ELKHART — The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department is investigating two vehicle-bicycle accidents in which three bicyclists died, one of which was a hit-and-run.
Raymundo Macjado Sabag, 60, of Elkhart, was riding a bicycle at about 3:35 a.m. on C.R. 17 near the U.S. 20 bypass when a vehicle struck him from behind. The vehicle was gone by the time police arrived at the scene.
Sabag died instantly after the crash of blunt force trauma to the head and neck.
Capt. Jim Bradberry, spokesman for the sheriff’s department, said Sabag was wearing reflective clothes and lights on the bicycle.
According to investigators from the sheriff’s department, the vehicle believed to be involved in the hit-and-run crash has been located.
The sheriff’s department is also investigating an accident in which two teenagers died while riding their bicycles at about 5:50 a.m.
David Anglemyer, 18, and Daniel Runion, 19, both from Goshen, were riding their bicycles east on C.R. 20 east of Pleasant Plain Avenue when they were struck around 5:50 a.m. by a westbound 2003 Ford Taurus driven by 42-year-old Daniel Snead of Elkhart.
Anglemyer died instantly after the accident of blunt force trauma to the head. Runion was airlifted to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, where he was pronounced dead at 10:17 a.m. of blunt force trauma to the chest.
According to the sheriff’s department, at least one of the bicycles had a flashing red light, but neither bicyclist was wearing a helmet.
No citations were issued at the scene of the accident on C.R. 20.
Bike accidents on the rise
In Indiana, the number of bicyclists involved in traffic collisions increased 7 percent from 2009 to 2010, with 9 percent of those individuals experiencing serious or life-threatening injuries, according to a report from the Center for Criminal Justice Research of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.
The number of fatalities associated with a bicycle crash increased from seven in 2009 to 14 in 2010; the number of serious injuries increased from 64 to 81 over the same period.
Dona Sapp, senior policy analyst at the center and author of the report, stated the study found bicyclists were more likely to be involved in crashes on suburban, rural roads and paths than on urban ones.
“This is likely due in part to the fact that people drive faster in these areas, and suburban and rural roads are not necessarily built to be bicycle-friendly.”
John Yoder, a bicycle instructor certified by the League of American Bicycles, said it is important to follow the rules of the road and to never ride in an unpredictable way that could confuse drivers. Drivers must always concentrate on the road and look for signs that give off the fact that there is a bicyclist ahead.
I always wear a reflective triangle safety that’s like a slow moving vehicle emblem,” he said, “That, I think, helps alert motorists to the fact that I am taking my place on the highway very seriously, that I want to communicate with them and I would hope that they would be willing to share road with me.”
Use lights and reflectors on the bicycle and on a helmet, if possible.
Riding with the traffic avoids surprises for drivers, who may not be able to react in time.
Ride your bicycle as you would drive your car, respecting all road signs and lights, and using hand signals.
Like drivers, bicyclists must always be aware of their surroundings.