Right-Turning Dump Truck Driver Fatally Struck Angela Park, 39, in Greektown

This was the fourth fatal Chicago bike crash involving a right-turning trucker within about two years

Photo: Mitch Dudek, Sun-Times, used with permission
Photo: Mitch Dudek, Sun-Times, used with permission

Update 8/10/18, 12:30 PM: The Cook County medical examiner’s office has identified the cyclist as Angela Park, 39, of the 3400 block of South Prairie Avenue in the Douglas community area, near the Illinois Institute of Technology. The post has been updated with biographical info about Ms. Park.

Update 8/10/18, 12:15 PM: The Sun-Times has reported that the truck driver was cited for striking a pedestrian in the roadway. 

Less that two weeks after a motorist struck and killed Luster Jackson, 58, on his bike in South Shore, this morning a truck driver fatally struck cyclist Angela Park while making a right turn at Madison and Halsted in Greek Town.

At about 7:10 a.m. Park was biking north on Halsted when the trucker attempted to make the right turn and struck her, according to Officer Patrick McGinnis from Police News Affairs. Aerial photos tweeted by WGN traffic reporter Sarah Jindra indicate that the truck driver was turning right onto Madison, by a construction site at the southeast corner, when they struck the cyclist.

Aerial photo of the crash site, looking west on Madison towards Halsted. Photo: Sarah Jindra, WGN, via Twitter
Aerial photo of the crash site, looking west on Madison towards Halsted. Photo: Sarah Jindra, WGN, via Twitter

Park was transported to Northwestern Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 7:33 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. The Sun-Times reported that a bike helmet and a broken pair of sunglasses were visible below the truck, which is owned by Lakeshore Recycling Systems.

Angela Park
Angela Park

The driver was cited for striking a pedestrian in the roadway. Following the crash, westbound Madison was closed between Des Plaines to Halsted, and eastbound Madison was closed from Halsted to the Kenned Expressway, WGN reported.

Park was married and the mother of two young daughters. She was a spin instructor at the Chicago Athletic Club and a triathlon coach. According to her CAC profile, she graduated from Northwestern University with an M.S in elementary education and a B.S. in human development. She started her career as a swim instructor in the mid ’90s and went on to do several types of fitness instruction and coaching. She completed more than 100 triathlons, including two Ironman long-distance competitions. “Angela was much beloved at CAC and a great coach to our community of athletes,” CAC spokeswoman Tasha James told Block Club Chicago.

In 2016, right-turning truck drivers fatally struck three female or gender-nonconforming cyclists in Chicago, and another female cyclist died in a truck crash in Evanston. In response, in July 2017 Chicago’s City Council passed a new ordinance requiring that any business with a city contract worth $2 million or more to install side guards and convex mirrors on all trucks used to fulfill the contract that weigh 10,000 pounds or more. Side guards help prevent cyclists and pedestrians from going under the wheels of the truck in the event of a crash, which can prevent fatal injuries. The city also announced plans to retrofit 1,700 city fleet vehicles with the safety gear.

A Chicago Department of Water Management truck outfitted with side guards. Photo: Airflow Deflector
A Chicago Department of Water Management truck outfitted with side guards. Photo: Airflow Deflector

Photos of the truck from today’s crash published in the Sun-Times article show that it does not have side guards. It’s possible that the equipment could have made a difference in this case, so the city of Chicago should consider expanding the side guard ordinance to include more, if not all large trucks being operated within the city limits to help prevent more of these kinds of tragedies.

Fatality Tracker: 2018 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 24
Bicyclist: 4

Note: Streetsblog Chicago’s traffic death numbers represent fatal crashes on Chicago streets. The pedestrian count above is based on Chicago Police Department data for January-April 2018 released by the Chicago Department of Transportation, plus media reports for May, June, and August.

  • Tooscrapps

    My condolences to her family. Between the quality of the pavement and the heavy trucks and machinery, the conditions for cycling around work sites are terrible.

    Go and sit on any corner in the Loop, especially around City Hall, and watch motorists break any number of laws with impunity. I realize the CPD is grappling with violence around the City, but innocent people are dying on our streets too. The carelessness of motorists and the apathy of the City in enforcing the traffic laws, even right in front of them, is truly astounding.

  • Anne A

    My sympathy to the family and friends of the victim. Ride in peace.

  • ChicagoCyclist

    I am very sorry to hear of this fatal crash. I can’t quite understand the movements of the cyclist and the truck: the cyclist, the article states, “was biking north on Halsted.” The truck, the article says, was “making a right turn at Madison and Halsted,” and “the truck driver was turning right onto Madison, by a construction site at the southeast corner.” Was the truck coming out of one of two ‘gates’ on the Halsted side of the construction site? Or was the truck traveling north on Halsted and then turning right onto Madison (which is two-way here)? My condolences to the cyclist’s family and friends.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    It’s not yet clear exactly how the crash took place, but the position of the bike in the top photo, right at the southeast corner of Madison/Halsted, and the location where the truck was parked, just east of the intersection (second photo), suggest that the crash occurred while the truck driver was making a right turn from Halsted onto Madison.

  • Random_Jerk

    Ditto. I’m not saying put a cop on every intersection, but little enforcement would help remind some people about rules of the road. On my ONLY 15 min long bicycle commute there are multiple stop signs that are being routinely ignored by almost about every motorist. The same goes for the one way streets by my workplace. Cops standing next to the “No biking on the sidewalk” sign looking at tourists on Divvis slaloming in between pedestrians is a common sight in my neighborhood…

  • Tooscrapps

    My biggest peeve is motorists who “double” turn from the center travel lanes. Not only are they selfish for not waiting their turn in the dedicated left or right turn lane, but they block the travel lane, and worse, endanger cyclists who are already moving to avoid being hooked. Often times they take these wide turns at speed, bearing down on unsuspecting pedestrians. I see it at every intersection on Wacker.

  • Random_Jerk

    I really don’t get why City of Chicago can’t give some extra powers to the parking enforcement personnel and have them write the tickets for traffic violations. Seems like a pretty simple solution to me. I’ve seen it in some European cities. They have regular police force and “city guards” that perform duties that don’t require full blown police officers.

  • Anne A

    I often see this at Dearborn & Madison and Adams & Dearborn too.

  • Greg

    So sad. RIP.

  • Bleu66

    The bikers break traffic laws as well. Let’s be fair.

  • joaop

    So sad. Traffic in Chicago is far too congested. The city was wrong to encourage bike riding and auto traffic on the same thoroughfares. It is far too dangerous for the bikers. Bikes should be forbidden to share the same streets as auto traffic.

  • joaop

    We are in a lawless, sanctuary city. Drivers here illegally do not even stop to render assistance to persons they run over. You cannot compare today’s Chicago with more civilized urban spaces.

  • skelter weeks

    There’s way too many people out riding who have little idea of how to bike in an urban environment. They ride the wrong way on one way streets, they sit to the right of potentially turning traffic at the stoplight, they have zero understanding of the timing of stoplights, they don’t know where they’re going so they just -STOP- right in front of you, and ignore the big tractor trailer stopped at the light as they zip past my cautiously slowing bike. Accidents waiting to happen.

  • Tooscrapps

    The bikers don’t kill people. Let’s be more fair.

  • yup
  • Tooscrapps

    Wasn’t meant to be a end-all statement. Yes, people have died in collisions with cyclists. It’s extremely rare and I can’t recall it happening in Chicago. More people die tripping and falling. Ban walking.

  • I have a speculation about what happened:
    1. Experienced cyclist sees a dangerous situation up ahead and moves left into the traffic lane in order to “take” it and prevent the driver behind her from passing too close.
    2. Driver behind her doesn’t care, passes anyway.
    3. Driver kills cyclist, still doesn’t care.

  • Carter O’Brien

    All this can be said about drivers as well. How many people driving around Chicago actually learned how to drive here? Not many. Too many SUVs, too many distracted drivers, too many drivers following each other *way* too closely, so they are unprepared for an immediate stop, too many drivers who treat stop signs as suggestions, too many drivers who think that turning right on a red light is a constitutionally protected freedom, etc.

  • Leggy Mountbatten

    “In 2016, right-turning truck drivers fatally struck three female or gender-nonconforming cyclists in Chicago, and another female cyclist died in a truck crash in Evanston”. I’m not sure what this means, exactly? Is that a greater number than men? Is it out of proportion with men? Are they being targeted?

  • johnaustingreenfield

    No male cyclists were killed in truck crashes in Chicago and Evanston during that period.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Correct, there seems to be no record of a cyclist ever fatally striking a pedestrian in Chicago. While all road users are responsible for looking out for their own and other people’s safety, obviously that responsibility is much greater for the operator of a multi-ton truck that can easily cause death and destruction.

  • Bleu66

    How do you know?

  • skelter weeks

    She was a triathlete. Think maybe she was riding really fast?
    I’ve seen some bike riders almost get nailed by turning traffic on Cortland. One guy managed to stop right before he would have hit a car. If they weren’t speeding down the road (if they were going slower), it wouldn’t even be close.

  • skelter weeks

    Still zero fatalities on low-stress streets.

  • Ryan Lakes

    So sad. My condolences.

    Regarding the article and comments, first and foremost it is clearly a driver’s responsibility to operate their vehicles safely, but much more scrutiny/blame needs directed toward the state of the street design at this intersection and what measures CDOT/IDOT have in place to prevent these incidents rather than whether the driver or cyclist was at fault and if vehicular side-guards would have helped. Layered in could be an evaluation of how the temporary concrete barrier for the construction scaffolding may be further endangering cyclists.

    Drivers and driver sympathizers who complain that cyclists ride recklessly need to learn to shift their frustration toward the designers of our roadways who are most responsible for the unsafe conditions that pedestrians and cyclists and drivers are forced to deal with. An intersection designed with vulnerable users’ safety as the #1 priority rather than automobile throughput would have almost certainly prevented this.

  • Nice victim blaming there. Clearly she must have been going too fast, due to being a triathlete, and based on your own observations of cyclists on Cortland, including the one who “managed to stop” before HE hit the car. I pray to the gods of preventable tragedy that your path never crosses those of my friends and loved ones.

    No, I speculate that she was riding at an appropriate speed for a “take the lane” position, and the truck driver either failed to see her or failed to give her enough room in passing.

  • skelter weeks

    Speed kills. Word.

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