Call

Blog

Law
02

Blog

Another Iowa Hit-and-Run Results in a Bicycle Fatality

Last week another Iowa cyclist was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

At around 6:00am Dave Ryder was struck by Stephanie Kenealy on 35th Avenue.  Dave was coming home from the casinos.  He was riding a road bike with drop handlebars.  The bicycle was equipped with at least a rear light, and Ryder was wearing a white shirt.  It was still dark, but the sky was probably getting lighter as dawn was scheduled for 6:58am.  At the time of the collision it was raining.

Stephanie Kenealy was driving her Ford SUV northbound on 35th avenue.  She was on her way to work.  Kenealy reportedly works as a paraeducator and cheerleading coach and sponsor at Thomas Jefferson High School.

She came upon Ryder and struck him from behind.  Pictures of the bicycle after the collision show the typical tell-tale signs of a rear end collision.  The bicycle is basically intact other than a collapsed rear wheel.  Kenealy’s SUV had front end damage.   The media has reported that Kenealy’s driving record indicates that she spent time in jail for driving with a suspended license, speeding and other violations.

When the SUV struck the bicyclist he was thrown up onto the hood of the SUV and carried for several feet before the bicyclist fell off the car.  Police say Kenealy fled after the collision, and left the scene for 45-50 minutes.

Media reports all seem to say that the street was narrow with no sidewalks and poor lighting in the area.  They also mention that the bicyclist was not wearing a helmet.

I find it irritating when a cyclist is struck and people start pointing to things the cyclist failed to do or people start to talk about why the cyclist shouldn’t have been on the road.  The fact that the road may or may not have been narrow is no excuse for failing to see something in the path of a driver’s vehicle.  This stretch of road is lightly used and was probably almost vacant at the time of the collision.  The cyclist had all legally required equipment and contrasting clothing.  There are no reported witnesses, suggesting that the bicyclist and the driver were the only people in the area at the time of the collision.

The thing so shocking about this collision is the driver’s actions after the fact.  She did the most cowardly thing a driver can do.  She fled the scene, leaving the bicyclist to die alone on the cold rainy pavement.

My experience is that almost 20% of bicycle collisions in rural areas will result in a driver fleeing the scene.  I expect that this number will be slightly higher in urban areas.  Unfortunately, Iowa does not track these numbers, so we have no way to know for sure.

It never fails to surprise me that drivers flee so often.  When a driver flees the scene of an accident with an injury they, commit a felony.  If they stop they need not fear any criminal prosecution unless they are drunk or were in the process of some other illegal activity.  To my knowledge, no one gets locked up for simply driving a vehicle negligently.  My experience is that drivers flee for many reasons.  Drivers flee because they don’t have insurance, they are drunk, they have an outstanding warrant, they flip out after a collision, or because they think they can get away.

Even in situations where the driver successfully flees the scene, there may be a potential recovery.  We have handled cases in which the police were unable or unwilling to do the work necessary to identify a hi-and-run driver.  We have identified drivers and held them responsible for their actions.  We have even been able to secure a recovery in hit-and-run collisions in which the driver was never identified.

I expect that I will never find anything so satisfying as the experience of holding a hit-and-run driver accountable for their actions.  I’ve had hit-and-run drivers try to give me all sorts of excuses for their actions, but once a driver flees the scene they lose all credibility.  Cases like those remind me why I went to law school: to seek justice for the vulnerable.

Comments

Ash Our Streets
Daniel Brazil Jan 13, 2021

As a Minneapolis-based attorney, I live, work, play and bike in the city. Although my city might be known for its lakes and our infamous Juicy Lucy, Minneapolis’ dedication to having safer streets for all should be included in that list. To reach the safe streets goal, numerous non-profit organizations and groups are working tirelessly […]

Read More
Ambassador
Rachael Maney Jan 11, 2021

Applications for the Bike Law Foundation Ambassador Program are now live. CLICK HERE FOR THE APPLICATION. The deadline to apply is Sunday, January 24th. Those selected will be notified on or before February 1. Thanks for your support and willingness to work together to make bicycling safer for all. We are committed to you, to one another, and […]

Read More
3-foot passing close call
Charlie Thomas Jan 11, 2021

It happens all the time: Someone emails me video footage, clearly showing they were biking along when a car buzzes past, coming within inches of a horrible crash — and there’s nothing I can do about it because we don’t have the laws in place to do something to help. Luckily, that might be about […]

Read More
killing cyclist bike law
Rachael Maney Dec 22, 2020

BIKE LAW ANNOUNCES THE INDICTMENT OF CARL BEHLER FOR KILLING CYCLIST AND INJURING OTHERS   Today, Carl Behler appeared in court for the first time for killing cyclist Arthur Carter and injuring others. He was indicted on Friday (12/18) by the Anne Arundel County Grand Jury and promptly arrested and detained for 7 crimes related […]

Read More
Bicycle Mayor
Bruce Hagen Dec 03, 2020

When I (Maria of Bike Law Georgia) called Pattie Baker, the first Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor, she was trudging through marshland on her bicycle on Alpharetta’s Big Creek Greenway. I pictured her in my mind with her bike, wearing her signature skirts, and mud on her sandals. Always on the go, the newly minted Metro […]

Read More
Alabama Bike Advocacy
Danny Feldman Dec 02, 2020

When Alabama bike advocate Jamie Miernik was growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she dreamed of being an astronaut.  And today, although she is not an astronaut, as a chemical engineer who worked for Boeing on the NASA space station project, she put her knowledge and talents to use keeping the astronauts safe and sound in […]

Read More
Local bike shop Atlanta Bike Shop Mechanic
Bruce Hagen Nov 06, 2020

We have so many amazing local bike shops in the Atlanta Metro Area and in Georgia that it’s hard to single out any for the service that they provide, but here’s a short list of some of the shops from various parts of town and throughout the state. Eight Great Local Bike Shops in Georgia […]

Read More
Justice Ginsberg Bike Law
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Nov 03, 2020

Last month after Justice Ginsberg passed away, I went on one of those long solo rides to pedal things out.  I was hoping that time in the saddle would help settle the emotional torrent within me.  On one hand, I was feeling driven, empowered, and more motivated than ever to step things up a notch […]

Read More
Women on Bikes Rachael
Peter Wilborn Oct 11, 2020

Rachael Maney is the Director of the Bike Law Network and of the non-profit Bike Law Foundation. As most of you know, she has spent the last two weeks on these pages profiling 16 Women on Bikes leading up to yesterday’s inaugural Women’s Cycling Day. If you haven’t yet, read her profiles of and conversations with […]

Read More
Load More