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I see even adult cyclists make the mistake of trying to keep up with riders ahead of them while crossing roads, instead of holding back and waiting until it's safe to cross.

There's nothing saying that the driver saw the first two cyclists, anyway.

I'm wondering if the driver's age could have been a factor.

One might think that the two cyclists in front would hold the attention of the driver such that he would be more likely to overlook the second cyclist.

What is the speed limit there? Speed kills ... or at least increases the odds of a collision and the likelihood of fatality given a collision.

I'd put money on the age issue. A friend of mine recently got hit (on bike) by an 85-year-old who couldn't see the stop sign in front of him, or couldn't react quickly enough to apply the brakes before barreling through the intersection.

Sorry if this reflects an "agist" bias. I just don't know too many elderly people who function physiologically and neurologically like young adults.

Of course, the poor girl could have just bolted into traffic. People of all ages do that.

Lastly, many multi-use paths cross major roads at points obscured by trees, brush, etc. If the sightlines at this intersection are poor, the girl might have been hit even if she were riding solo and not "chasing" friends.

This is just a bad situation anyway you analyze its causes.

9 year old cyclist is also a source of possible trouble.

I would guess that the age of the driver is also important. A safe speed for a 25 year old is much higher than for an 80 year old, based solely on the slower reaction time as people age. I feel sorry for everyone involved in this case.

... but, the 80-year old was probably not fiddling with a hand-held device. It is likely that a 25 year old would. So the youngsters, even with there superior skills, should drive slow too.

I saw the report on TV. It sounded like the driver may have thought the way was clear after the first two cyclists passed by. Age may have contributed to the accident.

Also, the car was headed west in the late afternoon. The sun could have been shining directly into the driver's eyes at that time of day and facing that direction.

This isn't too far from where I live...in fact I was on this road early Sunday morning.

Geof: speed limit is 35 MPH.

Paul: sight lines aren't an issue at this particular intersection.

Tom: my point is that the roads are rated for average drivers under average conditions. A driver who is not exceeding the posted speed limit may not be breaking the law, but may be driving excessively fast for conditions, age, etc.

I'm also guessing it's the age of the driver. A few years ago I got hit by a VERY old man (at least 80!) while driving at the Washington Circle in DC. I was on the right lane, he was in the middle lane, changing lanes into me. I honked my horn very loudly (I'm a honker) and he still changed lanes on me (in very slow motion, he wasn't going fast). His front bumper hit the middle of the driver's door -- so not only he didn't hear me honk the horn (which he admitted), but he didn't see me (which he also admitted), even though my car was already in front of his view (since you know, his bumper hit my door, it's not like he cut me off...) (Luckily, he didn't argue and his insurance covered the damages, but what if I had been a pedestrian?)

Sad story, Lots of potential issues on franconia road including infrastructure, and both driver and rider/pedestrian skills training.

We have a scheduled bicycle safety rodeo tomorrow just 5 miles away from the incident site.

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