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Today’s Crash, Nick Fox’s Passing Bring 2016 Chicago Bike Death Toll to Six

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This morning at 9:30, police had blocked off Addison at Damen following the fatal bike/truck crash. Photo: John Greenfield

Tragically, last week’s epidemic of bike fatalities and serious injury crashes in the Chicago region, has continued into this week. This morning a young woman was fatally struck by a flatbed truck driver in Roscoe Village. She was the sixth person to be struck and killed by a commercial vehicle driver while biking in Chicago and Evanston since June, and the third to be run over by a right-turning flatbed truck driver.

And early Sunday morning, well-liked Garfield Ridge pizzeria worker Nick Fox passed away from injuries sustained from a bike/train crash in June. That means that six people have died from bike crashes in 2016.

According to police, at around 7:50 a.m. today the female cyclist, believed to be in her 30s, was biking north on Damen Avenue south of Addison Street. According to the city’s bike map, this stretch of Damen has “shared-lane markings” – bike-and-chevrons symbols designed to remind motorists to watch out for cyclists.

Police said that the driver of the northbound flatbed truck, carrying construction supplies, made a right turn, heading eastbound onto Addison, and ran over the woman. Witnesses said the woman was killed instantly.

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The flatbed track from this morning’s crash. Photo: John Greenfield

According to an ABC news report, witness Carole Cifone said the truck driver immediately jumped out of the vehicle and tried to aid the woman. “The driver was so distraught, they took him away in an ambulance,” Cifone said. “He was just bent out of shape by what had happened [and the fact] that he was responsible.”

Officer Nicole Trainor from Police News Affairs said an investigation of the crash is ongoing and the driver has not yet been cited. According to the Cook County medical investigator’s office, the victim’s name and age had not been released as of early this afternoon.

As of 9:30 this morning, police had closed off two blocks of Addison east of Damen, and the victim’s body still lay in the street covered with sheets. The bike was not visible, but photos from other news reports show a badly damaged road bike.

“Any vehicle needs to constantly be aware of cyclists on the road,” a bike rider named Meg told ABC. “This is a [road with shared-lane markings]. There’s no excuse.”

DNAinfo reported that about ten people were waiting for the #152 Addison bus at the intersection when the crash occurred, and they stayed on the scene to provide testimony to investigators.

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Driver Cited for Negligence After Fatally Striking Man in Dunning

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The 7900 block of West Belmont, from the driver’s perspective. Image: Google Street View

The motorist who struck and killed an as-yet-unidentified man in the Dunning neighborhood early Sunday morning has received two citations.

At about 12:40 a.m. Sunday, a man who appeared to be in his fifties was crossing southbound on the 7900 block of West Belmont, according to Officer Jose Estrada from Police News Affairs. The man’s name has not been released pending notification of kin, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Jaime Delgado, driving westbound in a 2006 Honda Sedan, struck the pedestrian. The victim was transported to Loyola Hospital in critical condition and was later pronounced dead.

Delgado, who remained at the scene, was ticketed for negligent driving and driving without a license. “According to a preliminary investigation, the pedestrian may have unexpectedly entered the roadway and the driver may not have had time to respond,” said Estrada.

It’s not clear who provided that testimony, but obviously the victim is not alive to tell his side of the story. It may be the case that the Delgado didn’t have time to respond because he was driving at an unsafe speed.

Update 9/7/16: The Cook County medical examiner’s office has identified the victim as Krzysztof Wlostowski, of the 7900 block of West Belmont.

Fatality Tracker: 2016 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 18 (eight were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 4 (one was a hit-and-run crash)

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Jessie Rosales, 45, Fatally Struck in Lawndale Alley by Hit-and-Run Driver

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The alley where Rosales was struck, according to the CPD. Image: Google Street View

45-year-old Jessie Rosales was struck and killed in the North Lawndale neighborhood by a motorist who fled the scene last Friday, according to police.

At about 10 p.m. the driver of a dark-colored vehicle was heading south on the 1500 block of South Karlov Avenue when they made a left turn, eastbound, into the north alley of 16th Street and struck Rosales, according to Officer Nicole Trainor from News Affairs. The motorist did not stop to render aid but instead left the crash scene.

Rosales, of the 3900 block of South Euclid Avenue in west-suburban Stickney, was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy on Saturday found that Rosales died from multiple blunt force injuries and ruled the death an accident.

As of this morning, the driver had not been apprehended, Trainor said. Major Accidents is investigating.

Fatality Tracker: 2016 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 17 (eight were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 4 (one was a hit-and-run crash)

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Cynthia Tatman, 56, Fatally Struck on Stretch of Devon With No Sidewalks

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The 5800 block of West Devon, looking east. Police reported the crash site as the 6300 block, which has sidewalks. But ABC footage shows it actually took place several blocks east, on a stretch like this, with a 40 mph speed limit and no sidewalks, close to the North Branch Trail. Image: Google Street View

56-year-old Cynthia Tatman was fatally struck early Tuesday morning while jogging in the Norwood Park neighborhood on a four-lane, high-speed stretch of Devon Avenue.

At around 7:05 a.m., Tatman was running east in a westbound travel lane of Devon next to Caldwell Woods, police said. She lived on the 5800 block of North Navarre Avenue, and neighbors told ABC she jogged in the area regularly.

According to investigators, a westbound driver swerved to avoid hitting Tatman. However, they said the next motorist, driving a tan Honda CR-V SUV, did not have time to avoid the jogger and struck her. Tatman was transported to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The driver, whose SUV sustained front-end damage and a smashed windshield, stayed on the scene and was not immediately cited. Major Accidents is currently working to determine if the motorist will receive a citation, according to Police News Affairs.

The police stated that the crash took place on the 6300 block of Devon, which has has residences to the south, a 30 mph speed limit and sidewalks. However, footage from the ABC report shows that the crash site was actually on a stretch of Devon with forest preserves on both sides, a 40 mph speed limit, and no sidewalks. The ABC footage also shows that it was location where the North Branch Trail closely parallels Devon.

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Mayya Medovaya, 78, Fatally Struck by Turning UPS Truck Driver in North Park

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The crash site from the driver’s perspective, looking south. Image: Google Street View

A UPS truck driver who was making a right on red fatally struck a senior Monday afternoon in the North Park community, according to police.

At around 4:45 p.m., the 78-year-old woman was crossing the street at Peterson and Central Park in a crosswalk when the 64-year-old male driver made a right turn on red and struck her, according to Police News Affairs. The victim was taken to Swedish Covenant Hospital in critical condition, where she was soon pronounced dead.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office has identified the woman as Mayya Medovaya of the 5800 block of north Pulaski, about six blocks from the crash site. She was the fifth vulnerable road user to be fatally struck by a commercial vehicle in Chicago in about nine weeks.

The UPS driver was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, according to News Affairs.

The police crash report stated that the driver had been heading west on Peterson and made a northbound right turn onto Central Park. However, photos of the truck parked at the north side of Peterson, just west of Central Park, following the crash, posted by several news outlets, plus a report by WGN, indicate that wasn’t the case.

The WGN reporter stated that Medovaya was walking south across the west leg of the intersection when she was struck, which would be in keeping with the final location of the truck. Therefore, it appears that the driver was also heading south on Central Park and made a right turn, westbound, onto Peterson when he struck the victim.

Witness Micheal Weldler told WGN that traffic on Peterson had the green at the time, which would mean both the pedestrian and the driver had a red light. It appears that right turns on red are legal at this location.

However, even if Medovaya was crossing against the light, that has limited relevance to this case. Even when both the driver and pedestrian have a green, it’s all-too-common for right-turning motorists to carelessly strike pedestrians in crosswalks. Moreover, a driver turning right on red is still responsible for ensuring that the relevant crosswalks are clear before making the turn.

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Francisco Cruz, 58, Fatally Struck by Van Driver While Biking in West Garfield

The Chicago Police Department provided this image of a commercial cargo van that struck Francisco Cruz Wednesday night.

The Chicago Police Department provided this image of a commercial cargo van whose driver struck Francisco Cruz Wednesday night. Image: CPD

We will update this post throughout the day as more facts are made available. 

Francisco Cruz, 58, was struck and killed while biking in West Garfield Park Wednesday night by a cargo van driver who fled the scene. This newest tragedy happened the day after art student Lisa Kuivinen while riding a bike in West Town Tuesday morning. Cruz’s death is the fourth bike fatality this year; all four cases involved a commercial driver.

Cruz was bicycling south on the 200 block of North Pulaski Road at 10:19 p.m. last night when the driver of a northbound white commercial cargo van turned left onto Maypole Avenue and fatally struck him, police said. The driver did not stop to render aid but instead contined west on Maypole.

Cruz, of the 1300 block of South Christiana in North Lawndale, was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

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The intersection of Pulaski and Maypole from the driver’s perspective. Image: Google Street View

The police are trying to apprehend the driver and provided an image of the van taken by a security or traffic camera. The phone number visible on back of the van in the image is associated with Advanced Realty Network, a brokerage at 2427 West Madison. A call to the number reached a voicemail for the company. While it’s not clear that the driver was employed by Advanced, presumably the police will visit the company for more information. Anyone who has information can contact the police at 312-745-4521.

As of Thursday afternoon, several people had left abusive comments in the reviews section of Advanced’s Facebook page. Please keep in mind that this is inappropriate, since we don’t even know for sure yet that the driver works for the company.

Cruz’s death follows those of three other bike riders who were fatally struck by commercial vehicle drivers this summer. Courier Blaine Klingenberg was struck and killed by a tour bus driver on June 15 in the Gold Coast. Divvy rider Virginia Murray fatally struck by a flatbed truck driver on July 1 in Avondale, and Lisa Kuivinen was also struck and killed by a the driver of a flatbed truck on August 16. Active Transportation Alliance advocacy director Jim Merrell responded to the news on Twitter this morning, tagging Mayor Emanuel’s and the Chicago Department of Transportation’s accounts.

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Lisa Kuivinen, 20, Struck and Killed While Biking on Milwaukee Avenue

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Lisa Kuivinen. Photo: Facebook

We have been notified that Lisa Kuivinen identified as non-binary and preferred gender-neutral pronouns. The post has been edited accordingly.

Lisa Kuivinen, a 20-year-old art student, was fatally struck by the driver of an 18-wheel flatbed truck this morning while cycling on Milwaukee Avenue in West Town.

At about 8:15 a.m. Lisa was riding on the 800 block North Milwaukee, according to Officer Laura Amezaga from Police News Affairs. A report from DNAinfo indicates that the cyclist was heading southeast towards downtown. The collision occurred just southeast of Milwaukee’s Kennedy Expressway overpass.

Near the construction site for a transit-oriented development, Lisa was struck by a flatbed truck driver. Lisa was taken to Northwestern Hospital in critical condition and pronounced dead at the hospital, Amezaga said.

The driver, identified by police as 37-year-old Antonio Navarro from northwest-suburban Algonquin, stayed on the scene, according to Amezaga. Navarro has been ticketed for driving in a bike lane and failure to take due care for a bicyclist in the roadway, according to Police News Affairs. A traffic court hearing is scheduled for September 15 at 9 a.m.

DNAinfo reports that the truck is registered with Illinois Brick Co. and a person from the company declined to comment.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified Lisa as a resident of 3700 block of Wren Lane, Rolling Meadows. Lisa’s Facebook profile indicates that the cyclist was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an interest in animation.

The crash took place on a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue with protected bike lanes, including stretches where the bike lane is painted green and short segments protected by concrete curbs. However it appears the section of bike lane Lisa was riding on was not protected by curbs, parking, or flexible posts.

Moreover, the southeast-bound bike lane is blocked by fencing for the TOD construction site, forcing cyclists to merge into the travel lane. DNA reports that Lisa was approaching the fence when the driver struck the cyclist.

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U. of C. Doctor Gary Toback Fatally Struck While Jogging by Jackson Park

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Gary Toback.

University of Chicago doctor and professor Gary Toback, 74, was struck and killed by an SUV driver while running in the South Shore neighborhood this morning, authorities said.

At around 6:40 a.m., Toback, a kidney specialist, was jogging near the intersection of 67th Street and South Bennett Avenue on the south side of Jackson Park, according to authorities. Toback lived nearby on the 6800 block of South Bennett, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Neighbors described him as a running enthusiast, ABC reported.

According to police, a 40-year-old woman lost control of the Jeep SUV she was driving and rolled the vehicle, striking Toback. The vehicle landed near 67th and South Jeffery Avenue, several hundred feet east of the location where Toback was struck, police said.

Toback was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. The driver and a two-year-old girl who was riding in the vehicle were taken to Comer Hospital in unkown condition, according to Officer Laura Amezaga from Police News Affairs.

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The intersection of 67th and Bennett from the driver’s perspective. Image: Google Street View

Charges have not yet been filed against the driver, Amezaga said. Major Accidents is investigating the case.

Fatality Tracker: 2016 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 14 (seven were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 2

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Virginia Murray, 25, Fatally Struck While Riding a Divvy Bike in Avondale

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Virginia Murray

Virginia Murray, 25, was fatally struck by a truck driver this morning while riding a Divvy bike at Belmont Avenue and Sacramento Avenue in Avondale, according to police. The case appears to be the first fatal crash involving a bike-share user in the U.S.

At about 9:00 a.m. Murray and the driver of a 2001 Chevrolet flatbed truck were both traveling northbound on Sacramento, according to Officer Kevin Quaid from Police News Affairs. At Belmont, the driver made a right turn to head eastbound, Quaid said. “They collided, causing severe injury to the bicyclist,” the crash report reads.

Murray, of the1200 block of North Marion Court in Wicker Park, was rushed to Illinois Masonic Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 9:58 a.m.

So far the driver has received no traffic citations or criminal charges, Quaid said. Major Accidents is investigating. According to ABC, there is security camera video of the crash that shows the driver striking Murray. According to ABC, the driver works for a nearby flooring company AB Hardwood Flooring.

According to Murray’s LinkedIn profile, she had been working at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, the Divvy sponsor, since 2013, most recently as a lead marketing communications consultant. A spokeswoman for the company provided this statement:

Friday’s fatal collision is a tragedy and we join Divvy and the Chicago Department of Transportation in offering our condolences to the Murray family. This touches many of us personally, as until a few weeks ago Ginny Murray worked at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. She was an avid Divvy supporter, a wonderful employee and a special person. She will be missed.

The Chicago Department of Transportation and Divvy provided this statement: “This morning a cyclist was involved in a fatal collision with a truck [driver] on the Northwest Side. Divvy and the City of Chicago express our deepest condolences to the rider’s family and loved ones.” A source confirmed that this was the first fatality involving a Divvy user since the system launched in June 2013. Almost 8 million rides were taken during that time.

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Looking north on Sacramento at Belmont. Image: Google Maps

The North American Bikeshare Association released this statement today in response to the fatal crash:  

This morning, a young woman using bikeshare in Chicago was involved in a fatal crash. The North American Bikeshare Association joins Divvy and the Chicago Department of Transportation in expressing our sincere sympathies and deepest condolences to her loved ones and the community impacted by this great loss.

Today marks a tragic milestone we wished would never come. 

This is the first time that we’ve lost someone from our bikeshare community in the eight years that bikeshare has operated in the United States. Today’s loss extends beyond Chicago and into the hearts and homes across the nation.

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Cyclist’s Tragic Death Highlights the Need to Make Michigan Avenue Safer

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Blaine Klingenberg. Photo: Facebook

I know from personal experience that nothing beats a dip in Lake Michigan after a hard day of bicycle delivery work in hot weather. It appears that on Wednesday evening, bike courier Blaine Klingenberg, 29, was on his way to enjoy that simple pleasure at Oak Street Beach with friends. Tragically, he instead lost his life in a crash with a double-decker tour bus, making him the first bike fatality of 2016.

Yesterday in the late afternoon Klingenberg, who worked at Advanced Messenger Service, posted on Facebook “Who’s down for the lake?”, inviting friends to join him for a cool-off. From the thread, it looks like they decided to head to Oak Street Beach, one of the closest beaches to the Central Business District.

According to authorities, Klingenberg was riding his cargo bike north on Michigan Avenue with a small group of cyclists at around 5:25 p.m. Just south of the underpass to Oak Street Beach, at the intersection of Oak and Michigan, he was involved in a crash with a double-decker tour bus operated by Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co., which was heading west on Oak.

Klingenberg was trapped under the bus and firefighters had to use airbags to lift the vehicle, according to the fire department. He was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where has was pronounced dead on arrival.

Advance Messenger owner Bruce Kohn told the Chicago Tribune that Klingenberg had left work about a half hour before the crash. “He was probably the best, nicest bicycle messenger I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and I’ve been doing this my entire adult life,” Kohn said. He added Klingenberg was a “cautious” delivery cyclist.

The Chicago Police Department stated that “The victim disregarded the red light at Oak and turned into the bus, causing the fatal collision.” Sadly, but predictably, the comment sections of articles about the crash in the mainstream media quickly filled up with callous remarks blaming Klingenberg for his own death, as well as blanket statements about urban cyclists being reckless and foolish.

However, it’s still not clear how the fatal crash went down. While some witnesses did say Klingenberg rode quickly through a red light, others stated that the bus driver also had a red light, because southbound traffic from Inner Lake Shore Drive had a left-turn signal at the time, the Tribune reported. Major Accidents is investigating the case.

It would be great if online commenters would show some basic humanity towards Klingenberg and his loved ones, instead of rushing to blame the victim. It may turn out to be the case that the cyclist’s actions contributed to his death. However, it must also be pointed out that this is the second time in seven months that a Chicago Trolley bus driver has fatally struck a vulnerable road user on Michigan Avenue.

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