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Cyclist Fatality In Illinois: Deborah Wright Died While Riding Near Rock Cut State Park

The Winnebago County Coroner says 49-year-old Deborah Wright of Caledonia was riding eastbound on Harlem Road near Rock Cut State Park yesterday when she was hit from behind.

Wright was taken to the hospital around 9:30 Monday morning. She was originally listed in critical condition and died less than 12 hours later. Police say a 16-year-old boy was driving the white pick up that hit Wright. Loves Park Police say he is cooperating with the investigation.

The Loves Park Police Department says Wright was wearing a helmet when she was hit. Bicyclists in the Stateline say there's a lot more to bike safety than wearing a helmet.

On the heels of the deadly crash, bicyclists in the area are concerned they are not being looked at with caution.

"People should be aware of cyclists on the road, but also to have that infrastructure in place that helps keep a biker safe," said president of the biking group, "I Bike Rockford", Ashley Sarver.

Rest in peace Deborah. 

Full Article:

http://www.wifr.com/content/news/Loves-Park-Police-Bicyclist-in-cri...

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Just really sad news. Can't help but wonder, if a driver is too young to mention their name and take adult responsibility when operating a vehicle, are they old enough to have a driver's license?

It's notable how when teenagers commit crimes, a factor in their treatment in the criminal system is that their minds are considered to still be unformed and their cognitive faculties immature.  Yet, we let sixteen-year-olds drive 3500-pound metal behemoths, with often catastrophic effect.  As noted by Tom A.K.,and to quote the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "In the United States, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is nearly 3 times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over. Risk is highest at ages 16-17. In fact, the fatal crash rate per mile driven is nearly twice as high for 16-17 year-olds as it is for 18-19 year-olds."  In my opinion, the driving age should be 18.  Those are not tractors and Model Ts out there any more.  A lot of lives would be saved that way.  And maybe more cyclists would be created, too. 

Most certainly agree! Maybe 21 would be so much better.

If you say 16 & 17 year olds can't drive and they have to be 18 to get a driver's license, then the fatal crash rate for 18-19 year olds will go up. And if you ban 18 & 19 year olds, the crash rates for ages 20-21 will jump. The crash rate is tied to inexperience. The only way to bring it down is more experience behind the wheel.

Last summer I rode through that area on my tour through the Driftless. Definitely know I can be complacent on country roads, and this senselessness is further proof. 

NB, I went to school with Ashley, but one hundred, one hundred percent to her statement: we need infrastructure in place, INFRASTRUCTURE, to be the larger push behind behavioral change. Stuff like this should not be proof of that. 

It was a year ago the five cyclists in Michigan were killed during a training ride:

http://www.theoaklandpress.com/general-news/20170607/survivors-refl...

Completely agree, infrastructure is critical. Sounds like they don't have that option. One thing that worries me here - when a driver hits cyclists from behind it makes me wonder if that driver was distracted (smart phone) or under the influence. Similar to the underage teenager last year that killed his teacher and her husband when they were riding together in Illinois. He (allegedly) threw his drugs out the window. 

I rode almost exclusively on country roads for a year and you really are completely vulnerable - hoping drivers are careful when passing.

On roads like that, for example two-laners in Michigan or Wisconsin with 55-mile-per-hour speed limits, you're really kind of just praying that the drivers are paying attention.  It's kind of a helpless feeling sometimes.  But usually they are, and usually we're OK.  Usually. 

Infrastructure planners and implementer s definitely do not ride bikes :( 

I don't really want to derail a discussion about a tragedy with this, but that's fundamentally not true. In fact, the planner in this scenario is an avid cyclist. 

But we, as constituents of politicians who control funds to build things, need to advocate BETTER and be aware of how to create policy to change things, as well as encouraging our non-cycling buddies who maybe WOULD enjoy livable environments for all (elderly! children! pedestrians! People who can't drive cars!), that would ENCOURAGE them to cycle, to focus on these better changes for all in the future. I mean, hijole, if Trump's budget gets his way and TIGER passes, there will be literally ZERO of that. And that's a huge macro-level policy. 

You have to start somewhere. And behavioral change is a lot harder without tactile reinforcement and people pushing for better policy. 

Thanks, I appreciate the discussion. When you say it's "fundamentally not true" are you referring to my comment on distracted driving or the age of the driver? 

I agree, infrastructure is at the root of the issue and easiest to address with funding (behavior the hardest), but, when every day I am on the road I see a swerving driver in the bike lane, looking at their phone, it amazes me our cyclist stats aren't worse than they are.

Oh, no, definitely not! I mean more of the "Infrastructure planners definitely don't ride bikes" sentiment, for SURE. (Mostly, because, I'm being annoying and taking this v. situation with Ms. Sarver personally, because I know her as both a planner AND a cyclist).

Ah, ok, thanks for clarifying. Sometimes these threads aren't 100% clear. :-) 

I was impressed with the visibility she had in the article and how cyclists have a voice in answering questions about the tragedy so quickly. 

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