Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Deadly Burnside Avenue - East Hartford

There have been three bicycle commuter deaths on Burnside Avenue.  This is especially scary as I occasionally ride Burnside.  After the November crash, I had friends that had seen the news contacting me to make sure it wasn't me.

  • May 2010 - Manuel Herrera, 52 years old, was struck and killed while riding his bicycle.  Crash occurred a 11PM.  Article states that Herrera turned into the path of an oncoming vehicle.  Didn't look like any charges were filed against the driver.
  • September 2011 - Local drunk, Paul Bato, with multiple previous DUI's kills 56 year old William Laramie of East Hartford.  Crash occurred at 5:21PM.  Bato charged with vehicular manslaughter.  
  • November 2011 - Cyclist, 40 year old Daniel Shultz, riding the wrong way taken is out by a Ford Expedition.  Crash occurred just before 6:30PM. 
Two of the crashes occurred at night, reminding us to be visible as hell out there.  Can't have too many lights and reflectors.  You are trying to get the attention of a driver that is probably on the phone or otherwise dangerously inattentive to the task of piloting a muli-ton missile.

One of the cyclists was riding the wrong way against traffic, at night.  All of us know that's a bad practice, but it's still a damn shame that he lost his life.  Vehicular cycling is clearly the best way to go.  Be visible, and take the lane when it makes sense.

The only one of the three that didn't include a bad or risky practice was the drunk that killed William Laramie.  Not much you can do about that situation.  Luckily that asshole is going away for a long time, but should have had his license revoked long before that.  If you're leaving the bar or a party and you see someone getting into their car to drive home drunk, let them know they're a douche bag.

Anyone who has ridden Burnside Avenue knows that it is a dangerous stretch with two lanes each way, when there really should just be one.  The road would benefit significantly from a road diet and bike lanes or at the very least a very wide parking / berm lane with one lane of traffic in each direction.  Unfortunately I don't see that happening any time soon.  I rode a short bit of Burnside tonight on my way home, and although recently repaved there was no hint of a road diet or traffic calming.

Stay safe kiddos.  Remember the car always wins.


Brendan said...

Tony, you still live in that town. Have you contacted the City?

Tony C said...

I did just that. Also cc'd Kate Rattan at the CT DOT, the bike / ped coordinator. Hopefully can at least get some share the road signs.

Tony C said...

Ghost bikes (three of them) are up on Burnside. The one by Goodwin (Larabee) was augmented with a candle and flowers attached to the handlebars.

Tony C said...

I'm putting up the 4th Ghost Bike on Hebron Ave in Glasonbury tonight, near the Rt 2 underpass.

Looks like they arrested the jerk that hit and ran.