Category Archives: Death on the Road

Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act

Your support is essential to the success of a major new roadway safety campaign. Even if you do not ride a bicycle and do not walk except to and from your car, roadway safety still has to be a concern. Please take a few minutes to sign on to the campaign here – http://nysafestreets.org.  and select TAKE ACTION.

As motor vehicles have grown larger, with increases in distracted driving and speeding, more cyclists and pedestrians are being seriously injured and killed. While we have seen some minor improvements to pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure, our roads are still largely designed and built to carry motor vehicles and are unsafe for all other users.

Nicholas Richichi, age 53, 10/29/07

For these reasons, the Albany Bicycle Coalition has joined Walkable Albany and a statewide coalition of bicycling and other road safety advocates in our common effort to pass the NY Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act (CVRSA). The seven bills in the CVRSA will permit municipalities the option to lower their speed limits, mandate 3-foot clearance when passing cyclists, support Complete Streets initiatives that improve road safety for all users, better educate drivers to protect vulnerable road users, and provide support to those personally impacted.

As part of The New York Safe Streets Coalition’s launch of the campaign for the CVRSA, Albany Bicycle Coalition released the following short video:  https://youtu.be/2qpVRHWNd1A.

For further CVRSA information, see http://nysafestreets.org.

The complete set of bills in the CVRSA are as follows:

Speed Limit Authorizes cities, villages and towns (outside NYC) to reduce the speed limit to twenty-five miles per hour.S02021 (May)A01007 (Paulin)
Sammy’s Law Allows lower life-saving speed limits in NYCS524 (Hoylman)A4655 (Gottfried)
Complete StreetsIncreases state funding where the municipality agrees to fund a complete street design feature. S3897 (Kennedy)A8936 (Fahy)
Complete Streets MaintenanceIncludes, when possible, complete street design features in resurfacing, maintenance, and pavement recycling projects and further enable safe access to public roads for all users.S5130 (Kennedy)A7782 (Rivera)
Safe PassageRequire drivers pass bicyclists at a safe distance of min. 3 feet.S4529 (Harckham)A547 (Steck)
DMV Pre- Licensing CourseEducates NY drivers about safely interacting with vulnerable road usersS1078A (Gounardes)A5084/7032 (Gallagher)
Crash Victim Bill of RightsGuarantee rights & a voice for crash victims and their loved ones in legal proceedingsS8152 (Hoylman)Glick

Join the Push for Safer Streets for All – To do your part in pushing for safe roads, you need to contact both of your state legislators to express your support for the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act.

Since many organizations that are not primarily involved with cycling, walking, or roadway safety should still have an interest in this initiative, you may want to sign your organization on to the campaign. You can complete this form.

Diva De Loayza, age 40, 6/6/07

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John Lynch Killed in Crash – 7/20/21

UPDATE 9-21-21: John Host Lynch Memorial Gathering – Sat, 9/25, 2:30 PM – Join us at the Albany Barn, 56 Second St., Albany, on September 25 at 2:30 pm to celebrate the life of John Lynch. We encourage you to share stories and memories after a brief ceremony. Friends and family welcome. Questions? – Layla, (845) 616-0626 or the Facebook.

John, a local bicycle and bike rescue luminary and Honest Weight Food Co-op worker, was killed in a car crash in Kingston on 7/20/21. See below. Obituary – John Lynch Obituary (1964 – 2021) – Kingston, NY – Daily Freeman (legacy.com)

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John Lynch – 7/20/21 – John was active in the Capital Region bicycle scene and was heavily involved in Troy Bike Rescue as a volunteer and board member. He always had a happy word or smile to share. The fatal crash occurred on Washington Ave. in Kingston. Bike-Friendly Kingston held a memorial ride for John on 7/23/21. One of the comments at Bike-Friendly Kingston, NY | Facebook was “I want to share my appreciation to everyone who attended this event and helped make it happen. As one of the riders who was with John when this accident occurred, seeing such strong community support has been really helpful to my healing. To those who knew John, I want you to know that his last hours seemed filled with a lot of joy. The big smile that was on his face for much of his last ride will always be with me.”

John was active in Kingston as a bike tech at the YMCA’s “Lend a Wheel” Program – see – PHOTOS: Lend a Wheel – Daily Freeman This program offers bicycle repair clinics, loans, and giveaways.

“We also lost a longtime staff person, John Lynch, to a bicycle accident (sic.) in July. John was a bicycle safety advocate and social justice advocate, among all the other things that were commendable about his character. No obituary is available for John at this time. Our hearts and condolences go out to all those who knew and loved John.” (From Honest Weight Food Co-op’s “Honest Slate” Newsletter, 8/21 https://www.dropbox.com/s/ubh69he1lqsgo76/2021%20August%20Slate%20FINAL.pdf?dl=0 )

From Troy Bike Rescue …

Photos courtesy Carrie Will and Kingston YMCA
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Lynch Ghost Bike

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William Drake – Struck and Killed

Drake GB Sign

The bicycle community was again saddened by the death of another young cyclist struck and killed by two motor vehicles. See Channel 10 Report. The report is not clear on how the crash occurred but states, “no tickets or charges have been filed” and “New York State Police are investigating …” while … “the investigation remains ongoing.“  See also The Leader Hearld.

William “Billy” Drake lived in Mayfield on Sacandaga Lake 50 miles NW of Albany. See also obituary.

On 8/7/20, cyclist Mike installed William’s ghost bike and made these observations: “I installed the Ghost Bike for Billy Drake today. It is on NYS Rt. 30 North of Dennie Loop Rd. The site shows that the road shoulder is 8 ft. wide, and totally clear of any reason to veer into the roadway [Ed: as alleged by the motor vehicle operator]. I noticed some auto trim plastic near the tree I selected to secure the bike to, so I suspect this may have been from the accident but can’t be sure.”

In closing, he stated, “Installing a Ghost Bike is a gripping experience.” Having had this experience on too many occasions, this is truly an apt observation.

Drake GB

If one looks at Rt. 30 for the full stretch by Dennie Loop Rd. (see Google Map), the road is absolutely straight and clear with but four driveways on the opposite side from the crash site and no visible obstructions. The shoulders on Rt. 30 are 8 ft. wide.

The Crash Scene – The first image is of State Rt. 30 looking north. Billy was traveling South (toward you) on this shoulder. The crash was in this approximate location. (The tire marks on the pavement are near the scene, but not related to it.) This shows that the shoulder is very wide and very clean.

Drake Crash Scene A-7-4-20

This does not explain why Billy would have turned into traffic as alleged. The shoulder left of the cables was relatively clean with no glass, just a small amount of trash, and some plastics auto trim pieces (that might have been related).

The second image is from across the road with the new ghost bike just visible in the left center.

Drake Crash Scene B-7-4-20Gloversville’s  The Leader Hearld provided the following report (lightly edited): Two people in one of the vehicles involved in a July 4 bicyclist crash that killed a 16-year-old Mayfield resident have been arrested for allegedly false information on the fatal accident. Benjamin Govel, 27, of Clifton Park was charged by State Police on Thursday with making a false written statement, a misdemeanor, and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, also a misdemeanor. Also charged was Breanna J. Ferrara, 27, of Halfmoon with first-degree falsifying business records, a felony.

The two were charged after police discovered they had allegedly provided false information on the fatal accident that led to the death of William Drake. The pair had allegedly lied about who was driving the second vehicle that had hit Drake.

The 16-year-old bicyclist had been traveling on the southbound shoulder of Rt. 30, facing east and began to enter the roadway when the first vehicle driven by 23-year-old Julie Tineo, of Amsterdam, swerved into the oncoming lane to avoid hitting him. The front passenger side of the vehicle hit the front tire of the bike, spinning Drake and sending him further into the southbound lane.

It was originally reported that the second vehicle driven by Ferrara was unable to stop or avoid the bike, striking Drake in the roadway. Drake was taken to Nathan Littauer Hospital where he died.

However police determined that Ferrara was the passenger of the second vehicle and Govel was the actual  driver. Police issued Govel and Ferrara appearance tickets, and they are scheduled to appear in Mayfield Town Court on Aug. 11, 3 p.m.

The Context – For a run down on area fatalities of people on bicycles, go to “Roads Remain Unsafe for People on Bicycles.”  If this report does not convince you of the subject line’s veracity, well …

Ride of Silence – COVID-19 forced postponement of Albany Bicycle Coalition’s 13th Annual Ride of Silence to commemorate the injury and death of people on bicycles.

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Roads Remain Unsafe for People on Bicycles

16-Year-Old Struck and Killed – The bicycle community was again saddened by the death of another young cyclist struck and killed by two motor vehicles. See – https://www.news10.com/top-stories/police-16-year-old-on-bicycle-killed-after-crashing-into-car-on-state-highway-30/  The report is not clear on how the crash occurred but states that  “no tickets or charges have been filed” and “New York State Police are investigating  while … “The investigation remains ongoing.“

The Scene – If one looks at Rt 30 for the full stretch by Dennie Loop Rd. (see https://www.google.com/maps/search/Dennie+Loop+Road,+in+the+town+of+Mayfield/@43.126514,-74.2480724,48m/data=!3m1!1e3 ) the shoulders on Rt 30 are a generous 10 ft wide (using Google measurement tool).

David Ryan – June 29, 2004 (age 32)

Ryan 3 - Completed 10-28-07

Roger L. Sawyer – October 19, 2017 (age 30)

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Ride of Silence – COVID-19 forced the Albany Bicycle Coalition to postpone its annual Ride of Silence to commemorate the injury and death of people on bicycles.

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Matthew Ratelle – December 20, 2012 (age 40)

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Edston J. Kirnon – July 22, 2017

The Growing List – Notice in the following lists the frequency of drunk, reckless, sleeping, and inattentive drivers. Ghost bike memorial locations* are now as follows:

  • William Drake – July 4, 2020 (age 16) Bicyclist hit by two cars, Rt. 30, Mayfield
  • Edston J. Kirnon – July 22, 2017 (age 42) Bicyclist collided with side of CDTA bus, N. Pearl St., Albany
  • Roger L. Sawyer – October 19, 2017 (age 30) Bicyclist run down by SUV, Washington Ave. Ext., Albany

Roger L. Sawyer – October 19, 2017 (age 30)

Sawyer 10-18-17

  • John J. Cummings – January 27, 2016 (age 65) Bicyclist run down from behind and killed, Amsterdam Rd., Glenville

John J. Cummings – January 27, 2016 (age 65)

Cummings 1-27-16

  • Robert Agne, DVM – September 7, 2015 (age 54) Bicyclist killed by sleeping driver crossed centerline, Rt. 30 Pawlet, VT

Robert Agne, DVM – September 7, 2015 (age 54)

bob agne saratoga rood and riddle fb 500

  • Stephen Nolan – June 2, 2014 (age 53) Bicyclist killed by car, King & Federal Sts., Troy
  • Brian Bailey – March 11, 2014 (age 37) Bicyclist killed by truck, Route 9W, Ravena
  • Matthew Ratelle – December 20, 2012 (age 40) Bicyclist killed by impaired driver, Rt. 22, Petersburg
  • Paul J. Merges, Jr. – November 24, 2012 (age 45) Bicyclist killed by drunk driver, Manning Blvd. & Roosevelt St., Albany
  • Nicholas Richichi – October 19, 2007 (age 53), Bicyclist killed by motor coach, Fuller Rd., Colonie
  • Diva De Loayza – June 6, 2007 (age 40) Bicyclist killed by car, Western Ave. at Homestead Ave., Albany
  • Alan R. Fairbanks – October 29, 2006 (age 72) Bicyclist hit by car/died, Rt. 5-S at bicycle path, Rotterdam)
  • Jose Perez – August 3, 2006 (age 60) Bicyclist killed by SUV, Broadway at Quay St., Albany.
  • Joel Melnikoff – July 3, 2006 (age 49) Bicyclist killed by drunk driver, Rt. 32, Bethlehem

Joel’s 11/18/07 ghost bike and its 2020 replacement (thanks to MHCC):

  • David Ryan – June 29, 2004 (age 32) Bicyclist killed by reckless driver, Riverview Rd., Rexford
  • Robert F. Zayhowski – July 16, 2000 (age 43) Bicyclist killed by drunk driver/SUV, Rt. 66, Sand Lake

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Matthew Ratelle – December 20, 2012 (age 40)Matthew Ratelle 10-26-72 -- 12-20-12 C

Paul J. Merges, Jr. – November 24, 2012 (age 45)

Paul J. Merges Jr 11-24-12

Additional Incidences (From the Times Union archives provided in 2007) – Earlier deaths are as follows:

  • Eric M. Taylor, July 2, 2007 (age 18) Hit by car (swerved into traffic), Rt. 197, Fort Edward
  • Bill Page, Aug. 2, 2004 (age 79) Hit by car (swerved into traffic – tire blowout?) Rt. 9, Saratoga County
  • Larry Finkle, Nov. 17, 2001 (age 54) Hit by a drunk driver while crossing Rt. 9, Malta in the dark
  • James V. Percent, Aug. 19, 1998 (age 50) Killed in head-on collision with a city trash collection truck, Albany
  • Thomas Van Patten, June 12, 1997 (age 71) Rode into path of a car, Rt. 9, Schodack
  • Joseph Raymond Hebert, Aug. 22, 1997 (age) Rode into path of tractor-trailer, Glens Falls
  • Andrew Spiller, June 7, 1992 (age 26 of Rochester) Participating in an endurance bicycle race when hit around 1:00 AM by 18-year-old drunk driver Jason Lamphere, Rt. 29A, Town of Stratford. Woman who provided beer to Lamphere (who also died). later charged with unlawfully dealing with a child
  • Albert Lester, June 7, 1992 (age 31 of Westwood, Mass) Participating in the above race when hit around 2:00 AM by drunk driver Gerald S. Hill, Jr., 18. County Rd. 119, Town of Ephratah. Hill later sentenced to 1-1/3 to 4 years in prison. Denied parole in 1994. The owner of the market where Hill bought beer that night charged with unlawfully dealing with a child. (This was the second year for the endurance, but it was never held again after the two deaths.)
  • Donald Conklin, June 15, 1990 (age 22) Hit by a car while riding through a parking lot off Rt. 9, Hudson
  • Edward Sinclair, June 11, 1987 (age 25 of Schenectady) Hit by a car after riding through a stop sign, Vrooman Ave. and E. Main St., Amsterdam
  • Andrew W. Hummel, March 24, 1987 (age 22 of Latham) Hit by a car on Rt. 9, Colonie. No one charged, but it appears driver was at fault
  • Robert Palmer (age 14) and David R. West (age 16) Sept. 6, 1986 Hit by drunk driver, Rt. 50, Ballston Spa. Driver Randy L. Hotaling later sentenced to 1-1/3 to 4 years in prison
  • Vicki A. Spezio, July 4, 1986 (age 13) Hit by drunk driver while trying to cross Central Ave., Colonie on her bike. Driver Charles P. Wells later sentenced to 60 days in prison and three years probation (the jury blamed the cyclist)

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Jose Perez – August 3, 2006 (age 60)

Alan R. Fairbanks – October 29, 2006 (age 72

Fairbanks 6 (Susan + Patrick Briggs) 5-9-08

Diva De Loayza – June 6, 2007 (age 40)

Nicholas Richichi – October 19, 2007 (age 53)

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*The City of Albany removed all its ghost bikes in 2014.

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Ride of Silence – 2018

The Albany Bicycle Coalition’s 11th annual Ride of Silence was on Wednesday, 5/16/18 to coincide with the national ride. The 22 riders met at the Albany Riverfront Park/Row Center and at the Capital Park-Education Building. There were new memorial sites at N. Pearl/Wilson Sts. and Washington Ave. Ext. (or 6-Mile Park).

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We visited the sites asterisked below and left flowers at each. There is a sign at each site with the late cyclist’s name and year of death.

At the Diva De Loayza (Western Ave.) site, we went around the group with each rider stating the person’s name and date of death. Three of our riders who had relatives killed while riding offered their thoughtful and inspirational comments.

The Roger Sawyer site on Washington Ave. Extension was not conducive to riding although his ghost bike is now installed at the crash site. As an alternative, we held a brief remembrance at the entrance to Six-Mile Trail on Fuller Rd. where Roger’s sign is also displayed.

Nicholas Richichi’s ghost bike (Fuller Rd.) has been repainted.

The 2019 ride will be on Wednesday, May 15.

Please remember your fellow riders:

  • * Edston J. Kirnon – July 22, 2017 (age 42) Bicyclist collided with side of CDTA bus, N. Pearl St., Albany
  • * Roger L. Sawyer – October 19, 2017 (age 31) Bicyclist run down by SUV, Washington Ave. Ext., Albany
  • John J. Cummings – January 27, 2016 (age 65) Bicyclist
  • run down from behind and killed, Amsterdam Rd., Glenville
  • Robert Agne, DVM – September 7, 2015 (age 54) Bicyclist
  • killed by sleeping driver who crossed centerline, Rt. 30 Pawlet, VT
  • Stephen Nolan – June 2, 2014 (age 53) Bicyclist killed by
  • car, King & Federal Sts., Troy
  • Brian Bailey – March 11, 2014 (age 37) Bicyclist killed by truck, Route 9W, Ravena
  • Matthew Ratelle – December 20, 2012 (age 40) Bicyclist killed by impaired driver, Rt. 22, Petersburg
  • * Paul J. Merges, Jr. – November 24, 2012 (age 45) Bicyclist killed by drunken driver/pickup truck, Manning Blvd. & Roosevelt St., Albany
  • * Nicholas Richichi – October 19, 2007 (age 53), Bicyclist killed by motor coach, Fuller Rd., Colonie
  • * Diva De Loayza – June 6, 2007 (age 40) Bicyclist killed by car, Western Ave. at Homestead Ave., Albany
  • Alan R. Fairbanks – October 29, 2006 (age 72) Bicyclist hit by car/died, Rt. 5-S at bicycle path, Rotterdam)
  • * Jose Perez – August 3, 2006 (age 60) Bicyclist killed by SUV, Broadway at Quay St., Albany.
  • Joel Melnikoff – July 3, 2006 (age 49) Bicyclist killed by drunken driver, Rt. 32, Bethlehem
  • David Ryan – June 29, 2004 (age 32) Bicyclist killed by reckless driver, Riverview Rd., Rexford
  • Robert F. Zayhowski – July 16, 2000 (age 43) Bicyclist killed by drunken driver/SUV, Rt. 66, Sand Lake

 

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