Police said the bicyclist and a Quicksilver Express Courier delivery truck were southbound on 1st Avenue about 2:30 p.m. when the truck turned right, striking the cyclist in the intersection.
The cyclist was in a designated bike lane on the right side of the road as he approached the intersection, police said.
The definition of this type of accident, in cycling terms, is a Right Hook. The fact that it has a name shows that it's something that happens far too often. And in Minneapolis, not only is there the opportunity for a right hook, but a less common left hook as well thanks to several high use bike lanes located on the left side of one way streets. On my commute I ride past the ghost bike for Dennis Dumm, who was also killed by a truck while riding in a designated bike lane.
The City of Portland had a similar issue in 2007, when 3 cyclists were right hooked in designated bike lanes. Two died, and one was seriously injured. This caused Portland to install "bike boxes" at several intersections. A bike box is nothing more than green paint which allows cyclists to pull ahead at a light and have a spot that is visible and out of the blind spot of cars. Do they work?
Increasingly, the answer appears to be a resounding “Yes!” On the heels of that tragic autumn of 2007, there were no cyclist fatalities in Portland in 2008. Since then, there have been some cyclist fatalities in Portland—but there hasn’t been a single right-hook fatality at any bike box. Moreover, a study recently conducted by the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation at Portland State University has confirmed that bike boxes work. Researchers found that both motorists and cyclists exhibit high rates of compliance and understanding about bike boxes, with motorists exhibiting an increase in the rate of yielding, and both motorists and cyclists indicating that they perceive the intersections to be safer with the bike boxes installed.
Minneapolis was voted the #1 cycling city in the United States this year. But, if something isn't done to make cycling safer, something as simple and cheap and effective as a bike box, that designation will seem somewhat hollow.