Biking weather at last and another Reno cyclist fatality

We tried to beat the rain last weekend with a 29 mile Somersett Loop ride. There were 6 of us and the raindrops started as we headed west through Mogul toward the mountains of Verdi. Two members of our party bailed out and turned around. Four of us decided to head up into Somersett where the road turns back east because it looked drier up there. We had a nice climb and the rain hit us again as we passed Somersett Town Center.  There were some giant gusts of wind that seemed to threaten to knock me off my bike. It was a chilly downhill back to 4th St. We stopped for a coffee break at Waldens. Then we headed home in the rain.

On Monday, due to a busy schedule while my son was at school, I hopped on the trainer after school and did the Tour of California workout.

I have added the Truckee River Gran Fun-Do to my ride schedule next Saturday. This ride is put on by Tour de Nez  as a fundraiser for the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway and Tour de Nez Outreach. It will be a mini fun version of Levis Gran Fondo and includes an almost metric century, an almost half metric century, and a family ride. We finally have some nice riding weather in the forecast so it will be fun to get out there this week to get ready.

Sadly, there was a bicyclist killed in Reno this week. From the Reno Gazette Journal, Tuesday, June 7, 2011:

“A bicyclist died this morning in Reno after being run over by a trash truck, the Reno Police Department reports. The accident happened at about 9:33 a.m. at Mill Street and Kietzke Lane, according to Reno police Sgt. Jim Stegmaier. Stegmaier said both the bicyclist and the garbage truck were heading west on Mill Street at Kietzke Lane. The bicyclist was in the far right lane for bicycles. “The bicyclist had a green light and was trying to go across Kietzke Lane,” Stegmaier said. “The trash truck turned and didn’t see her because she was in a blind spot and ran right over her.” The woman’s name is not being released at this time. Stegmaier said in a news release that she was 45 years old and from Sparks. The driver was 28 and from Reno. Justin J. Caporusso, a Communications Manager with Waste Management issued the following statement: “Waste Management extends our extreme sympathy and sorrow to the family and friends of the victim, and we are working closely with local law enforcement on the investigation.” Alcohol and speed do not appear to be a factor, Stegmaier said. Police continue to investigate the accident and ask any witnesses to call traffic detectives at 775-334-2141.”

Bob Mionske discusses the dangers of bicycles at intersections in his book Bicycling & the Law. One of the safety strategies he recommends is to avoid being in a motorist’s blind spot while waiting at a traffic light. He recommends waiting behind vehicles or passing on the left. In some cities, bicycle boxes are painted at intersections. These boxes place cyclists in front of other vehicles waiting at the intersection. We can’t wait for boxes to be painted, so in the meantime, avoid blind spots and be especially wary of garbage trucks because their blind spots are huge.

My condolences to the family and friends of that bicyclist. All road cyclists know the dangers we face from sharing the road with motor vehicles. It’s sad when something as fun and healthy as bike riding turns deadly.

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