Bicyclist killed

Rider was struck by passing car and died from injuries at the scene.
Jessica Cuffman
Jul 23, 2013

A bicyclist died after being struck from behind while riding in Ottawa County Tuesday morning.

Dale Tusen, 39, of Port Clinton, was riding west on Wilcox Road east of Ohio 53 at about 5:55 a.m. when a car driver struck him in the rear.

Tusen was thrown from his bicycle and died from his injuries, according to a news release from the Sandusky post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The driver of the car, Michael Swint, 68, is from Fort Jennings and suffered no injuries in the crash.

Tuesen was riding a Trek Madone bicycle and was wearing a helmet.

Swint was driving a 2012 Chevrolet Impala and was wearing his seatbelt.

The patrol's reconstruction team remained at the scene at about noon Tuesday, gathering evidence.

No citations have been issued.

Comments

Dwight K.

Its sad to hear about this , but I've seen a few guys in the Huron area that just blow through stop signs even though I'm stopped

The Bizness

This guy was not blowing through stop signs...was was simply riding on the road....

I am a cyclist in the area, and I have also been struck from behind by someone but was lucky to not sustain major injuries. While your comment may have merit, this is the wrong place for it. My thoughts go out to this mans family.

Dwight K.

Never said he was

brianlovesfishing

The Bizness was you there? I know him and brighted him this morning cause he did run a stopsign and went infront of me. Im sorry about what happend and left behind 3 kids and a wife. I watched a truck almost hit him last week on wilcox at 5am cause he had no rear light. Same as this morning no light. Bikers please have all the lights and reflectors.

JCA

I wasn't there but I know one thing -- There are NO stop signs to run on Wilcox Rd.

Finn Finn

When you say he ran a stopsign, do you mean he completely blew through it, or that he slowed down and looked both ways before proceeding? Just curious. The way your comment is worded, you make it sound like he completely ignored the stop sign? No rear light is very dangerous, especially at 5:00 A.M.

CAST THE FIRST STONE

I cant believe this does not happen more often. I have seen so many close calls. i would not let anyone in our family ride 2 feet from moving vehicles

deertracker

I wonder if the cycling laws are enforced. R.I.P. Mr.

Darwin's choice

What does every parent teach their children when learning to ride a bike?

Dwight K.

I'll never ride a bike down a road. You can't trust all drivers to be observant

2cents

Yes, it is just sad that the simple form of transportation is one of the most dangerous. My bicycle sits most of the time unless I go over to the islands.

ladydye_5

My husband works in a COMPLETELY different area, miles away and sees the same thing everyday. Bikers in full bike gear, clothes, helmet, shoes, thousand dollar bike, and NO knowledge of bike laws! They blow stop signs, no lights, no nothing. When I was a child (30+years ago) we were taught that a bike was like a car. You must obey stop signs, stop lights, etc. My sympathies to the family. Please anyone that knows a bike rider, remind them to refresh their knowledge of the laws of the road.

2cents

Those rules are the same Lady, I too see more of the full bike gear riders not following the law like they used to, maybe a new generation. I see young kids in town looking more and being more cautious it seems. Oh well, this young man is dead and nothing said here will bring him back. RIP and my thoughts to his friends and family. Please ride safe everyone, never trust the other driver, be defensive, have an out, a plan!

WhatTheHeck

Imagine! They ride in the middle of the road and wonder why.

Centauri

"Rider was struck by passing car"
"bicyclist died after being struck from behind"
"riding west on Wilcox Road east of Ohio 53 at about 5:55 a.m. when a car driver struck him in the rear."

Sunrise: 6:18am Port Clinton, Ohio (07-23-13)
Sunset: 8:59pm

Ohio once had a law that stated:
Sec. 4513.03. Every vehicle upon a street or highway within this state during the time from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, and at any other time when there are unfavorable atmospheric conditions or when there is not sufficient natural light to render discernible persons, vehicles, and substantial objects on the highway at a distance of one thousand feet ahead, shall display lighted lights and illuminating devices as required by sections 4513.04 to 4513.37 of the Revised Code, for different classes of vehicles; except that every motorized bicycle shall display at such times lighted lights meeting the rules adopted by the director of public safety under section 4511.521 of the Revised Code. No motor vehicle, during such times, shall be operated upon a street or highway within this state using only parking lights as illumination.

The law was changed to require headlights from sunset to sunrise.
http://www.legislature.state.oh....

A reminder that Ohio law states that your headlights must be on when you use your wipers.

http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/laws/...
OHIO - Headlights must be used when wipers are in use, when visibility less than 1000 feet, or in conditions of insufficient light/adverse weather.

Condolences to the family of the bicyclist.

Ohio headlight law:

bikelawyer's picture
bikelawyer

As someone who studies bicycle crashes, and causes, as well as EVERY fatal bike crash in Ohio I am rarely surprised by the "jump to conclusion" comments that follow just about every article about cycling or a bike/car crash. One thing I DO know... is that this is a horrific tragedy for this young man's wife and children... his friends and family... and he deserves better than sheer speculation ...

At this point we only know the cyclist was rear-ended. From what I've been able to determine, the cyclist was an avid and experienced rider.

The law requires cyclists to use a "legal" headlight and red tail light and reflector for riding in the dark. There is no mention of any lighting - by the cyclist or the motorist- in the article. There IS a note that that accident reconstruction team was on the scene for several hours... and that' a good thing. The ONLY way to figure out what happened is to gather and document the facts - measurements - photos - marks on the road - the black box from the car - witness statements - debris from the scene - and then map it all out and "do the math" to try to determine what happened.

There is NO question that bicycle riding is 100% legal on just about every road in Ohio... indeed, just about every road in the U.S. - and has been since the late 1800s. Get over it.

Do cyclists do dumb stuff sometimes? Of course - they are human. However, NOTHING in the stories about this crash so far indicate that the cyclist did ANYTHING wrong. He was riding and he was rear-ended. We'll have to wait to see what the results of the investigation are.

Thankfully, cycling crashes are relatively rare, and fatal crashes even moreso in Ohio. There are millions of cyclists in Ohio - and around 2000 bike/car crashes in OHio which result in a crash report being written... with 15-16 fatal crashes each year. Compare that to over 300,000 "car" crashes and over 1000 motorist fatalities - In comparison to other states Ohio's crash "rate" is very low.

After a very quiet summer, it's been a rough week for Ohio cyclists. Mr. Tusen is the 2nd cyclist killed in Ohio in the past week or so. In Cincinnati on Monday a motorist was sentenced for killing a 27 year old cyclist last August -

The thoughts and prayers of the cycling community are with the family and friends of Mr. Tusen.

Buggers78

Thank you for a non opinionated comment. This was a very good man with great family values and I highly doubt he did anything to intentionally jeopardize his family. He leaves behind a wife and 3 small kids ... Lets have a heart here.

Bubba's Buddy

Prayers to him and his family.

meowmix

This is such a tragedy. Also, I'm not casting any aspersions on Mr. Tusen nor pre-judging how/why this accident happened. However, I live on a road that once a year is used for bike-to-the-bay. These people are unbelievably smug and are really taking their own life in their hands when they ride three to four across and refuse to move over even two deep to allow a car to go around them. I always try to give them a wide berth anyway but to feel they have as much right to the road as a motor vehicle is just asinine!

Edwin Ison

meomix, cyclists legally DO have just as much a right to the road as any other vehicle.

You are the problem!

meowmix

Ed-- allow me to rephrase. I understand that legally, bicycles have an equal right to the road--but all of it????? I get it that you are an avid cyclist but let's get realistic here. You may have the "right" to ride in the center of a road but certainly not a wise thing to do.

Edwin Ison

A bicycle should be passed in the same manner as any vehicle. If a cyclist rides on the white line, some drivers tend to not even move over, or "buzz" cyclists.
How do you pass a farmer's tractor? A mail truck? A policeman stopped along the roadway?
The majority of cyclists are very courteous and safe while riding.

There are times when "taking a lane" is safer for the cyclist, such as when approaching a blind curve. Many times I have had an impatient motorist pass me on a blind curve and nearly have a head-on collision with a car coming the opposite direction.
Now I take the lane I'm legally allowed and stop traffic behind me until they can safely pass.

Better Ohio Bicycling Bill Passed
by Fred Oswald and Cal Kirchick
HB 389, the Better Ohio Bicycling Bill, which was proposed by the Ohio Bicycle Federation, passed the Ohio Legislature and was signed into law by the governor in June. The new law, which takes effect on Sep. 21, makes Ohio bicycle traffic law conform more closely with the Uniform Vehicle Code and with
the best practices of knowledgeable cyclists. You can read the bill as passed by the 126th Ohio General Assembly at www.legislature.state.oh.us/bill....
H.B. 389 includes several important reforms to Ohio law, including:
1. Clarify and limit power of local authorities to regulate bicycle operation.
· Such regulation may not be inconsistent with safe practices or with the uniform rules of the road.
· Local authorities may not require cyclists to ride on sidewalks, nor may they close streets (other than freeways) to bicycle use.
· Special local rules governing cycling are not effective unless signs are posted - for example requiring the cyclists ride single file or requiring use of helmets.
· Licensing rules cannot be applied to non-residents.
2. Eliminate misinterpretation of bicycle road position (the "far right rule"). It is now clear that you can ride to the left to:
· Avoid potholes, puddles, glass and other debris or other road hazards;
· Avoid parked, stopped or disabled vehicles;
· Make a left turn or ride to stay out of a right turn only lane.
3. Clarify and rationalize bicycle safety equipment requirements
· Either a blinking or steady red light can serve as a rear light.
· A lamp in the rear that is as visible as a reflector satisfies the requirement for a rear reflector.
· Wheel reflectors and front reflectors are no longer required.
· You need not have a bell.
· A helmet mounted light satisfies the headlight requirement Also a generator light is acceptable. Nothing prohibits the use of a blinking white light.
4. Exempt cyclists from a requirement to give continuous turn signals. Cyclists need not give hand signals when both hands are required to control the bicycle.
5. Give courts sentencing discretion including remedial bicycle training. Cyclists convicted of traffic violations do not receive points on their drivers licenses.
6. Allow passing of slow traffic in "no passing zones" under certain conditions. This legislation better aligns Ohio law with provisions of the Uniform Vehicle Code, accepted nationwide as the benchmark for traffic law. HB 389 was supported by the Ohio Department of Public
Safety, The Ohio State Highway Patrol and The Ohio Department of Transportation.
=========================================
We have further information in the form of questions & answers below.
Suggested Interview Questions (and Answers) About House Bill 389, the Ohio Bicycle Federation's Better Ohio Bicycling Bill
Q: I see this bill changes several Ohio Laws. What are its most important features?
A: We had two priorities that have been addressed: (1) uniform laws and (2) encouraging (or not discouraging) safe lane position. There were also several secondary issues.
Q: What do you mean by uniform laws and why don't we have them now?
A: We need traffic laws that do not change arbitrarily as we go between communities. In addition, all road users should follow the same driving rules. Uniformity makes the roads more predictable, thus safer.
The changes in HB 389 also make Ohio's bicycling laws more consistent with the Uniform Vehicle Code. Until now, any community could "regulate the operation of bicycles" with no restriction. This leads to a
crazy quilt of non-uniform laws, many of which mandate unsafe practices. In contrast, when you drive a car, you have one set of driving rules everywhere in the state. Local officials can customize driving rules
only in limited ways that are consistent with safety, for example, by designating a one-way street. But then they must post signs to tell about the change.
Q: You mentioned mandating "unsafe practices". Can you give an example?
A: Sure. Some cities required riding on sidewalks. These laws are no longer effective. Sidewalk cycling is unsafe, especially at speed, because then cyclists violate the expectations of other drivers -- they
suddenly appear on a collision course at intersections and driveways. Sidewalk cyclists are also a hazard to pedestrians. Unfortunately, there are many other bad laws I could cite. The problem is most people,
including government officials, do not understand proper bicycle operation. That leads to bad laws.
Q: Isn't someone on a bike like a pedestrian?
A: No. A bicycle is a vehicle. It can travel several times as fast as someone walking, especially downhill. A bike cannot stop instantly or step backward or sideways. It has brakes like a vehicle and it turns like a vehicle -- because it is one. The safest way to operate a bicycle is by driving it, following the same rules as other drivers. The problem is most people are not properly trained in bicycle driving. (We emphasize that word driving -- it is important to think -- and act -- like the driver of a vehicle when operating a bike.)
Q: How many communities have bad local laws?
A: When we surveyed 65 communities in the Cleveland area, we found about half mandate one or more unsafe practices. You can see the survey, ratings and examples of bad laws at www.crankmail.com.
(Crankmail is a cycling newsletter for NE Ohio.)
Q: You mentioned current law encouraging safe lane position. What do you mean and how is present law wrong?
A: Ohio law requires riding "as near as practicable" to the edge of the road. First, this is discriminatory. Worse, that word "practicable" is often confused to mean "as close as possible" to the curb. Most people
do not realize that a cyclist should keep a safety zone to his right and should stay out where other people are looking for traffic. Also, where the lane is too narrow for safe passing, cyclists should ride near the
center of the lane so other drivers realize that they need to change lanes to pass. Otherwise, many are tempted to "squeeze past" at an unsafe distance. Our bill added material to deal with this
misunderstanding but the law is still discriminatory.
Q: Gee, I was taught that it is safer to stay out of the way of cars.
A: We have a huge problem with "bicycle safety" training given by people with little experience or knowledge. They teach the wrong things. An excessive effort to stay out of the way generally makes the cyclist much less visible, thus less safe. For example, dodging between parked cars or hugging the curb, as mentioned earlier. This makes the motorist's job much harder because a bicycle can "appear out of nowhere" on a collision course. We are
all better off if cyclists are more visible and more predictable.
Q: You mention several things that are counter-intuitive, especially riding near the middle of the traffic lane. Where can we learn more?
A: There is educational material on the Ohio Bicycle Federation website: www.ohiobike.org. Included is a list of cycling instructors in the state -- you can take a Road-1 class to learn much more. We should also mention the booklet "Ohio Bicycling Street Smarts" distributed by the Dept. of Public Safety and financed by our "Share the Road" auto license plates.
Q: Will the new law make all those bad local ordinances go away?
A: Unfortunately, it's not that easy. After Sept. 21, most of the worst ordinances will be invalid because they violate the basic rules of road or they will be unenforceable because of lack of proper signage, but
we still need community officials to replace them with better laws. We have a set of Model Laws that local officials can access from our website: www.ohiobike.org. We also have a Cyclist Friendly
Communities program -- they can improve conditions and make cycling safer and maybe get an award from the Ohio Bicycle Federation. Details are on the website, ohiobike.org.
Q: I see your bill also addresses several other issues, including safety equipment and even rules for "no passing zones".
A: Right. Some of the safety equipment is of marginal value. Who needs a bell when we can yell a warning? And all of those reflectors make some people think they don't need lights at night. But reflectors do not work unless headlights shine on them. Instead, we need to get people to use lights at night, both front and back.
When an engineer establishes a no passing zone, he must assume the vehicle being passed is traveling only a little less than the speed limit and the vehicle passing is going at the limit. This takes a lot of space
on the road. Under current law, it would be illegal to pass a vehicle moving as little as 1 mm a month. Almost everyone would pass under this condition. Our rule simply makes it legal so long as it is safe.
Q: Finally, I've heard that you have been rating bicycling laws of several states. How does Ohio compare?
A: Before HB 389, we got a D rating, near the bottom of 14 states covered so far. When the new law goes into effect on Sept. 21, Ohio will be on top with an "A" rating, ahead of Nevada, N. Carolina and the Uniform Vehicle Code.
Written by Fred Oswald, and Cal Kirchick.
Fred is a certified bicycle safety instructor, professional engineer and Trustee of the Ohio Bicycle Federation and ClevelandBikes. Cal is an attorney, Vice President of ClevelandBikes, Trustee of the Ohio Bicycle Federation and an experienced bicycle commuter. For more information, see www.geocities.com/fredoswald or contact
fredoswald@yahoo.com or Kirchick@bakerlaw.com

Sitting In The ...

Bikers are a nuisance...they never use the sidewalks and honestly about 5% might actually get over when they see vehicles behind them. They're constantly impeding traffic because no one can pass them but most cyclist believe the rest of the world should cater to them. Please do the world a favor and keep your toys on the sidewalk.

tzu4u

It is amazing more cyclists are not killed. My condolences to the family, it is a horrible time for them.
As a lifelong Catawba resident, I would NEVER ride a bicycle anywhere in our area. Too many tourists, drunks, and distracted drivers. The speed limits around the island are 50mph. You are taking your life in your hands to drive a car around here at certain times.
When I see vacationing families with children riding their bikes on NE and NW Catawba roads, I fear for them. They have no idea the danger they are in.

Señor Clown

I may be stating the obvious, but shouldn't we also be extending our kind thoughts and sympathy to the driver of the car? This is a terrible tragedy for anyone involved, and the guilt of living with accidentally hitting and killing someone with your car is surely an awful thing to experience. I have no association with either party, and wasn't a witness to the accident, but I can certainly say that at the time of the accident, a cyclist or pedestrian on or near the shoulder of the road can be very difficult to see when approaching. Even with standard bicycle reflectors, novelty accessory lights, or any other attempt at 'safety' (bright/reflective clothing, mirrors, strobes) a bicycle or pedestrian presents a very narrow profile from an approach. What is already difficult to see in the dark is exponentially more difficult to see under circumstances such as driving towards a sunrise or sunset on the horizon, or into the glare of headlights from oncoming traffic.

Having rode many countless hundreds of miles along busy highways, quiet back roads, and everything in between, I survived to my old age by sticking to one simple principle: He with the least amount of visibility should yield the right-of-way to those with greater visibility. Or, simply, it's much easier for me to see an approaching automobile in the dark, with it's twin halogen headlamps, than it is for the driver of said automobile to see my narrow profile atop a small reflector and low-wattage 'tail lamp' on the seat post of my bicycle, so I would get clear of the roadway until traffic had passed. My legal entitlement to use of the roadway wasn't as important as my interest in self-preservation. In this current age of drivers perpetually distracted by their phones and GPS navigation, you wouldn't even catch me on a busy road in broad daylight.

Either way, what's happened has happened, and is truly a terrible thing for all involved. Hopefully some good can come from this accident by encouraging other cyclists to be more aware of their surroundings and actively responsible for their own safety.

meowmix

Very well put!

Edwin Ison

There is a tremendous need for commuter bike lanes. Many would be surprised to find out how many would bike to work and even to the grocery store if more biking options were available.

"One less car"

I only wish I could feel safe commuting to work, (9 miles), and could keep my car parked. The aggressive attitude toward cyclists in general keeps me off the roads and on the trails.

Maryof06

Dale is my Brother! Have you no respect at all!?!? Our family is mourning this morning! We aren't casting any stones at anyone! We are just trying face the fact that our Family will never be the same! This isn't something to debate! It's a tragedy! Thanks to everyone who had kind word! Shame on the people who have posted stuff they know nothing about!!!!! Didn't you ever learn the saying "if you don't have something nice to say"? I only read these comments hoping to find comfort and instead I found stuff that breaks my heart to read! I hope that His Wife, Children, Parents, and the rest of our family doesn't have to see what I have! God Bless you all! Dale was a bright light in this world. Everyone should know that. Everyone should know that!

JCA

My heart is heavy for your family. I can't imagine what you must be going through. I have fond memories of cycling down Wilcox Rd to my grandparent's house all the time as a teenager and every time I come home for a visit. I'll certainly be thinking about Dale next time I'm there. Wishing you peace.

By the way - I saw hundreds of sympathetic comments on Dale's Dailymile.com page: http://www.dailymile.com/people/.... Looks like he was quite the inspiration to many.

Edwin Ison

Dale was a great cyclist.

I'm sure Dale would want his accident to help others pursue their passion of cycling safely.

I wish motorists would respect all cyclists as equals on the roadway.

I'll miss him at the dailymile.

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