Chicago Victim Said to Be First US Bike-Sharing Death

Virginia Murray collided with flatbed truck
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2016 2:26 PM CDT
Chicago Victim Said to Be First US Bike-Sharing Death
In this June 11, 2013, photo, fully assembled and ready-to-use bikes sit at the Divvy rollout facility in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Scott Eisen)

A 25-year-old woman taking advantage of Chicago's bike-sharing service died Friday morning after she and a flatbed truck turned at the same time and crashed— reportedly making her the first bike-share fatality in the US since the service first debuted in Oklahoma in 2007, a bike-sharing consultant tells the Chicago Tribune. Per DNAinfo, the woman on the Divvy bike, IDed by the Cook County medical examiner as Virginia Murray, tried to make a turn east from Sacramento Avenue to Belmont Avenue and smashed into the truck making the same turn; a witness says she was thrown 6 feet into the air before crashing to the ground. Murray suffered severe injuries to her upper body and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Bike-sharing programs—where riders pay a fee to pick up a bike at a self-serve station, then drop it off at another location when they're done—are increasing in popularity around the US, with the Wall Street Journal noting there are about 40 currently in existence. And while the Mineta Transportation Institute has noted bike sharing can be seen as being "inherently unsafe" for bicyclists (including riders not using helmets and not being familiar with a city's landscape), a study found "collision and injury rates for bikesharing are lower" than rates for regular cyclists. (Police say Murray was wearing a helmet, per the Journal.) Still, an Active Transportation Alliance director tells the Tribune that Murray's death is "a tragic reminder that we still have work to do to make our streets safe for everyone." In a statement, Divvy and Chicago's DOT shared their "deepest condolences to the rider's family and loved ones," per the Tribune, with the paper noting that Divvy has provided almost 8 million rides since it was introduced in the Windy City three years ago. (A GOPer thinks bike sharing is a conspiracy.)

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