In 2007, history teacher John Myslin was killed by a passing truck on Mission Street, Santa Cruz. An accident reconstruction video created for the wrongful death lawsuit dramatically illustrates what happened.
Myslin was cycling north on on Mission Street at Bay when he was clipped by a gravel truck operated by Gabriel Manzur Vera. Vera was also the driver in the death of cyclist Lauren Ward in 2010 on Alpine Road at I-280.
Investigators put fault of Myslin’s death on the cyclist, concluding that he tried passing to the right of the truck in the narrow lane. This reconstruction video, however, shows Myslin in front of the truck by two car lengths, with Vera failing to give sufficient passing space.
Eight months later, a woman was hit and nearly killed at the same intersection by a passing gravel truck. A few days after that, Chris Rock was run over by a cement truck on Mission and Bay. In 2010, Ecology Action and the truck operators met to discuss truck and cyclist safety on Mission. Ecology Action published truck safety brochures for cyclists, while the truckers on Mission Street agreed to change lanes when they pass cyclists.
Mission Street through Santa Cruz is really too narrow to share; I avoid Mission, but if I must ride there I usually take the entire right lane to keep truckers like Vera from even attempting to pass in the same lane. It’s just self preservation.
Myslin’s family filed a wrongful death suit against several parties; the case against the city and county were dismissed, while the family won $1.5 million from the trucking company.
H/T to Bay Area Cargo Bikes in Campbell, CA for the discussion.