Sep 262004
 
Authors: Lila Hickey

One week after he was run over by a CSU Facilities Management

truck on Plum Street near Moby Arena, Alex Hagn received a $15

citation from the CSU Police Department for careless riding.

Investigating officer Bret Wagner said CSUPD does not determine

blame in such accidents, but it does issue citations if traffic

violations occur.

According to a letter enclosed with the ticket, Hagn, a

sophomore speech communications major, was cited for riding in the

traffic lane instead of the bike lane, for moving into the bike

lane to pass on the right, and because a witness said she saw the

truck turn on its right blinker prior to turning across the bike

lane.

Hagn said he plans to contest the citation.

“I’m definitely going to fight that ticket, for sure,” he

said.

Hagn was run over last week when the truck turned right onto a

service drive, crossing the bike lane Hagn had just merged into.

Hagn hit his brakes to avoid a collision, flipped over his

handlebars and landed underneath the truck. The driver did not see

Hagn and continued driving.

Brigitte Mahony, a senior food science and human nutrition

major, said in a police statement that she saw the driver use his

right turn signal before turning right into the service drive.

“I saw the truck slow down almost to a stop with the blinkers

on. That is when I knew it was safe for me to cross the street,”

said Mahony, who was crossing the street to the Lory Apartments.

“The only reason I crossed (the street) was because he had his

indicator on and he was slowing down. I definitely saw an

indicator.”

The driver, Don Wenzel, said he stopped in the traffic lane for

a pedestrian on the sidewalk in front of the service drive and then

turned into the driveway.

“If he had hit the truck, I would have noticed. But he didn’t

hit the truck. The only thing I knew was when I felt something

strange,” Wenzel said.

Wenzel did not realize he was trying to drive over Hagn until

the bicyclist started screaming and a passer-by told Wenzel he was

“on top of someone.”

Hagn suffered two fractures to his pelvis and a strained right

groin, and he still says the truck did not signal prior to

turning.

Officer Yvonne Paez, a CSUPD spokeswoman, said it was possible

that everyone told the truth as they saw it.

“Investigation indicated that the bicyclist apparently didn’t

notice the turn signal,” Paez said. “I very much doubt that the

cyclist disregarded that, because when a truck and a bicycle tangle

– who’s going to lose?”

Paez also said if the truck was already turning when Hagn

entered the bike lane, the driver was “established in his traffic

movement,” and not responsible for the accident.

According to the police report, the truck’s rear turn signals

were functioning immediately after the accident.

Wenzel was not cited for the incident.

Hagn has taken a medical withdrawal from school for the

semester, but he plans to return in the spring.

“I figure I should be pretty much fully healed by Thanksgiving,”

he said.

After the accident, which left him on crutches and unable to put

weight on his right leg, Hagn moved to his mother’s house in

southern Denver.

“The injuries are having more of a psychological effect,” Hagn

said. “I can’t just get up and walk around my house on both

legs.”

Wenzel is also experiencing aftereffects from the accident.

“They won’t let me drive now, which is fine with me,” he said.

“Whenever I see a bike, I jump. It’s scary.”

Wenzel said he hopes for Hagn’s recovery.

“It’s really a sad thing,” he said. “It was pretty shocking to

see him there.”

About 30 students and community members gathered Friday at the

Oval for a Critical Mass ride in honor of Hagn and to recognize the

dangers of car vs. bicycle accidents. Critical Mass is a large

group of bicyclists that rides on main roads in an effort to gain

recognition from cars.

Kristin LeLoup, the supervisor for CSU’s Bike Enforcement and

Education Program, said the accident is a reminder of the

importance of safe driving and riding.

“I just think it shows the importance of having a bike education

program on a campus like this,” LeLoup said.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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