I was so sorry to read the article about the 14-year-old bicyclist killed by a motorist in Redwood City on Monday ("School mourns death of bicyclist,” in the Nov. 28 edition of the Daily Journal).
Whenever a tragic fatality like this occurs, local bicycle advocates such as myself try to find out as much detail as we can about what went wrong. Many of us disagree with the common viewpoint that bicycling is inherently dangerous, a position that is difficult to defend in the face of a tragic incident such as this one. Roads can be engineered in such a way that conflicts are less likely; motorists and bicyclists can learn from collisions and avoid similar conflicts in the future. It appears that this girl was probably "right hooked”— the circumstance when a motorist tries to overtake a bicyclist on the cyclist's left hand side while making a right turn. This is a common mistake (and violation of the California Vehicle Code) made by motorists, and one that can have devastating results.
I hope that the authorities in Redwood City will announce the final results of their investigation. Their preliminary conclusion that "no traffic violations (were) committed by the driver” seems dubious, in light of the death of a young girl.