The driver of the car that struck and killed a bicyclist in Madison on Oct. 3 told investigators he hit the gas pedal instead of the brake when the rider suddenly appeared in front of his car, from the sidewalk, according to a preliminary report released by police.
No citations have been issued in the death of Tyler Knipfer, 21. Madison Police Capt. Sue Williams wrote in an email sent Tuesday that the crash remains under investigation, and criminal charges are possible.
The accident report provides some detail on the crash, which took place on Aberg Ave. at Huxley St., about 3 o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon.
Knipfer was bicycling westbound on the sidewalk on the south side of Aberg Ave. The motorist, a 53-year-old man from Sun Prairie, was stopped at a stop sign, facing northbound on Huxley, preparing to make a right-hand turn to travel east on Aberg.
He told police he thought the road was clear and started to make his turn, then suddenly saw Knipfer in front of him. He mistakenly hit the gas pedal, ran over Knipfer and pinned him under the 1999 Chevrolet Lumina. Knipfer died of his injuries four days later.
As a cyclist and runner who often negotiates city traffic, it’s easy to see how this fatal crash happened. The scenario is common: motorists preparing to make a right turn at a marked intersection frequently look only to their left, the primary place that oncoming traffic would impact them. Pedestrians approaching from the right side of the vehicle should assume motorists aren’t looking for them.
It also should be noted that bicycling on the sidewalk is legal in Madison, but it is not recommended by bicycling advocates because of the dangers it presents. Motorists, as in this case, often do not look for bicyclists or pedestrians approaching from the sidewalk, especially from the right.