A 20-year-old Parma Heights man was killed in a crash Friday.
Patrick Hickey was riding his bicycle to work and crashed into a beer truck at Oakpark Avenue and West 25th Street, a coroner's spokesman said.
He was pronounced dead at 6:55 p.m. at MetroHealth Medical Center.
Police said the accident happened at 3:40 p.m., when Hickey was riding north on the east side sidewalk along West 25th. The truck was also going north.
The truck turned east on Oakpark Avenue and the bike collided with it. Hickey was thrown to the pavement.
Lt. Thomas Stacho said Hickey was riding a bike that didn't have brakes. He was not wearing a helmet. And he was wearing headphones, listening to an I-Pod.
The truck driver was not cited and voluntarily submitted to drug and alcohol testing.
As I read this, Hickey was heading north on the sidewalk and the truck was also heading north. Then truck then turned right (east) onto a side street that Hickey was crossing at the same time, still heading north.
It seems to me like Hickey had the right of way here, doesn't it?
I obviously don't know what happened, and I am not trying to vilify the driver here. Two days ago I failed to see a cyclist on the sidewalk while pulling out of a side street I regularly use. He fortunately stopped, and I let him go, but it made me realize how fast something like that could happen. It's very scary.
Going back to the article though, the part about the i-pod, the "no brakes," and the helmet is very disturbing. Was the i-pod a factor? Was it being played excessively loud? Does a person give up his/her rights as a cyclist if they are using an ipod?
Same for the helmet. Would it have saved him? Where were his injuries? It is very possible that his failure to use a helmet had zero effect on the outcome of this tragedy.
Although I cannot verify this, the "no brakes" comment is a lie. I spoke with someone today who said that Hickey was a bike messenger at some point, which of course means that his "no brakes" bike was most likely a fixed gear with adequate stopping power.
Overall, the article represents the "bikers are guilty" attitude that permeates the media and law enforcement. Including the bits about the i-pod and the no helmet without facts to verify whether these things even made a difference in the accident is very suggestive and unfair. The "no brakes" sentence is also unacceptable (assuming it was a fixed gear with braking power). Stories like these only serve to rile up readers and add to an already disturbing anti-bike sentiment. Just read some of the "comments" after the article to see what I mean.
So, after reading the article today, I called Donna J. Miller, its author. She answered the phone and we discussed the accident. She assured me several times that the driver had the right of way. She was actually quite militant about it. When I pressed her as to why this was the case, she said that the cross street where the accident happened was a "big" intersection and the truck surely had the right of way. I then got her to pretty much admit that she had no idea how big the intersection was and that she had lied to me. I later checked mapquest and verified that the street onto which the truck turned was in a fact a side street, not a "big" intersection. (not that it would really matter in terms of whether a cyclist traveling parallel with a vehicle has the right of way). After I caught her lying to me, I told her that she engaged in "bullshit journalism that fosters a biased attitude towards bikes." She didn't like that too much. We talked a bit more, and when I asked her if she had inquired into whether the driver was listening to his car stereo when the accident happened (a valid question since she included in the article the fact that Hickey was listening to his i-pod), she hung up on me.
After reading the article, speaking to Ms. Miller, and thinking way too much about this tragedy today, I have come to one conclusion: Patrick Hickey was guilty of being a cyclist in Cleveland. Who will be next?