Share & Be Aware: Right hook leads to fatal crash in Waukesha County

A collision in the right turn lane of a suburban thoroughfare in Waukesha County killed a 59-year-old man riding his bicycle Monday afternoon, according to the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department.

A semi-tractor trailer turning right from westbound Watertown Road onto northbound Redford Blvd. hit the cyclist, who also was in the far right lane. That lane is a dedicated lane for right turns only, and the sheriff’s department release said the man on the bicycle went straight at the entrance to the intersection.

The roadway on the northern outskirts of Waukesha, near the Waukesha Gun Club, has a paved shoulder along the curb, but lacks dedicated lanes for people riding bicycles.

Roughly 76 percent of the fatal crashes involving people on bikes occur on that type of arterial road in Wisconsin, according to a crash study by Robert Schneider, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. His findings were based on an analysis of more than 8,000 crashes in 2011, 2012 and 2013, including the deaths 33 people on bikes in that span.

Additional details on the circumstances of the crash are being gathered by the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department.

While it may be counter-intuitive, cyclists are safest in those situations moving into the middle, or through lane and proceeding straight. That will protect them from the right-hook, in which a motorist turning right fails to see the cyclist off the passenger side of the car.

The fatality also should serve as a reminder to people driving to always check their blind spots on the passenger side for people walking and riding bikes when making a right hand turn. Look to the Bike Fed Share & Be Aware page for additional tips to ride safely.

To date in Wisconsin, six people riding bicycles have been killed in collisions with motor vehicles this year. The drivers in three of those crashes reported they did not see the person on the bicycle riding on the road ahead of them.

Being attentive at all times is the number one responsibility of all people on the road, and will help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities across the state.

Fifteen people were killed in crashes with motor vehicles while riding in 2015, the highest total of the decade. Still, riding a bicycles has become safer, compared to recent history.

The fact is that bicycling is safe and keeps getting safer all the time.

The number of crashes has been on the decline for years, even as the number of people commuting by bicycle increases. The fatal crash numbers are so small, that the variations from year to year are probably statistically insignificant. Of course our goal is to make that number zero.


One thought on “Share & Be Aware: Right hook leads to fatal crash in Waukesha County

  1. I heard about this on TV news on the day of the crash, and I am reasonably sure it was WISN12. The anchor, on the day of the crash, assured the viewers,”the cyclist rode into the path of the truck.” I could not believe how cocksure he was. The newscast impulsively blamed the victim.. Irresponsible journalism. Another indicator of media bias and society’s willingness to laugh off all car-related fatalities. This is why we have so many crashes. Irresponsible driving is presented as cute.

    Maybe the cyclist was at fault, maybe it was the trucker, maybe a little of both. But for the news anchor to blame the victim without a thought, and without investigation, is wrong.

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