It began as just another relaxing Monday morning bike ride — and ended in tragedy.
Two men were cycling along Vista Park Drive and Capitol Expressway on July 15 when they were struck by a large gray Chevy SUV.
Both men were rushed to an area hospital, where one died and the other was treated for life-threatening injuries.
The cyclist killed in the collision was identified by police as Johnny Chu, 70.
Police say the men were traveling south on Vista Park when the SUV pulled into the street from a strip mall parking lot and collided with both men.
The SUV was driven by an adult woman. Police reported that they do not believe alcohol or drugs were responsible for the collision.
Friends of the victims spoke to local news reporters about the incident, which was the 26th fatal collision in San Jose this year.
“I asked him, ‘Are you going for your ride?’ said Chu’s neighbor, Daniel Aponte. “He answered, ‘Yes, I am.’ He started carrying his bike down the stairs. He waved at me. And I said, ‘Next time,’ because we had talked before about riding together,” Aponte said.
While police say the SUV driver was not under the influence, both cyclists were traveling in a bike lane at the time of the collision. This means that both cyclists had the right of way, and the SUV driver should have yielded before entering the road.
Media reports say the SUV driver was distraught and fully cooperative with police. Yet this is likely small consolation for friends and family members of the cyclists.
As the number of cyclists on the road has grown, collisions and fatalities have grown in parallel. The number of pedestrians and cyclists killed each year has grown substantially over the last decade.
Just a week prior to the fatal collision that cost Johnny Chu his life, another cyclist, Robert Lavin, was killed by a hit and run driver in the Willow Glen neighborhood. Lavin’s family said he was a dedicated grandfather who had just retired from Cisco.
San Jose officials are promoting safer streets through programs such as Better Bikeways and Vision Zero, both of which are designed to help reduce collisions and improve local roadways.
However, as the popularity of cycling grows, it bears watching whether these efforts are sufficient to keep the bicycle-riding public safe from the hazards of the road.
If you’ve been the victim of a cycling-related collision, it’s important to speak to someone who has deep experience in this field of law.
Attorney Gary Brustin is an avid cyclist who exclusively handles bicycle injury litigation and personally represents each client.
Contact us today for a free consultation.