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Trucker swerves past cyclist and hits 30 others

The Local · 10 Aug 2012, 09:25

Published: 10 Aug 2012 09:25 GMT+02:00

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The 33-year-old rider was injured so severely that he died at the scene, while two others were taken to hospital, the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper reported on Friday.

The driver of a 7.5-tonne truck was travelling along a fairly straight road near Hamburg when he moved out into the other lane to overtake a cyclist – without noticing a group of around 30 cyclists coming towards him.

There was no way the driver could stop his truck in time and he smashed into the leading cyclists of the group – students and staff from Hamburg University who went on regular training rides along that route.

Three of them were knocked from their bikes and despite the efforts of his friends, the 33-year-old died on the road. Emergency crews tried but failed to resuscitate him, before taking two of his friends to hospital. The truck driver was also treated for shock.

Police have launched an investigation.

Story continues below…

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:10 August 10, 2012 by reprap
Far too often do I see cyclist riding in the road when there is a bike path only meters away. I don't know if that was the case here.
10:48 August 10, 2012 by pepsionice
I'm actually surprised that this doesn't happen more often....especially in July and August. I used to live in a village that would shut down every street in town on the first Sunday of August and two of the streets leading into/out of the village, to make some giant bike racing rally. From 7AM until 5PM, this town was completely shutdown. My guess is that the bulk of the town accepted this but at least ten percent were fairly unhappy with this restriction.
10:59 August 10, 2012 by Landmine
I see this happen all the time, bicyclists riding in packs taking over the lane. They are supposed to be in a single line, but they break the rules and take up the entire lane. There will be more accidents like this until police crack down on these idiots who think they are cars...
11:14 August 10, 2012 by Simon_Kellett
Whatever the road/cyclepath layout or law (eg racing cyclists are not required to use a cyclepath, even if there is one) the driver should have seen a group of 30 cyclists: they would take a lot of road space, and be very colourful.

I will also speculate and say that hopefully the police will be checking the driver's eyesight and mobile phone records !
11:14 August 10, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
The anti-cyclist brigade out in force early today without even knowing the facts of what happened here. Blame the bikes. Not the fault of car and truck drivers at all for using their tonnes of weight advantage on vulnerable cyclists. How often cyclists get killed by negligent driving is the real cause for concern. Cyclists have a right to be on the road also and the statisitics of how many get killed every year is alarming. I have given up cycling unless I have to because it is no longer safe or enjoyable. All to make way for the increasing amount of cars hitting the road with most of them with one person per car. Maybe it is time to encourage more cyclists to use the roads and leave the cars behind but I doubt this will happen as the car industry is king in Germany which is destroying our quality of life.
11:41 August 10, 2012 by zeddriver
@Berlin fuer alles

I'm a recreational bicyclist. And even I get frustrated at how arrogant SOME riders have become. I live in a small village in the Rhineland-Palitinate. It is very popular with the racer crowd. The roads into and out of my village a narrow enough that when a buss and car meet. Wheels have to go of the pavement to avoid hitting one another. And yet I have routinely come across bikers that would ride 4 wide. Thus blocking the whole road. And when I pulled up behind them. They refused to give way by going single file for a short distance. The sharing of the road goes both ways. But as you are anti car. You probably wouldn't support cyclists having a few rule to follow. I do think that cyclists do get killed by negligent driving every day. SOME of it happens to be the cyclists negligent driving also.

To often cyclists will be on the road. But their attention is on the view. Looking at birds and little creatures, flowers along the way. Weaving to and fro. If there is a bike path a bike should HAVE to use it. Or maybe I should drive my car down the bike path as the cyclists don't seem to use them.

I know for a fact. That as a pedestrian. I do have the right of way at a crosswalk. Yet. I will not insist on those rights if a truck is approaching or traffic is heavy and moving quickly.
12:00 August 10, 2012 by raandy
There are responsible cyclist and I see them everyday.There are also arrogant and irresponsible cyclist that think the autos should watch out for them and they can change the rules at will.

@Berlin fuer alles we do not know all the facts which is typical , but the truth about the actions of some cyclist we do, I assume you ride more than you drive
12:47 August 10, 2012 by Username2
Get bikes of the road, I sometimes ride one to work and use a bike path. Try standing on the road without a bike for some reason people think a sticking a frame between your crouch gives you magic powers of protection, living next

door to a nuclear power plant is safer. Its sad people have to lose there lives

in such an unavoidable act.

My condolence to the family.
14:46 August 10, 2012 by reprap
If a bycycle path is available all bycycles must use the bycycle path. If a bycycle path is available and the bycycle causes an accident the cycycle is at fault. But what I can tell from this accident one was not available.
15:22 August 10, 2012 by toemag
I drive a truck for a living, not a 7.5tonner but a larger one, and I don't consider a 7.5ton truck to be anything special as anyone in Germany with a car licence can drive one.

You'd be surprised at the stupidity of road users, most of these cyclists will have drivers licences of their own, and once they get on their bicycles, they either forget or ignore the highway code. To equal the playing field I'd suggest that each bicycle have registration plates front and rear, have to be insured and taxed, and pass a yearly TüV.
18:48 August 10, 2012 by zeddriver
I went for a nice afternoon drive in my roadster to Idar-Oberstein then up the Mosel toward Trier today. That stretch of road has bicycle path's all over the place on both sides of the river. While out today. The vast majority of the cyclists were on the proper path. One thing that I noticed. The folks using the path all looked to be casual family tourist riders. But. All the Lance Armstrong wannabe racers dressed up for the Le Tour De France. Were out on the B-53 highway while there were paths on both sides of the road. The speed on this road is 100KPH. So there you go Berlin fuer alles The cyclists were making everyone drive in an unsafe manner simply because they (the racer cyclists) think they are king of the road and don't have to use the proper path. In one of the small villages. There was what appeared to be a husband and wife riding through town (of course dressed in race wear) on the main road. Traffic was such that even though the village speed was 50KPH I was doing 15-20KPH as they had decided to ride side by side. They COULD have pulled to the side for a bit and let traffic pass. or used a bike path. But no! They blocked the road for 2.5 KM.
21:33 August 10, 2012 by Bigbobswinden
Come on, as a driver it is your duty not to run over other road users. If they are being stupid in what they are doing get the law makers on the job, do not endanger them.
21:43 August 10, 2012 by coffeelover
@ #10, I agree completely with your comment. Insurance carriers would then charge rates commensurate with collisions involving bicycles, no matter whose fault, and cyclists would have to weigh costs versus danger. In actuality, it would amount to a life ins. policy, which would not pay out if cyclist failed to follow any road rule. When a cyclist causes a collision, it affects the driver as much, sometimes more, and often long-term psych trauma which the driver has to cope with while lawyers castigate the driver as a bottom-feeder.
21:50 August 10, 2012 by puisoh
It is that sense of entitlement at play folks.
22:54 August 10, 2012 by zeddriver

True enough. To a point. It is also the responsibility of the cyclist to share the road and not pose a danger too themselves and disrupt traffic.

I looked up the German cyclist laws. Here are a few excerpts.

Riding side by side is forbidden on streets and roads. You must ride single file; even in bicycle lanes marked out on the streets.

A stop sign means stop.

If there is a cycle path, you MUST use it and NOT ride on the street or road with traffic.

So. The couple that blocked traffic for several kilometers by riding side by side. Were breaking the law.

On the 46 kilometer drive I did from Bernkastel-Kues to Longuich. Which by the way has Bike paths the whole distance. I SHOULD have seen ZERO bikes on the road. I estimate that I saw 70-80. Again they were breaking the law. They were not only exposing them selves to danger unnecessarily. They were also creating quite unnecessarily a navigation hazard for motorists. Of course the police will do nothing. As they are just cyclists.
23:23 August 10, 2012 by OkieinBerlin
Here we have a case in which a truck driver passes slower traffic without looking to see if the road is clear, and smashes into and kills oncoming traffic. Pretty clear case of vehicular slaughter, folks, whether you like bicyclists or not.
00:50 August 11, 2012 by zeddriver

I'd agree that the truck driver is in a bit of a pickle. And rightly so.

But that does not make a debate about whether bikes belong on the road or not invalid. I'm sure that back in the day a long long time ago when the roads were not nearly as busy as they are now. The law makers had no idea how crowded the roads would become.

I imagine that right after the war. A very large plurality of the German populace rode bikes as the main means of getting around. So. Bikes were allowed on the not so busy roads because of necessity. Now. A vast majority of bikes on the road are there because it's a hobby and sport. Not because they are necessary to get from point A to B.

And as I said. In the space of 90 minutes on a 46 Km road today. I counted 70-80 cyclists blatantly disregard the law.
10:58 August 11, 2012 by ChrisRea
This article is about one of many careless truck drivers who killed another participant to the traffic. There is no debate whether cyclists belong on the road or not. The issue is clear: if there is a cycle road, then the cyclist should use that instead of the normal one. Otherwise they have the same right as cars, trucks or motorbikes (again, on normal roads, not on Autobahn or Kraftfahrstraße where they are not allowed at all).

The article does not mention if the 30-cyclist group was moving in a single file or side-by-side. So we cannot assume they had any guilt.
20:39 August 11, 2012 by NEUEVILLA
Were the oncoming cyclists riding in single file as required by law? If so it is extremely unlikely that the road was not wide enough for two cyclists and one 7.5 ton truck.
20:02 August 12, 2012 by Karl_Berlin
Agree with ChrisRea on his points - but not his music :)
04:12 August 13, 2012 by franconia
Disregard Berlin fuer alles. He is a GREEN and wants to set back Germany to 1922. Maybe even plow with Cows
07:16 August 15, 2012 by wood artist
The "battle" between bicycles and cars/trucks is universal, with bad actors on both sides. One thing does, however, remain true.

The bicyclist may well be violating the law, but that doesn't give the driver the right to run them down or kill them. It's no different than a child who darts into the roadway...yes, they don't belong there, but they don't deserve to die because they were there.

I'm not necessarily a fan of draconian enforcement, but I wouldn't mind seeing more tickets issued to bicyclists who can't seem to understand the basics. STOP means stop seems to be a regular problem in my neighborhood in the US.

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