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CHP: Cyclist Had Right of Way in Fatal Upvalley Crash

Napa CHP Officer Garrett Ray said Richard Becker was riding downhill and had the right of way. There are no stop signs or signals at the intersection, and the driver should have waited before turning left, Ray said. By Bay City News Service.

A St. Helena cyclist had the right of way in the vehicle collision that fatally injured him Saturday morning, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

Richard Becker, 54, died at St. Helena Hospital after his bicycle collided with a car at about 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of Sanitarium and Deer Park roads, CHP Officer Steve Aguilar said.           

Kimberly Klingman, 39, of Napa, was driving a 2010 BMW east on Deer Park Road and entered the eastbound left-turn lane intending to go north on Sanitarium Road, Aguilar said.

Becker was riding his Concorde Gavina bicycle west on Deer Park Road near the Sanitarium Road intersection, Aguilar said.

As Becker entered the intersection, Klingman turned left directly into the path of the bicycle, which struck the right side of the BMW, Aguilar said.

Becker was ejected from the bike and was taken to the hospital, where he died.

Klingman was not injured and was released at the scene, Aguilar said.

CHP Officer Garrett Ray said Becker was riding downhill and had the right of way. There are no stop signs or signals at the intersection, and the driver should have waited before turning left, Ray said.

The collision is still under investigation.

By Bay City News Service.

Barbara August 22, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Sir, I understand what your saying and respect your opinion but my helmet saved my life. I hit the bounced off the ground at about 25 - 30 mph slamming the side my head, broke the helmet in 3 places with not even a bump on my head. They do their jobs. So, please don't try to tell me or anyone else that these helmets are inadequate. And, I don't know about all cyclists but my gear is not trendy nor is it beach-wear attire. It's there to keep me comfortable while riding as well as alive. It may be referred to as nothing more than underwear to those that really don't know but you can't miss me with what I wear and I can say that for a lot more who I see out there on the road while driving the car or riding the motorcycle. Also, sweat? If I wore what I wear on the motorcycle I'd be dealing with heat stroke. Not going there.
Lena August 22, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I too have had close calls with bikers coming into my lane suddenly or deciding they need to ride side by side and weaving back and forth into the traffic lane. On Silverado trail and on Deer park. Silverado Trl is dangerous for CARS what makes bikers think THEY are safe on the road? There have been so many traffic deaths on that road as well! Yes we all need to watch out for each other but when you have a biker who doesnt care about following rules
Jim August 25, 2012 at 05:05 PM
I was a cyclist for many years. I no longer ride, but take interest in the sport. This is tragic for all involved. The one thing I cant wrap my head around (would love input from the cyclists here) is this. In all the years I rode, I cant recall a time where I struck anything hard enough to cause this type of injury. I actually once hit a parked car at 16mph..my fault. I understand when a car strikes a cyclist how great the impact can be, but the reports state that the cyclist struck the car who turned in front of him. How fast do you have to be traveling on a bike, to not be able to see the car turning, apply brakes, swerve, something.. and still cause this type of damage. Is there limited visibility at that intersection? Is it a downhill? I am not concerned with fault. I have just thought about this terrible accident and wonder how either party could have prevented it, as to ensure that it doesn't happen again... God Bless all involved.
Jim August 25, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I was a cyclist for many years, although not any longer. This is tragic for all involved. The one thing I cant wrap my head around (would love input from the cyclists here) is this. In all the years I rode, I cant recall a time where I struck anything hard enough to cause this type of injury. I actually once hit a parked car at 16mph..my fault. I understand when a car strikes a cyclist how great the impact can be, but the reports state that the cyclist struck the car who turned in front of him. How fast do you have to be traveling on a bike, to not be able to see the car turning, apply brakes, swerve, something.. and still cause this type of damage. Is there limited visibility at that intersection? Is it a downhill? I am not concerned with fault. I have just thought about this terrible accident and wonder how either party could have prevented it, as to ensure that it doesn't happen again... God Bless all involved.
Lillian Banks August 25, 2012 at 07:59 PM
I drive that road all the time, and a bicyclist can get "lost" in the view of an auto driver, in that they are coming down so fast (bicyclist) on the hill, and have a background of forest trees and their shadows. If the bicyclist is wearing red, orange, yellow they are more easily seen, but lots of them wear green, brown and black and just blend into the vegetation.

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