Before I left work yesterday evening I saw a call on the board for a cyclist struck by a car and the location was about a mile from my house. The first thing I did was call Eric to find out where he was. Eric and I have rode together for about 15 years now and have done 5 Ironmans together. Thank God he anwered his phone. As the traffic team was rolling out of the station my stomach was in knots and my instinct was to grab a unit and haul ass out there, but I knew I had to stay away. Not my area of expertise and honestly, I didn't want to see it. I knew they would call me as I'm "that guy" in the station. Sure enough I got the call. Red Fuji bike and the rider was deceased. They gave me his name and at first I couldn't bring him to mind until they described him. I knew the guy who he was riding with though, as two of his brothers work for this department as well. Then it dawned on me. It was Matt. One of those hard corps riders who rides every day after he got off work at the local Home Depot. I had met him on the parkway several times and had to suck his wheel each time to keep up with him even though he's in his mid 50's. I recalled the first time I ran into him on the Parkway. I was dying and needed a lift back home. He was coming the other way, so I cut across the median to grab his wheel. We talked a bit as he commented on my tri-bike and then he put the hammer down. He graciously let me suck his wheel all the way back to my house. We sat up, introduced ourselves and gave each other that riding glove handshake. He made an impression on me as one of those "nicest people I've ever met" type of guys. I was also impressed with his jersey. It was completely sun baked. The sign of someone who rides pretty much every day.
Long story short, Matt was riding with Steven yesterday in the afternoon after he got of work. They were in the wide bike lane on the Parkway, but they were going up this hill that curves to the right at the top. Matt was riding on the traffic side, but still inside the bike lane. There's three lanes of traffic in this area. At the top of the hill, where it curves to the right, drivers in the #3 lane (slow lane) always get near the fog line. I guess it's instinct as they are slightly turning right as they crest the hill. - We even commented about this last Saturday as we went up this hill when a car came scary close to us. - Well, a young male driver was coming up this hill and he appeared to be distracted by something, as other drivers reported he swerved in an out of the bike lane as he was going up the hill. Unfortunately Matt and Steven were right at the top where drivers only have a second or so to realize bikes are right there. The driver hit Matt from behind, leaving no skidmarks. - The traffic team took the driver's cell phone as evidence to see if he was on it or texting. They later booked him at the jail for vehicular manslaughter. A misdemeanor. I guess that really doesn't matter as it won't bring Matt back. We'll post a ghost bike at the top of the hill to remind drivers to watch out for us. I'll see if I can get the city to post traffic whips up that hill and around that corner on the fog line. Hopefully they will do it as this is a very dangerous location on an otherwise very safe place to ride. Keep Matt's family in your thoughts and prayers. Be as safe as you can while out on the roadways.