Did Bicyclist Killed by DUI Really Come “Out of Nowhere?”

bicycle crash caused by alcoholThe bicycling community in Lincoln, Nebraska is clamoring for the attention of the public after a rider was killed recently by a suspected drunk driver. The cyclist, Randall Gibson, died in the hospital after being hit by a Jeep Cherokee driven by a man who was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .13, well over the legal limit of .08.

The driver, Zygmunt Spicha, who has been charged with motor-vehicle homicide, claimed that the bicycle “came out of nowhere,” according to news reports.

On the Road, There is No “Nowhere”

Perhaps it did. But given the evidence of impairment, it seems more likely that the driver was not able to react quickly enough upon seeing the Gibson. Even at .08, your ability to divide attention between the road and surrounding hazards such as pedestrians and bicyclists is compromised.

Alertness is also down, as is vision. Worse, reaction time is slowed, and this is crucial wherever cars and bicyclists interact on the road.

The fact is, on the road there is no “nowhere” – a driver is obliged to be aware of things in front, to the sides, and to the rear.

Not surprisingly, the CDC reports that 37 percent of bicyclist road deaths involve alcohol – though in some cases the rider is the one drinking.

Bicyclists are right to be concerned – cars are the number one cause of death and injury for bicyclists in America, and a bicycle crash caused by alcohol is an alarmingly common occurrence. Motorists need to be informed, vigilant – and sober – if they are to lose their status as bicylists’ main predators.