that one day I will end up witnessing an accident.

And cyclists, when riding the bridge over the river, get on the pathways on the sides of the bridge. I see so many close calls on that bridge and the pathways on the sides are for walkers and cyclists.

drivers don't always react well to cyclists, but I constantly watch cyclists do totally stupid things that continue to amaze me.

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TrooGrit 3 years, 9 months ago

Inconsiderate doesn't mean injury. I honk my horn at 'em if I know they did something boneheaded, but I've done boneheaded things too on a bicycle.

Bottom line, we need to watch out for each other..cars..and bicycles. It's the only way to be! Just the golden rule folks...just do unto others as you'd have done unto yourselves. Simple, really.

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Curtis Martell 3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the supportive comments that have been posted. I also understand the frustration some have expressed here and in other posts about the way cyclists are sometimes inconsiderate. I agree with you and I'm a cyclist and the guy being interviewed for this story. Most of us also agree that this was a case of assult, and leaving the scene of an accident, and probably some other crimes and was not justified in any way.

There are a few things I feel we all should agree on: 1. Bicycles are vehichles, are subject to all traffic laws and have a right to use the roadways. 2. Bicycles are allowed to legally ride 2 abreast and "...shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable..." 3. Bicycles must share the roadways with cars, trucks, tractors, pedestrians, and other bicycles 4. Motorists are required to make a legal pass of any vehicle including bicycles. 5. Bicycling is a very popular activity in Lawrence.

I in no way want to defend the actions of this driver. To me it was a road rage type of incident and this person either is ignorant of items 1-4 or ignoring them because he clearly did not like sharing the road. But...

I have observed many groups of cyclists ignoring item 1 and 2. My cycling freinds sometimes choose to ignore item 2 in particular and this makes motorists angry. As if sharing the road with motorists and the other hazards of cycling are not enough, we as cyclists - especially while riding in groups - are adding to the rage of some motorists by using up more roadway than we should sometimes. But overall I think the cycling community rides 2 abreast and as far to the right as practicable about 99 percent of the time.

Everyone can produce an anecdote supporting one side of the "cyclists should not be on the roads" or the other and that's all they are - anecdotes. The facts are Items 1-4 are the laws most of us support. If you don't support the law as written, write your elected representatives. If see someone driving recklesly call the police. If you see cyclists riding illegally call the police don't use your vehicle as a weapon.

I for one will be riding more carefully and looking at the license tag of every motorist that passes me while I'm out enjoying my right to cycle and wear tight fitting shorts.

Curtis Martell Director Free State Racing Team

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aequitas80 3 years, 9 months ago

Same truck/person as Mirecki described? Coincidence?

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TrooGrit 3 years, 9 months ago

Lawrencebiker, you have my empathy, and my vote, and I pray for your speedy recovery. This is just unconscionable, and the perp will be caught. This is undoubtedly some neanderthal who probably should be locked away, anyway. I know some cyclists don't follow the rules of the road, but I try to watch out for them anyway. Car vs bicycle, car always wins. I guess some people just don't get that.

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Lawrencebiker 3 years, 9 months ago

I was the cyclist hit in this incident.

It is normal protocol for the riders at the back to warn of cars coming from behind or the people at the front to warn of any other dangers on the road. We are very careful to watch for such things as potholes and loose gravel. These things are constantly being pointed out. The law says we can ride two abreast and we strictly adhere to that. We also take turns leading and following. We rotate when traffic is clear and usually yell "clear" so the riders dropping back can do so safely. The other riders move forward.

Last Thursday night I was at the front and we were in single file. I did not hear the words being exchanged from behind. Seconds before I was hit, somebody yelled "watch out". I was desperately trying to get off the road as the pickup was getting nearer to me. As I looked down I was on the shoulder and then the bike came out from underneath me. I believe the truck tire hit my front well. In fact the tire of my bike came off the rim. In 23 years of riding in Douglas County I have never been hit. I have been in the ditch a few times by people running me off the road but never "HIT". I had no way of getting out of this guys way as he came upon me so quickly. I did nothing to provoke the man.

What I would like the readers of this article to understand, is just how defenseless us cyclist are against a vehicle. I am very lucky my injuries were not worse. I also have injuries on my left leg and shoulder. Next time somebody gets hit, they may not be so lucky. Please be careful and please consider the safety of cyclist on the road. Nobody needs to be killed because somebody is angry or because they are irritated with somebody riding a bike.

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pfunk81 3 years, 9 months ago

Anyone heard from consumer1 lately?

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TrooGrit 3 years, 9 months ago

Man, I hope they catch the piece of inferior work that did this. That is lower than low, to run down a bicyclist for sport, and that sounds like this is just what happened. Throw this guy in jail, and throw away the key!

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MacHeath 3 years, 9 months ago

There is no doubt that some cyclists do stupid things. I see it every day. I see automobile drivers do stupid things too..including myself. We share these roadways, like it or not. We will continue to share these roadways, like it or not. Just use your damned heads, and keep cool.

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HaRDNoK9 3 years, 9 months ago

How a person can be so thoughtless about hurting someone is just beyond me. I think the driver deserves to be in jail for a long time.

With that said, let me share: Over the Independence Day holiday I spent a lot of time at Lone Start Lake. Lots of riders out that way over the holiday. Riders that were decked out, too with shaved legs and spandex. Riders that really get into their exercise. But they seldom rode in a single file. They also did not seem to be in a big hurry to make way for vehicles to pass them. I don't know if they have some unspoken communication that keeps the lead rider in the middle of the street until everyone in the group is safely in single file, or if they have an attitude like they have as much right to the road as the auto's do. But until they all get over, they slow auto traffic down to 25 miles an hour on the highway.

I'm not one to be in a big hurry to get where I am going, so it was no big deal. It did occur to me then, as it occurs to me now that the riders were being a bit inconsiderate by slowing traffic down by 40 miles an hour until they were good and ready to move out of the way. In one case I followed at a safe distance for @100 ft before a curve, all the way around the curve, and the leader finally moved over after we were 100 ft past the curve. Prior to the 100 ft. approaching the curve, all the riders were single file, and it wasn't until I was closer that the leader moved into the center of the lane. In all, the bother was barely worth rolling my eyes at, and certainly the thought of running them down did not cross my mind.

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The_Original_Bob 3 years, 9 months ago

"Wutev. I lady rear-ended me at a stoplight on Hwy 7 in Bonner Springs, swerved around me and took off like a bat out of hell in thick traffic and I was able to:

  1. Give chase (in busy traffic)
  2. Dig a pen out of my console
  3. Get close enough to read her plate
  4. Wrote it on the inside of my palm (Palin-style)
  5. Called 911
  6. They apprehended the woman that afternoon in Independence MO.
  7. Had a check from her insurance a week later."

Tommy - Keep typing. Your complete and total idiocy is ammusing.

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NewbieGardener 3 years, 9 months ago

Liberty: you should try walking on a bike path with people whizzing by at 25mph...not really a good option for racers or those who are walking their dogs.

If you're riding a bike single file near the right-hand side of an asphalt road, it's much safer for all involved. The "4000 lb cars that go 70 MPH" are lethal weapons in the hands of aggressive drivers (with 12 year old behavior), which is what actually creates an unsafe environment for drivers and cyclists alike.

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Lindsey Buscher 3 years, 9 months ago

So we have a serial hit-and-run driver on our hands. Time to call in the CSI team.

I don't mean to make light of this as the driver sounds like a real doosh and I hope he gets caught, his license revoked, and the judge puts a restraining order on him and motorized vehicles, that is, he can't come within 50 feet of a car/truck/bus/motorcycle, therefore making a bike his only viable mode of transportation. Then maybe he'll learn some respect.

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RATM 3 years, 9 months ago

From MO huh, not supprising bunch of low lifes.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 9 months ago

Wutev. I lady rear-ended me at a stoplight on Hwy 7 in Bonner Springs, swerved around me and took off like a bat out of hell in thick traffic and I was able to:

  1. Give chase (in busy traffic)
  2. Dig a pen out of my console
  3. Get close enough to read her plate
  4. Wrote it on the inside of my palm (Palin-style)
  5. Called 911
  6. They apprehended the woman that afternoon in Independence MO.
  7. Had a check from her insurance a week later.

Guess it depends on how quick you can think.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

west and far west Lawrence has several bike paths.

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LadyJ 3 years, 9 months ago

I thought we had a bike path in far west Lawrence. I know a lot of bicyclists ride on the levee. I had to quit walking the dog there because they made him nervous and I was afraid he would snap at them.

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repaste 3 years, 9 months ago

We can all put our bikes in our trucks and drive to the bike path!

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

I've also noticed drivers intentionally cut very short in front of cyclists riding down Mass Street. I would call this reckless driving and endangering a human. Definitely road rage.

What kinds of fines would be attached to this behavior?

Instead of building a climate controlled $25 million field houses why not build inner urban bike/hike trails say on Kentucky, Mass Street, Connecticut,east 13th,east 19th, 6th street all the way, Kasold and Wakrusa?

This would provide good exercise opportunites and would not cost $25 million.....

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repaste 3 years, 9 months ago

Ha Ha lib. You drive a truck?

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NewbieGardener 3 years, 9 months ago

They actually just finished the Burroughs Creek Trail in East Lawrence (Haskell U to Oregon & 11th). These dedicated bike paths are shared with pedestrians, so it's unsafe for those who want to race bikes (i.e. speeds 15mph+). The roads should be shared and made to be safe for all drivers & riders.

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Liberty275 3 years, 9 months ago

It's really a shame Lawrence doesn't have a dedicated bike path where riders can safely go about their hobby.

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The_Original_Bob 3 years, 9 months ago

"Figures. Hey, I was thinking how come out of seven riders that not one was able to catch the plate number. " Tommy

I thought you were leaving this forum? Why prove your idiocy everyday?

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RATM 3 years, 9 months ago

Should not be hard to find propably lives close to that area.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 9 months ago

I know you have to be 16 to get a driver's license, but shouldn't you have to prove you are at least as mature as a 16 year old?

The driver of the truck appears to be permanently stuck around age 12.

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bd 3 years, 9 months ago

Now that is a racist comment!

Tea anyone!

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slowplay 3 years, 9 months ago

Look for the Tea Party bumper sticker.

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BenWaBob 3 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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BenWaBob 3 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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LadyJ 3 years, 9 months ago

Had to do a Google map to see where it was. Used to drive that road, it is a favorite of bicycles. I wonder what time of day it was, wondering if driver had been drinking? If he is caught, he should have to ride a bike for transportation for a year. He is probably going to claim he thought he had passed them and was just getting back in the lane and didn't realize he hit anyone cause his truck is old and bumps and shakes all the time.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 9 months ago

"...white male in his 40s..."

Figures. Hey, I was thinking how come out of seven riders that not one was able to catch the plate number.

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christy kennedy 3 years, 9 months ago

An ass and a coward. Truck vs. cyclist—and he probably thinks he accomplished something.

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onrywmn 3 years, 9 months ago

That jerk could have killed someone. He doesn't deserve to have a driver's license. I hope they find him and he gets thrown in jail.

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