Eyewitness to fatal bicycle collision reinforces road conflicts - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Eyewitness to fatal bicycle collision reinforces uneasy sharing of road

MADISON (WKOW) -- Schoolteacher Dana White found herself in her SUV at the intersection of Mineral Point Road and South Yellowstone Drive the Friday before Memorial Day, when a bicycle and tow truck collided, killing the bicyclist.

"I was crying and upset," White tells 27 News.

The trauma for White was intensified, after she said she watched tow truck driver Mitchell Edge approach his left turn from Mineral Point Road, as cyclist Stephen Rader approached in Mineral Point Road's bicycle lane.

"I looked at his face, and I knew that he hadn't seen the bicycle," White said of Edge.

"There were no cars, so he looked, no cars, and I don't think it occurred to him, to look in the bicycle lane."

White also says Edge told police officers a shaded portion of the bicycle lane that afternoon obscured Rader.

"And I know the bicyclist wasn't slowing down, he didn't see the truck," White tells 27 News.

Under driver factors in the collision, a police report notes "fail-to-yield-right-of-way," in reference to Edge. Authorities say no citations have been issued, and an investigation continues. A police spokesperson says that includes awaiting the results of toxicology tests, although authorities say Edge displayed no outward signs of impairment.

The death of 47-year old Rader, A UW-Madison staff member and father, was preceeded by  days by the death of a Whitnall High School student, killed as her bicycle left a bike trail, crossed a busy street and was hit by a SUV.

City of Madison bicycle coordinator Arthur Ross says Rader's death was the seventh bicycle fatality in a collision with a vehicle in Madison since 2000.

Ross says bicycle lanes have been successful in reducing the conflict between modes of transportation, including walking. Madison has 112 miles of on-street, bicycle lanes.

But bicycle commuter David Johnston of Madison says he considers bicycle lanes dangerous and chooses to ride on city sidewalks.

"The cars aren't zooming by you, and with the buses, there isn't much room with the buses," Johnston tells 27 News. "I just feel a lot safer on the sidewalk."

In Wisconsin, Ross says statistics show the most common type of bicycle-motor vehicle crash is a left-turning motorist failing to yield the right of way.




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