Local News

Friday, Aug 26 2011 07:57 PM

Bicyclist killed in collision with police officer

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

A 51-year-old bicyclist was killed in a collision with a Bakersfield police officer in the 200 block of H Street Friday afternoon.

Samuel Dohn Boyd, of Bakersfield, died at Kern Medical Center about an hour after the 12:46 p.m. crash, a coroner's office news release said.

Bakersfield police reported that Officer Peter Beagley and Boyd were both traveling north on H Street when Boyd turned left into the officer's path. Beagley was unable to stop and collided with the bike.

The collision is being investigated by the BPD's traffic division, and an administrative investigation is also underway, police reported. Beagley, a six-year veteran of the department, has returned to duty.

Ryan Cunningham, an employee at Iger Studio, located near the site of the collision, said that section of H Street is a tight squeeze for cyclists when cars are parked along the curb.

"I ride my bike to work but I stay on side streets as much as possible," Cunningham said. "On this street it seems like drivers get as close to you as they can."

Cynthia Villaleando, a hairdresser at nearby Modéle salon, said there have been six accidents on that section of H Street in the four years she's worked there. She said the street is too narrow for bicycles.

"Cars go through here way too fast," she said.

Jonathan Moo, a Safe Routes to School coordinator for the cycling advocacy group Bike Bakersfield, said every street in the city should be safe for cyclists.

"If everyone, cyclists and motorists, followed the rules of the road, we wouldn't have these fatalities," he said.

Unfortunately, cyclists are the ones who are usually hurt or killed in collisions with motor vehicles, Moo said, so it's critical that drivers in Bakersfield make a commitment to share the road.

"I'm a driver, too," Moo said. "And I know it doesn't take more than five seconds of your time to give a cyclist five feet on your right."

Yielding to a cyclist -- especially one trying to move left for a turn -- might add a few seconds to your commute, Moo said, but it's the right thing and the safe thing, to do.

Anyone with information regarding the collision is asked to call the Bakersfield Police Department at 327-7111.

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