To be a bicyclist in Kansas City is to face fear, loathing — and death. It's just so wrong.

Uneasy Riders 

To be a bicyclist in Kansas City is to face fear, loathing — and death. It's just so wrong.

Page 7 of 7

Fatal accident: On July 14, Hammond was pedaling south on Brooklyn. When the road intersected Independence Avenue, he continued across the crosswalk. My Hanh Tran saw the cyclist coming as she drove west on Independence in her white Toyota Sequoia. She told police that the light was green and her SUV was traveling at 35 miles an hour — too fast to make a quick stop. She hit Hammond with her front bumper. The impact tossed him from his seat, and his body skidded 60 feet. His bike was mangled under the tires of the Sequoia. The accident occurred at 2:22 p.m., but police didn't arrive until 45 minutes later. Witnesses gave conflicting accounts of who had the green light and who was at fault. By that time, Hammond was dying in an ambulance bound for Truman Medical Center.

Legal action: A ccording to the police investigation, Tran's SUV may have been going as fast as 44 miles an hour at the time of the collision. (The Pitch was unable to reach Tran for comment.) Because there were no skid marks at the scene, police determined that she didn't slam on her brakes; her momentum carried her more than 80 feet after she struck Hammond. The KCPD's vehicular-crimes section was unable to determine which vehicle had the right-of-way. Tran was not issued a ticket.

Killed

John Triggs

Age: 65

Stats: Triggs had ridden 17,000 miles across the United States and biked through half the countries in Europe. Because he was on his bike so often and knew he was at risk of suffering an accident, Triggs wrote his own obituary, citing his 20 years as an advertising writer and his love of gardening. The father of two was a native Kansas Citian but in recent years had moved to Texas and was in town caring for a sick friend.

Fatal accident: On June 9, 2006, Triggs took a quick ride to the downtown library to pick up a book and send a few e-mails. On his way home, Triggs stopped on the sidewalk at the intersection of Grand and 12th Street. Next to him, straddling both lanes, was a fully loaded cement mixer from Fordyce Concrete Company waiting to turn right. But Triggs couldn't have known that. According to court docu­ments, the truck failed to signal. When the light turned green, Triggs started across the street. Driver Jason Driskell told police that he didn't see Triggs and didn't notice when he hit the cyclist, knocking him off his bike and under the truck's rear tires. "He [Driskell] drug his [Triggs'] body down the road for a block and a half, before people started running behind him, screaming at him," says Denise Henning, the family's attorney. The police found Triggs' crushed red-and-silver Jamis bicycle and two shoes just south of the intersection. Pieces of his shattered helmet littered the street. Triggs died within minutes, but it took several days for a fingerprint match to officially identify him.

Legal action: Driskell faced no criminal charges and wasn't issued a traffic ticket. In April 2007, Triggs' wife and two sons filed a wrongful-death claim against Driskell and Fordyce Concrete Company. "The family was upset at what they believe to be a lack of attention to bicyclists in Kansas City," Henning says. "I think the officers at the scene didn't take it seriously, and there was no follow-up. I've noticed that in some other bike cases. They always assume the bicyclist is the one in the wrong." According to court documents, Driskell and Fordyce argue that Triggs was negligent in riding in a careless manner and initiating contact with the truck. Driskell did not return The Pitch's phone calls. Triggs' family alleges that Driskell was inattentive and failed to yield the right-of-way in a crosswalk. The case is set for trial next summer.

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