Cyclist's death brings renewed call for drivers to pay attention - News, Weather & Sports

Cyclist's death brings renewed call for drivers to pay attention

By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A 42-year-old Louisville man was hit by a car and killed while riding his bike Thursday morning. Vance Kokojan, who worked at UPS Supply Chain Solutions, was heading west on the Outer Loop just west of I-65 when he was struck around 6 a.m. AS WAVE 3's Elizabeth Donatelli reports, Kokojan's death adds to the growing list of fatalities and has the cycling community asking drivers to pay attention.

Police say Kokojan was killed when a Honda Accord that was following a semi too closely tried to pass it on the right.

Sgt. Travis Hatchell with the LMPD Traffic Unit said the driver of the Honda changed lanes quickly, and struck the bicyclist. "Apparently he didn't have enough room away from the semi to react to the bicycle being in the roadway."

Metro Police say Kokojan was not wearing a helmet, but did have small flashing lights on the front and rear of his bicycle. The stretch of road Kokojan was riding on is a busy road, and it wasn't fully light outside.

"The location where we are right now, I wouldn't say it's very safe to ride a bicycle," Sgt. Hatchell said.

But it isn't illegal for the cyclist to be in the passenger lane. In fact, it is arguably the safest place for him to ride on that road. We asked Russell Hisle, the manager of Bike Couriers Bike Shop, who rides his bike to work every day, if he thinks the road is safe for bikers.

"No, but I don't think there should be any problem with it," Hisle said. "The lanes are plenty wide enough down there. If you do get traffic backed up there's plenty of opportunities for you to move over off to the shoulder of the road."

Hisle said the biggest problem he sees is road rage - drivers mad that he's taking up a lane. "You get stuff throwed at you, you get cussed out. You get threatened."

Metro Police do not expect to file criminal charges regarding the accident. It just turns out to be a tragic accident.

A viewer called into the WAVE 3 newsroom after seeing our reports on the accident Thursday morning and told us he takes that same road to work every day. The caller said even if the cyclist had wanted to ride on the shoulder, it is covered in debris and even more unsafe.

WAVE 3 talked to officials with the Transportation Cabinet to try and get that shoulder cleaned up. A spokesperson told us they will work on the issue and get back to us.

We'll keep you posted.

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