Monday, November 9, 2009

Cyclist Killed in Collision with Police Officer Responding to a Non-Urgent Call in Patrol Car

A cyclist was killed this morning in the University City neighborhood of San Diego when a police officer collided with the cyclist from behind while responding to a non-urgent traffic collision call, reports NBC San Diego and NBC 7 broadcast.

(Photo by NBC San Diego).

The 64-year-old cyclist died at the scene around 7:19am, reports the San Diego Police Department Traffic Division. The officer, who struck the cyclist from behind en route to a non-urgent traffic collision call without sirens or lights, is uninjured, reports San Diego News Network.

According to NBC 7 broadcast news, the cyclist was traveling southbound on Genesse Avenue in the bike lane before changing lanes to make a left turn onto Governor Dr. The police officer was also traveling southbound on Genesse, apparently at the exact posted speed of 45mph, before striking the cyclist from behind, sending him to his death. Sign On San Diego claims that the cyclist's turn into the left lane was 'abrupt.'

However, turning left into the right-most lane which serves your destination (such as a left-turn lane when your intention is to make a left turn) is completely legal under California law. It sounds like the police officer never saw the cyclist; otherwise, the officer would have yielded upon seeing the cyclist and/or would have turned on lights and sirens to alert the cyclist, "play it safe," and to most likely prevent another collision from happening.

The cyclist was wearing a red helmet and a vest with reflective patches, reports Sign On San Diego.

(Photo by NBC San Diego).

Apparently, because the officer was traveling at 45mph, which is the exact posted speed limit, the officer was not required to turn on lights or sirens. Speeds that are over the speed limit are considered 'emergency' situations, and therefore necessitate lights and sirens, reports SDPD Traffic Division.

Updates to follow as they emerge.

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