Hit-and-Run Driver Kills 39-year-old Father Biking with Son

This image shows the likely conditions of the stretch of road the 39-year-old father was biking along when he was hit and killed by a person driving.

A person driving hit and killed a father riding his bike with his 15-year-old son on Friday in Caledonia. Tyler Martinez fled the scene of the fatal crash, but was later found by police after his father called them.

This is the fifth person biking who was killed by a person driving this year and the third hit-and-run. The names of the victim and the suspect haven’t been made available yet, but the most recent reports indicate the person driving had his car impounded and has been charged with hit-and-run causing death. A crash report isn’t available at this time.

The father was hit late Friday and when police arrived at the scene some good samaritans were found giving him CPR at the 5400 block of state Highway 32. He had been traveling south with his son,  who was riding on the sidewalk, while he rode in the road.

The speed limit on what is also called Douglas Avenue is 45 mph, more than enough to kill a person riding their bike or a person walking on the side of the road.

Though tragedies like this continue to happen, they continue to happen less often as the years go on. At this time last year, 10 people had been hit and killed while riding bikes compared to four this year.  Both injuries and fatalities from crashes like this are down significantly compared to the 1970s. It is also important to remember that biking remains a safe and healthy way to travel and recreate.

A majority of crashes occur in urban areas, unlike in this case, but a majority of deaths occur on rural roads, as in this case. It is also important to note that many fatal crashes involve alcohol. This is an issue that affects all of those who bike in our communities throughout the state. When you get into the car, make sure you are well rested, sober and store all electronic devices; be ready to give your full attention to the task of driving and look for other people on and along the roadway to help further reduce these numbers. And if you are unfortunately involved in a fatal crash or even just a crash, stay at the scene and call for help. Not stopping is a crime and can delay emergency response to the scene of the crash.

The ultimate goal of the Wisconsin Bike Federation and Share & Be Aware is to reduce fatalities to zero. We are working towards this goal by offering classes and information throughout the state through our Share & Be Aware ambassadors. They can come to schools, universities, police stations, driver’s education classes and events. The classes and information are always free.

People driving can make efforts by taking care when driving on any of our roads in Wisconsin, and by actively looking for people biking and giving them at least three feet of space whenever passing them. In turn, people biking should ride in the same direction as traffic while using hand signals to broadcast movements and can make other efforts like using lights and wearing visible clothing. The Wisconsin Bike Federation also recommends the use of helmets.

Those who are interested in learning from or working with an ambassador can reach out to the program at ShareAndBeAware.org for safety tips and free classes. Ambassadors are spread throughout the state and are often willing to do some traveling.

As a citizen of the area you can help by understanding the laws and lead by example by following the speed limit and giving space to those cycling on our roads. In Wisconsin a driver is required to give cyclists at least three feet of space when passing. You can also write, call or speak with your local elected officials to support funding for cycling safety improvements.

5 thoughts on “Hit-and-Run Driver Kills 39-year-old Father Biking with Son

  1. This is awful. Thank you to the Wisconsin Bike Fed for being the voice of information, concern, education and advocacy when these tragedies occur.

  2. The watchword here is awareness. And there are a couple of aspects of awareness – the first being general education of the public, similar to the “watch for motorcycles” campaigns. And the other aspect is full reporting on consequences and penalties for drivers who, for whatever reason, fail to drive undistracted. While we might have sympathy for whatever distraction (or impairment) might have caused that driver to do this, sympathy for that 15-year-old certainly trumps that.

    We have got to continue to demonstrate to the public that driving carries with it an extreme level of responsibility and failure to live up to that responsibility holds serious and dramatic consequences. My heart goes out to this family. There is nothing they can do to un-do this event.

  3. Dear Mr. Beld,
    I read your report with great sadness. This year it seems I’ve read about too many cyclists being hit from behind.

    I also read through the WBF bullet points for bike safety. It mentions “know when to take the lane”. I believe adding the use of a mirror would be helpful to allow a cyclist to know when they can and need to do this. IMHO, I don’t see how you can preform this important maneuver with out using a mirror. I prefer a good quality helmet mirror because it’s always in place for me to use it and I can direct the mirror to what I want to see with slight movements of my head. It’s so easy to use that I get a look at EVERY vehicle that passes me on the road. I wish all the biking organizations would begin a mirror use campaign, and be as zealous about their use as they are about using helmets. For me, my mirror is a much greater safety device than my helmet.

    Thanks for listening,
    Rich Scott
    Tiger Eye Bike Mirror
    http://www.teamtigereye.com
    630-292-0044
    ghreg@yahoo.com
    Quality bike mirrors made in the USA since 1995

  4. Where is the sidewalk in this picture? Had there been as much care to providing a dedicated bike roadway as to providing a safe place for grass to grow, both cyclists would probably have been safe. If municipalities and DOT won’t provide dedicated bike roadways, the bicyclists should start regularly repurposing what are now called sidewalks. I am very sorry for this loss and tragedy and glad that at least the killer has been identified. It’s time for dedicated bike roadways to separate motorized from non-motorized vehicles. Take the lane will not be enough in this age of distracted, angry, and impaired car and truck drivers.

  5. Imagine being a kid, and spending the rest of your life having seen your father killed by some random, careless driver. Imagine being the mom having to deal with that trauma. I don’t think anyone, actually, can imagine the damage, the grief, the neverending tragedy.

    It angers me no end that this happens. It angers me no end that the typical citizen can’t and won’t spare an ounce of sympathy for the family and this poor kid, and that the typical citizen, including lawmakers, cops, and district attorneys, with save all of their sympathy for drivers in cases like this. We know a lenient sentence is coming, but the Bike Fed and a few others will help it be less lenient.

    Thank you to the Bike Fed for taking the right side- the decent, human side – in these tragedies. Thank you to the Bike Fed for the awareness, and being able to contain their anger enough to try to help remedy the situation constructively. I feel like this guy should be run over several times, slowly. The Bike Fed has to fight against so many people who think the cyclist deserved to die, who have no sympathy for the son who had to watch his father die for no good reason. I can barely understand how you guys can do it, but thank you.

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