Archive for Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cyclists on lookout for hit-and-run driver

July 20, 2010


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.


onrywmn 7 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.

christy kennedy 7 years, 9 months ago

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

Keith 7 years, 9 months ago

They were probably all concerned with the rider down.

Craig Weinaug 7 years, 9 months ago


When something like this happens, the riders are: 1) Making sure that there is not a chain reaction causing other riders to go down, and 2) doing everything they can to avoid running over the downed cyclist.

Getting the license plate number off of the car that hit the cyclist is the third priority. But I know they tried to get it.

parrothead8 7 years, 9 months ago

They were busy trying to stay alive...which they wouldn't have had to worry about if the "white male in his 40s" had acted like an adult and realized that it might cost him only an extra 10 seconds of his day to safely pass seven bicycles.

LadyJ 7 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.

slowplay 7 years, 9 months ago

Look for the Tea Party bumper sticker.

bd 7 years, 9 months ago

Now that is a racist comment!

Tea anyone!

Bob_Keeshan 7 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.

Lawrencebiker 7 years, 9 months ago

I was one of the cyclist. Things happened so quickly and the driver drove off so fast that nobody was able to get a tag number. Two people even quickly gave chase and couldn't get near enough to make out the plates.

jonas_opines 7 years, 9 months ago

For quotes, this is all that you need. Page after page after page after page after page after page after page of them.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

You asked them to delete your account - their response was that they don't do that by request.

Liberty275 7 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.

Christine Davisson 7 years, 9 months ago

I agree, I was just visiting the Denver suburbs and Colorado Springs area and they had dedicated bike lanes everywhere. Because of this, more people commuted on bike to work and to run everyday errands. Also, the streets of cities like Durango and Fort Collins (college town) seemed as though it had less traffic. There was definitely more respect for cyclists and their safety. I feel much more safe riding around Denver than I do in the small town of Lawrence. Sad.

Jacobpaul81 7 years, 9 months ago

I lived in Durango. While the bike path through town is nice, and many of the city roads were pretty safe, a lot of the county roads were extremely dangerous thanks to similar situations. Indiana is a 100x worse. The first week I lived here, one guy tried to take me out with his vehicle and I ended up in the ditch. Another tried to knock me down with his car door. If you like to ride, stay clear of Indiana.

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

Heartland Park. LOL, manhood enhancer. You should try one, you might find it an enjoyable hobby.

As for riding a bile on any road, sure it's legal. I generally don't mind bikes on the road. I slow way down and use as much of the opposing lane to pass them, leaving them as much space as possible just in case they hit a rock, lose control and fall in front to the left. The absolute last thing I want to do is screw up my karma running over anything, including humans.

Maybe you wouldn't give a rats rear end, but hitting a person on a bike would royally screw up the rest of my life.

Chuck Wehner 7 years, 9 months ago

In a way lawrence does have a bike path, it starts at the theaters in south lawrence and winds its way all the way up to 6th street and beyond. Cyclist don't use these much since they are not for just cyclist, they are also for walkers and runners. It would be dangerous for both the cyclist and the walkers and runners if cyclist like the ones in the story used the path (these guys were going at 20mph) thats why they were on the road and I don't think even a dedicated bike only path could handle that.

NewbieGardener 7 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.

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

Roads are designed for 4000 lb cars that go 70 MPH. It's a lot safer for a racing bike going 15mph to encounter a walking human than for 220 lbs of bike and rider to encounter 2 tons of steel going 70 MPH.

That said, we're in the market for nice bikes for exercise. Probably Giant off-road for me and my wife. We'll be sticking to the bike paths though. When I want to race, I have the vette (ie speeds 140 MPH+).

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Doing that would require a large investment, I would think. Roads would need to be widened and bike paths created on all roads.

puddleglum 7 years, 9 months ago

ahhhh corvettes...they make a nice lunch for my grand national

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

Not that I don't like Grand Nationals, but they can't turn. Pushing is for ricers.

Richard Heckler 7 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.....

repaste 7 years, 9 months ago

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

LadyJ 7 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.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago

west and far west Lawrence has several bike paths.

Lawrencebiker 7 years, 9 months ago

But you wasn't on a bicycle and you wasn't on a county road where there is no traffic. It was easy for the guy to accelerate away from us at 60 mph.

thebigspoon 7 years, 9 months ago

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

thebigspoon 7 years, 9 months ago

don't know what time my post left, but I hope, Tom, that you took note. It is quite apparent that I am not the only person who has such a "high" opinion of words. For those who read my 9:40 and were shocked and appalled (except Tom, who I suspect can not be shocked) I apologize.; I truly do not like posts that are intended only to stir up rancor. On the other hand, it goes against my grain to ignore thoughtless lunacy, and I will continue to point out those posts when they occur. Just my GOD complex, I guess.

puddleglum 7 years, 9 months ago

I wonder who they name as the town idiot of linwood?

femmefatale 7 years, 9 months ago

Good job Shewman! I especially liked the Palin-style comment!

Lindsey Buscher 7 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.

NewbieGardener 7 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.

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

The "4000 lb cars that go 70 MPH" are lethal weapons in the hands of aggressive drivers (with 12 year old behavior)

you should try walking on a bike path with people whizzing by at 25mph.

That seems like a bit of a double standard. The drivers don't slow down when passing a bike because of their 12 year old behavior, but the bike riders don't slow down when passing a guy and his spaniel because of their ___?

For the record, I would slow down to a stupid degree in both cases. The only thing 12 years old about me is the glenlivet. LOL.

NewbieGardener 7 years, 9 months ago

Glenlivet is a perfectly mature pastime!

Bike paths are usually very narrow (10' or less). If you're talking about a dog walker, their dog, and a bike trying to slowly go doesn't always work perfectly. Particularly when you think about the curvier nature of bike paths (and unleashed dogs are common). That's why bike racing and bike paths don't mix.

Paved streets are wide enough for bikes and cars...assuming the driver and/or cyclist are respectful of one another and not encroaching on the others' space.

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

Maybe we are talking about different things. If it's a bike "race" then it really should be on a closed course like the recent one downtown. If bike riders are subject to the same laws as motorists, then they shouldn't be racing on open public roads. If we are going to allow racing on public roads, me and the guy with the Grand National need to hook up for a little fun run around Lone Star Lake. I'll even bring my cell phone to call the wrecker to pull him out of the ditch at the fist curve.

Anyway, I'm just talking about recreational riders that have the option of slowing down while passing pedestrians. If the dog darts in front of them, they should be able to stop, just like if a cyclist loses control in front of me I would be able to stop.

HaRDNoK9 7 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.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Good point - I've come across some very inconsiderate bicyclists - I believe they're supposed to ride single file not in the middle of the road, so that cars can pass them - isn't that the case?

Jeremy DeBoard 7 years, 9 months ago

Bicyclists may ride two abreast on roadways. Though I would think discretion should be taken into account on some roads as they are more narrow than others.

Teri Chambers 7 years, 9 months ago

If you read the link above that takes you to KS law-you would see that they can ride 2 abreast at most.

esj2003 7 years, 9 months ago

The reason cyclists will ride two or more wide is because it increases the chances of being seen by vehicles. When you're single file, there's less to catch a driver's eye.

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 9 months ago

It also occurred to me that the riders were increasing their visibility and they were asserting their position in the roadway. Curves can be hazardous to cyclists and motorists- especially around a blind curve. Had I been tempted to cross the center line to pass, I could have met oncoming traffic. A collision between two cars alongside a line of cyclists could have spelled disaster for everyone. And it was the Independence Day holiday. No telling who has been drinking, or whose attention is on other things. Anyway, it probably added less than a minute to my trip.

Lawrencebiker, I hope you have a complete and speedy recovery. It is a shame that some people have such a blatant disregard for others' safety.

impska 7 years, 9 months ago

They might not have heard your car right away, either. You probably slowed down and followed at a safe distance, and they've got wind and the sound of bike wheels against pavement in their ears, plus they might be breathing hard if they're getting a good workout. Then, if the rear guy doesn't call out when he pulls over, you have to wait for the next guy to notice you too, and so on.

I have a hybrid... they never hear me. It seems rude to honk though - I'm always afraid I'll scare them and they'll fall off their bike.

madameX 7 years, 9 months ago

I've run into the same problem in my car, and I've been honked at while on a bike too and it does give the impression that the driver is angry at you.

Perhaps the solution is to equipt modern vehicles with an alternative to the horn, maybe a button you can push to make a polite throat clearing type noise? (kind of kidding, but kind of not)

Curtis Martell 7 years, 9 months ago

Actually, bicycles do have just as much right to use the road as autos. Bicycles are vehicles and subject to all the highway laws that are applicable. Read below for links to the Kansas statutes.

This is the primary misconception cyclists are up against.

Lawrencebiker 7 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.

JayhawkAlum03 7 years, 9 months ago

Glad to hear that you made it out without more severe injuries.

I hope they catch the jerk that did this. Very disappointing that someone would have such little regard for others.

puddleglum 7 years, 9 months ago

us cyclists are vulnerable, it is true. but I am not defenseless....I have my .380 in my back jersey pocket and will certainly use it if anyone swerves to put my life in danger, or anybody elses' per the statutes of the state's Concealed-carry law. In fact, it is the main reason I applied for certification.

anyone trying to run over anyone deserves 'lead in the head'

xfactor 7 years, 9 months ago

Would be rather difficult to legally use your .380 in a situation like this. You would be reacting after the truck hit you, which most likely means the truck is moving away from you (no longer a threat) so you can't legally pull out your firearm to shoot at them. If the truck stopped and the perpetrator came back to do more damage to you as you are lying on the ground, then you might be able to legally use your weapon. I am a cyclist and also have a concealed carry permit. I was once assaulted on 458 near Sibleyville by a motorist with a automatic paint ball rifle. I was hit about 7 consecutive times in the back. The car kept going and I wasn't able to get the license plate number. No way would I have opened fire on that car with a firearm as it was leaving the scene.

aequitas80 7 years, 9 months ago

Same truck/person as Mirecki described? Coincidence?

Curtis Martell 7 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

Evan Ridenour 7 years, 9 months ago

Wow. That sure sounded like a threat. How very mature of you. Especially in a thread regarding an angry driver running someone over.

I hope the cops see you out on the road.

Curtis Martell 7 years, 9 months ago

musbhiorlo that is not how I am interpreting the law. The way I read it it says cyclists may ride 2 abreast and must ride to the right EXCEPT when passing another vehicle, turning left, or avoiding parked cars, hazzards, etc. I must respectfully disagree with your interpretation. This seems to be a reasonable exception to allow bicycles to avoid pot holes, rabbits, dogs, and parked vehicles and allow us to pass other slower bicycles, or vehicle.

Jacobpaul81 7 years, 9 months ago

How is that any different than trying to pass a tractor?

Good Grief.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Thank you for your thoughtful post.

I haven't done a study, but it seems to me that I see more than 1% of bicyclists ignoring the rules of the road.

Many don't even slow down at stop signs, and never signal their turns.

Of course, I also see a lot of bad drivers, who don't signal and don't exercise good judgment in many different ways.

gatekeeper 7 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.

impska 7 years, 9 months ago

What does it matter? He has legitimately seen many dangerous close calls on rural highways. I don't think he needs to be the Bikemaster in order for his observations to be valid.

Brad Maestas 7 years, 9 months ago

What does it matter? Education. Perspective. Humility.

nekansan 7 years, 9 months ago

But the root issue is how many of those close calls are the result of inattentive or aggressive drivers? The fact that anyone has witnessed numerous close calls says nothing as to the cause of those incidents. I constantly see drivers do stupid things, should we kick them off the road? It is much more reasonable to expect all road users to understand & follow the law.

gatekeeper 7 years, 9 months ago

I am a careful driver who commutes on 32 every day. I do the speed limit. Many, many times I have come around curves on the highway, only to have to slam on my breaks because there's a pack a bikes taking up most of the lane and cars in the opposing lane. Rural highways don't have shoulders, so if the driver had to go off the highway, they get to crash their car into ditches, farm fields, etc... Slow moving bikes shouldn't be on rural highways for everyone's safety.

Brad Maestas 7 years, 9 months ago

Exactly. Put some miles in a saddle and it might give you more perspective. As has already been pointed out several times, it goes both ways my friend. Humans do stupid things, period. Motorists aren't excluded. First of all, your proposal is preposterous. The levee path is terribly boring and made entirely of gravel. Like the riverside trails, the Clinton trails were designed for mountain bikes. This is like asking an F1 car go off-road. It's called a road bike for a reason. Even if you could ride your road bike on those dirt trails, you are limited in your distances. Riding on the road is the only way to put in 30, 40 or 50 or more miles towards whatever goal you may have. I'm currently training for a century (100+ miles) in September. How do you propose I train for it? Riding back and forth on the levee path dozens of times is simply not feasible. I choose my roads carefully but as we can see from this, yet another, incident, it's more about the drivers on the road than the road itself.

gatekeeper 7 years, 9 months ago

You wanting to train for an event shouldn't endanger the drivers on HIGHWAYS. HIGHWAYS are made for cars and trucks, not cyclists going 40 miles below the speed limit.

Graczyk 7 years, 9 months ago

These rural roads aren't really highways in the modern sense, like I-70 is. These roads are made to be used in a variety of ways. By your logic, road cycling should be outlawed and farmers driving their tractors from field to field should be ticketed. You know where bikers like to ride, so use your head and deal with it.

Curtis Martell 7 years, 9 months ago

Yes riding the rural highways is dangerous. It is much more dangerous for the cyclist even when we are following the laws because as noted, the cyclist will usually be inured or killed if hit by a speeding vehicle driven by an inattentive driver. I also disagree about the speed limit. I don't think any county road has a limit over 55 and many are 45.

The issue of "the highways were not designed for cyclists" is your opinion. State law states that bicyles are allowed to ride on roads and highways so I think it's implicit that a they are suitable for bikes. If you disagree then contact your elected officials and lobby for a change in the laws.

Furthermore most the riding we do is done on rural county roads with light traffic. They are pleny wide for a motorist to make a legal pass of cyclists riding 2 abreast. I drive those roads all the time and have no problem safely passing cyclists. It is incumbant to the motorist to pass a cyclist safely and legally just as you would a farm tractor, slower car.

Mad_Finch 7 years, 9 months ago

Many of the roads in Europe are much narrower than the roads in the states, yet cyclists and drivers seem to have figured out how to share them nonetheless. It can be done here, as well. Cycling is growing as a sport, and I hope that as more and more bikes appear on the roads that drivers will start accepting them and there will be less animosity directed toward them.

Brad Maestas 7 years, 9 months ago

I agree. Europe has (and likely will for some time) lead the way in bicycle integration. What is it that incenses people so? Are not wide agricultural vehicles that take up and entire lane (or two!) more of a nuisance than a group of cyclists riding single- or double-file? Oh that's right. Because we are used to them. We expect it. I'm sure their size also does a good job of suppressing any road rage. But when we strip away the hulking metal framework and still have a human traveling down the road at speeds less than the limit, only on a bike, it can transform people into maniacs. I also hope that as more cyclists take to the roads and become a more common sight, motorists will tolerate them and share the road with all the respect a human life deserves.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

I find large slow-moving vehicles to be as annoying as bicyclists riding so as to obstruct my passing when they have other options.

The difference, of course, is that the large vehicle has no way to easily get out of my way.

Brad Maestas 7 years, 9 months ago

jafs (anonymous) replies... "I find large slow-moving vehicles to be as annoying as bicyclists riding so as to obstruct my passing when they have other options." Such as?

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Riding single-file instead of two abreast.

Have you not been paying attention?

Brad Maestas 7 years, 9 months ago

I thought you might produce some innovative alternatives over the obvious one.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Since the obvious one is obvious, and works well, there's no need for innovation, just common sense.

gatekeeper 7 years, 9 months ago

I never said county road. I said rural highway. 32 is 65. 24/40 is 65. And stupid cyclists use them, going 40 miles per hour under the speed limit, endangering everyone.

Traffic is not light on 32 between 5-6:30. Go drive it sometime.

ralphralph 7 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.

Lawrencebiker 7 years, 9 months ago

I was the person hit and I never said anything to motorist. I never even heard anybody else exchange words (meaning I was far enough in front I didn't hear it). So why must I pay for the actions of others? Do you think I was so deserving of being hit because of what others did? Do I need to send you a picture of my injuries so you can believe that I am the person hit? I just want everybody to understand. I could have been "KILLED". I remember seeing the tire of the truck as it passed by my head. As Curtis said. If you have a problem with what a cyclist is doing or saying, call the police. Nobody is deserving or should have to pay life or limb for the actions of another.

Best regrads, Rob Wilshusen

ralphralph 7 years, 9 months ago

The story says "words were exchanged", and my point was that a cyclist (or anyone) has little to gain from any "exchange" with an angry jerk in a speeding car. I've been there -- trying to hug the fog line, and somebody thinks it would be better to hit me than slow down and add 5 seconds to his travel time. I've never seen anyone gain anything from any response other than just keeping your head down, or giving a smile and a nod, without being a jerk in response to the jerk. Don't know what the "exchange" was that you didn't hear, and wasn't blaming, but admonishing. lawrenceguy, below, writes of "defending his rights verbally" ... and that's pretty much what I'm talking about: it's NOT worth getting run over, or getting someone else in your group run over. How 'bout carrying a cell phone and reporting cretins to the police to let them deal with it? Hope you're okay.

Curtis Martell 7 years, 9 months ago

Actually the words that came from the driver were cursing and very threatening. His words alone could be a crime because he threatened to run us over. I don't know exaclty what was said in response, but one of the riders waved and said something like "thanks and have a good day". I'm not kidding. We often use freindly gesutures like this in response to angry verbal assults because you are right, provocation does no good.

On the other hand Cyclists have a right to defend their rights to the road verbally. I agree we might loose the battle to 4000 pound vehicle or a mentally ill road raged driver but personally I take that risk every time I ride because I value my right to ride on the road and all the benefits the sport brings into my life. Some things are worth fighting for and in this case the law is on the side of the Cyclists.

I can agree to disagree who's at fault but will not be swayed by your tactics of trying to turn this around and blame the cyclists. I implore other readers -motorists and cyclists - to review the laws and the facts as stated.

Brad Maestas 7 years, 9 months ago

I also try to avoid escalating the situation when it arises, as it often can in NYC where I reside now. A warm, positive response usually defuses the situation very well. Some take it so far as to appear smug but I try to be genuinely nice. It'd be one thing if the group sent back some nasty words but even then, it doesn't warrant running someone off the road or God forbid, actually trying to hit them. For them to apparently be nice and the motorist responding by hitting the lead cyclist sounds like a person with some problems. There are more important things in this world to get worked up about, the least of which should be sharing the road - with your neighbors.

ThatGirl2 7 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.

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 9 months ago

I believe Lawrencebiker was attempting to emphasize the word "killed," since neither underlining nor italics are readily usable through this website's forums.

Evan Ridenour 7 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.

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

Anyone who has driven around this town knows how bad and inconsiderate the drivers are.

Anyone sitting in Lawrence and typing that sentence has never been to Minneapolis. Those pseudo-canadians are nuts! Of course, that explains the mental status of my wife.

love2fish_ks 7 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.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

Where would you put all of these bike trails? All of the potential routes already have roads on them-- that's why the law says that the public roadways are for all vehicles, not just cars and trucks.

Curtis Martell 7 years, 9 months ago

Actually I am not calling for a special bike trail through Lawrence. I'm asking motorists to make a legal pass of cyclists when they encounter them and I'm asking cyclists to ride lawfully. I guess I'm also asking motorists not to run over cyclists when the motorist is angry because they must slow down to execute a legal and safe pass of a cycling group.

Restating the laws does a lot of good in my opinion becuase it clarifies what is allowed by law and what should be expected by the motorists and cyclists. Many motorists and people who have commented on this article beleive that the cyclists must or should ride in single file. In fact the motorist who struck the rider in this cast yellled (his truck did not yell) "Get in single file or F this and F that you will get run over". So he was either ignorant of the law or ingoring it, most likey ignorant.

As long as the law allows 2 abreast riding all motorists should expect it and not get enraged when they encounter it.

In regard to bike paths, they have been shown to increase the quality of life for everyone in the community. Sure we ride bikes them but many (maybe most?) users are walkers runners, children etc. So Yes bike paths are great and the more the better raise my taxes, I'll pay for them.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

I agree with informed. Riding two abreast increases visibility of the cyclists, and in areas where it's dangerous and illegal to pass, (around curves or when there is oncoming traffic, for example) it discourages cars from passing when they shouldn't.

That said, experienced cyclists should also know when to drop into single file to allow cars to pass.

gatekeeper 7 years, 9 months ago

Yes, they are insane and are why I've seen lots of close calls on 32.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

That's exactly what I'm saying. If you hug the shoulder and the car decides to pass despite the oncoming traffic (which they probably can't see,) at best you're going into the ditch, and at worst you're part of the collision between the two autos directly beside you. You'll lose either way.

Stephen Roberts 7 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."

Curtis Martell 7 years, 9 months ago

Commuter I think you raise a good question and it reveals the misunderstanding so many folks have about cycling. Why would I drive (ride) on country roads??

Because I love it. Being outside on my bike and enjoying the countryside is a wonderful experience. Watching the seasons change, seeing the sun set, and taking in the simple beauty of Douglas county is quite enjoyable. I have ridden all around the country since 1980. That would be 30 years. Call me addicted.

Doing all that under my own power, with nothing but the wind and birds as background, it's quite enchanting. Riding helps me releive stress and relax all while I improve my physical fitness. It is my sport of choice for a lifetme.

Not to mention some of us are endurance athletes. We compete in 25 to 100 mile long races and events(ever hear of the sport of Bike Racing or Triathalon?) and so we ride to Baldwin, Gardner, Kansas City, Gardner, where ever. It just would not be the same to ride the bike path back and forth 5 times.

I ride the bike path all the time. The money was not wasted it is a fabulous resource in our community. Besides cyclists many other people use the bike paths like walkers, runners and families out for a stroll with babies. The bike path gets a huge amount of use and just because 30 cyclists ride 3 times a week to Lone Star or Vinland in a group does not mean the paths are wasted.

I have no reason to lie about the events that took place. You don't buy it, that is your choice I cannot make you beleive what I say. I am a leader in the cycling community and local business owner. If you want to question my integrity then go ahead. I was there and I saw and heard what happened. We were riding lawfully and we were verbally and physically assulted. I'm on the public record with my statements and I stand by them.

I know you don't understand. In the previous paragraphs I've attempted to explain it. Now it's up to you to understand or not.

Curtis Martell Director Free State Racing Team

Flap Doodle 7 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.

grimpeur 7 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.

garyr 7 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'.

Curtis Martell 7 years, 9 months ago

thuja please read the article. At this particular time we were riding in single file. There was not an obstacle, the driver passed the group then swerved and hit one of the riders with his truck.

When I am riding I am more aware of my surroundings than you can imagine. I can hear every vehicle approach from behind and I see every pebble in the road.

I will not let you restate the facts and turn the blame on to the cyclists in this case. Believe what you want to believe but the facts are the facts. I stand by my statements and there is public record (police report) of what happened.

Cycling is my choice. Stupidity is your opinion. I (we) accept the risks of inattentive drivers but will not stand by and allow a motorist to get away with assult.

Graczyk 7 years, 9 months ago

You've have made your point and now you are well on your way to Obtuse-ville.

hughjanney 7 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.

Graczyk 7 years, 9 months ago

Wait, you were riding down the "middle" of the lane? Shouldn't cyclists be as far to the right as possible? Maybe I misunderstand the laws, but I don't think you have the right to do that.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago


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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