Today’s Crash, Nick Fox’s Passing Bring 2016 Chicago Bike Death Toll to Six
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.
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.
This crash was disturbingly similar to the one that took the life of Divvy rider Virginia Murray, 25, on the morning of July 1, which was believed to be the first bike-share related fatality in the country. Murray and flatbed truck driver Cosmin Radu, 28, were both stopped at a red light on Sacramento Avenue south of Belmont Avenue. When the light changed, Radu turned right, running over Murray.
And on the morning of August 16, flatbed truck driver Antonio Navarro, 37, overtook art student Lisa Kuivinen, 20, as the cyclist rode southeast on Milwaukee Avenue and ran over Kuiven as he made a right turn onto southbound Racine Avenue. In all three of these cases, truck side panels – which are becoming common in countries like Great Britain – might have saved the victims’ lives by preventing them from falling under the truck.
Also today, DNAinfo reported that Garfield Ridge pizzeria employee Nick Fox, 52, died early Sunday morning from injuries received this summer.
On the evening of June 26, Fox, who had worked at Obbie’s Pizza for more than 20 years, was struck by two freight trains on railroad tracks near 60th Street and Narragansett Avenue while biking home from a church carnival. Fox, 52, suffered a broken pelvis, hand, ankle and ribs, and bleeding on the brain.
According to DNA, Fox had been moved from Advocate Christ Medical Center in Chicago to Kindred Hospital in Northlake to begin a rehabilitation program, but doctors were unable to take him off a respirator in order to begin a recovery regime. After a bout of breathing trouble, he died at 3:59 Sunday morning, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
In addition to this morning’s victim, Murray, Kuivinen, and Fox, 2016 Chicago bike fatalities include messenger Blaine Klingenberg, 29, struck by double-decker tour bus driver Charla Henry, 51, on the evening of June 15 at Oak Street and Michigan Avenue, and security guard Francisco Cruz, run over on the evening of August 17 at Maypole and Pulaski Avenue by a cargo van driver who fled the scene. The hit-and-run driver is still at large, according to police. Last Thursday evening Northwestern University student Chuyuan Qiu died while biking in Evanston after she collided with a concrete truck at Library Place and Sheridan Road.
In response to the recent tragedies, a rally for safe streets called “End Road Death Now” is tentatively planned for this Friday from 6:30 to 7 p.m. at the Addison/Damen crash site, with details to be announced in the near future. The event is being organized by Rebecca Resman, who helps run the Roscoe Village Kidical Mass family bike ride and the Chicago Family Biking Facebook group.
“In response to the six cyclists that have been killed by commercial vehicles in the past four months in Chicago/Evanston, it’s time to do something big,” Resman wrote. “We have to demand better.”
Update 9/26/16 6:30 p.m.
According to Police News Affairs, the truck driver in this morning’s crash case has been cited for failure to exercise due care to a bicyclist in the roadway.
Although authorities still have not released the identity of the victim, DNAinfo is reporting that a man who identified himself as the woman’s boyfriend recognized her road bike from a published photograph. The man said the crash site was along the route his girlfriend always took to her job as a health coach at an Edgewater health facility, and her coworkers had called him when the woman didn’t show up to work. The boyfriend said he was with the victim’s family. “We can’t believe it… it’s just shocking,” he said.
CBS reported that Rebecca Resman, who is organizing a rally for safe streets at the crash site this Friday came to the intersection today, carrying her children in a cargo bike with signs that read “Please put the phone down” and “Don’t hit me.”
“We’ve had five, six if you count the fatality in Evanston, people killed by people that are professionally driving, and that’s why they need to exhibit more due care when they are driving on our streets,” Resman said.
Update 9/27/16 1:30 p.m. The woman has been identified as Anastasia Kondrasheva, 23. Read more about her life here.
Fatality Tracker: 2016 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 18 (eight were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 6 (one was a hit-and-run crash)