Bethlehem police release bike crash video

Video captures bus driver blocking hit-and-run attempt after cyclist hit from behind.

Followup to the news about the 17 year old kid who hit a cyclist and attempted to flee on the Fahy Bridge in Bethlehem, PA on Monday. This bridge surveillance video shows the driver hitting the cyclist and then he immediately tries to take off. The very observant bus driver sees what happens and blocks the road!



From the Bethlehem Police Blog

On 02 April 2012 at approximately 3:06 p.m., expert cyclist Frank Pavlick was struck from behind while riding across the Fahy Bridge. Mr. Pavlick was hit by a seventeen year old juvenile who was attempting to pass a LANTA bus. Immediately following the impact, the juvenile attempted to flee the scene to avoid identification and apprehension. The driver of the LANTA bus, identified as Richard Gubish, Jr., saw the crash in his rear view mirror and also saw the driver attempting to get away. Mr. Gubish took immediate and decisive action and positioned his bus across the lanes of the bridge, effectively blocking the path of the getaway driver. Another witness to the crash, Judson Smull, stopped to render aid to the injured Pavlick, who implored Smull to go after the offending driver to get the license plate. Smull also took immediate action, and following the lead of Mr. Gubish, positioned his car directly behind the offending vehicle, further blocking any attempt to escape.

The next vehicle across the bridge was a marked Bethlehem Police car being operated by veteran Officer Wade Haubert. Officer Haubert stopped at Mr. Pavlick to render aid, and learning that he was not seriously injured, proceeded to take the offending juvenile into custody.

The quick and selfless actions by Mr. Gubish and Mr. Smull brought this potentially tragic situation to a very positive conclusion. Without their decisive actions, the offending driver may not have been apprehended. We would like to thank Mr. Gubish and Mr. Smull for their selfless dedication to their community and for acting to help another in a time of need.

The juvenile offender has been the first in Bethlehem, and perhaps the state, to be charged under a new section of Pennsylvania law that provides additional protection for cyclists on our roadways. The section took effect at 12:01 a.m. on the date of the crash. The section is, in pertinent part:

§ 3303. Overtaking vehicle on the left.
(a) General rule.–The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to the limitations, exceptions and special rules stated in this chapter:
(3) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a pedalcycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the pedalcycle within not less than four feet at a careful and prudent reduced speed.

In addition, the juvenile offender has been charged in Northampton County Juvenile Court with:
§ 3742(a) – Accidents Involving Death or Personal Injury (M2)
§ 3334(a) – Turning Movements and Required Signals

I think it rocks that this video from a police agency ends with the “BICYCLES MAY USE FULL LANE” sign. Santa Cruz police (as an example) have actively opposed installation of such signs in the city of Santa Cruz.

With a ping Streetsblog to let them know about the video. H/T to Jenny.

16 Comments

  • ScaredAmoeba
    April 5, 2012 - 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Well done that bus driver. 

  • April 5, 2012 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

    This is awesome.  I’m really glad he wasn’t hurt AND they caught somebody.  I’m surprised SC police would be against the “full lane” signs.

  • April 5, 2012 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

    To be a little more accurate, it was the now-retired previous chief of police who opposed the signs and promised to cite cyclists who ‘impeded’ traffic on Mission Street in Santa Cruz.   More details here –> http://www.cyclelicio.us/2008/05/santa-cruz-approves-bikes-in-lane-signs.html

  • April 5, 2012 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Agreed.

  • steve_a_dfw
    April 5, 2012 - 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this post. The cyclist rode almost exactly as I would have. Thank goodness most motorists are good and decent and so the scofflaw was cornered on the scene.

  • April 5, 2012 - 9:18 pm | Permalink

    I know we have the right to the road, but who consistently rides that far left?

  • john smith III
    April 5, 2012 - 10:16 pm | Permalink

     it’s hard to see from the clip, but that roadway has been modified, and each lane is about 3ft narrower than normal. Compare the opposing side to see the difference. It feels sketchy driving with just normal cars next to you- trucks have you inches from the barrier. There is no possible way to pass a cyclist without completely intruding into the adjacent lane. Riding in the middle of the lane is the safest and only reasonable way to traverse that bridge as a cyclist.

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  • MikeOnBike
    April 6, 2012 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    Here’s why cyclists should use a central lane position in an unsharable lane.

    http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2010/11/29/helping-motorists-with-lane-positioning/

  • April 6, 2012 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    Correct, John. 

    The walkways are a somewhat recent addition; the road lanes were narrowed to create those, from what I understand.

  • April 6, 2012 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what characteristics the victim possesses for the police department to identify him as an expert cyclist. 

    When I first watched this video, I didn’t have any textual comparison and I “miswatched” it, thinking that the bus driver was somehow an offender. I’m glad to see that’s not the case. 

  • April 7, 2012 - 2:19 am | Permalink

    Your nicked!
    One caught thousands have escaped

  • April 7, 2012 - 6:52 am | Permalink

     Understood, and retrospectively concurred… I still don’t think I could practice it though… I would feel like a dick, even if my intentions were safety for myself and others.

  • MikeOnBike
    April 7, 2012 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    I totally agree that this can feel anti-social.  What’s surprising is that I get a lot LESS grief from motorists if my lane position is obvious.  They also pass me more smoothly, generally with a full lane change well before they catch up to me.  Or they politely wait behind before turning right.

  • Kevin Bjorke
    April 7, 2012 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the connecting link about SC. Ironically, the same day as this video appeared I was cut off mid-bridge crossing US101, and then the driver stopped — on the bridge in traffic — to yell at me about “rules of the road” RIGHT IN FRONT OF A SHARE THE ROAD SIGN, which he took to mean “bikes need to get out of the way” (it is one possible interpretation of the phrase, I suppose)

  • Peterheadford
    April 16, 2012 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    To all people who drive and ride whatever it should be not something to obey or something to learn, it should just be plain commonsense that when crossing a bridge it restricts people’s ability to escape so to ride on the side is just asking to be squashed like a bug against the guard rail and that why the guy on bicycle was riding where he was .
    To all you people who create problems be it driver or cyclist ,wake up to yourself or pay the penalty down the track for being a wanker
    Cheers ,

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