Right-Turning Cement Truck Driver Kills Young Woman on Bike


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The crash site at Cicero and Belmont.

28-year-old Portage Park resident Barbara “Barbie” Eno was killed on her bicycle last Thursday by a right-turning cement truck driver.

That morning, Eno had cycled to the Secretary of State’s office to replace a stolen ID and was returning to her home on the 4800 block of West Addison, DNAinfo reported. At about 10:35 am, she was biking north on the 3100 block of North Cicero, according to Office José Estrada from Police News Affairs. The 51-year-old male driver of the truck, a Kenworth W900, was also traveling northbound, Estrada said.

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Barbie Eno. Photo: DNAinfo

After the driver turned right onto Belmont, “he heard a thump and heard several people screaming at him to stop,” Estrada said. The trucker then pulled over and attempted to render aid to Eno until the ambulance arrived, according to Estrada. Eno was transported to Illinois Masonic Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 11:31, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Eno, who was remembered by family and friends as a “sweetheart” who loved animals, was struck within a short distance of the apartment where she grew up as a child, DNA reported. Her older sister, Chrissy Eno told DNA that Barbie started bicycle commuting four years earlier. “She loved riding her bike all the time,” Chrissy said. “I always used to tell her to be careful.

The truck driver was not arrested or cited, Estrada said. Police are talking to witnesses and looking for surveillance video, DNA reported. Bike lawyer Brendan Kevenides (a Streetsblog Chicago sponsor) noted in a blog post that there are traffic cameras at Cicero and Belmont, so it’s likely that the police will be able to determine what caused the crash.

Kevenides wrote that this type of “right hook” crash is all too common:

Because cyclists are required by law to travel along the right side of the roadway, they may find themselves cut off by a careless driver traveling in the same direction who attempt to turn right without looking for bicycle traffic. All drivers own a duty of reasonable care to all roadway users, including people on bicycles.  For the right turning driver this duty requires: (1) Using a turn signal; (2) Turning right from the right lane; and (3) Looking right for bikes before starting to turn.

In another blog post, bike attorney Michael Keating (also a Streetsblog sponsor) said the federal, state, and city legislation makes it clear that it’s a truck driver’s responsibility to prevent this type of crash from happening:

  • 49 C.F.R. Section 383.111 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires a professional driver to recognize and avoid potential hazards at all times around a turning tractor truck.
  •  Section 11-1003.1 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code states that every driver of a vehicle must 1) always exercise care to avoid colliding with pedestrians and bicyclists, and 2) sound their horn to provide warning of an impending impact.
  • Section 9-16-020 of the Municipal Code of Chicago specifically provides that a motor vehicle should not turn right across the path of a bicyclist traveling in the same direction until it is “clear” and safe to make the turn. This is known as a “right hook.”

Kevenides added that other cities are looking at ways to prevent this all-too-common type of bike fatality. In the wake of several fatal truck-bike crashes, London is prohibiting the operation of large trucks in the city unless they have mirrors to improve the driver’s view of pedestrians and bike riders, as well as side guards to prevent people from getting crushed under the wheels. In 2008, Portland, Oregon, passed a non-binding resolution recommending that large trucks be outfitted with side guards. Last year, the U.S. National Transportation and Safety Board published recommendations that large trucks be outfitted with mirrors and other aids to compensate for blind spots, as well as side guards, to prevent pedestrian and bike fatalities.

Fatality Tracker: 2014 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths

Pedestrian: 16 (5 were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 2 (1 was a hit-and-run crash)