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Remembering Charles Lewis

North Main Street at Casenti Street in Salinas is a four-lane street with no bike lanes (e.g., Class II, or better yet, Class IV lanes). As is not uncommon in such situations, Charles Lewis, age 60, was choosing to ride his bicycle on the sidewalk rather than share the street’s travel lanes with motor vehicles. That is legal in Salinas within certain guidelines, including biking at “reasonable speed”; see (Sec. 20-108). It’s also important to be aware that sidewalk riding has its own dangers.

On May 17, 2017, there was a collision between Mr. Lewis’s bicycle and a motor vehicle pulling out of a gas station. Mr. Lewis’s injuries resulted in his death on July 20, 2017. See the police reports for more details:

The wording of the May 22, 2017 report about this collision, “riding his bicycle s/b on the east sidewalk (the wrong side of the street),” may give a mistaken impression. “Wrong side” seems to imply that when biking on a sidewalk, you must bike on the same side of the street that you would be required to by law if you were instead biking out in the street. As Bicycling Monterey confirmed with Sgt. Gerard Ross of the Salinas Police Department, the May 22, 2017 report’s wording was not meant to imply doing that is required by law.

Chelcey Adami reported in the Salinas Californian on 7/24/17 that this was the seventh fatal collision in Salinas in 2017 and the first involving a person bicycling.

Bicycling Monterey extends sincere sympathy to the loved ones of

Charles Lewis.

People who bike—and others advocating for improved transportation infrastructure, and for the education of people who bike and education of people who drive—may wish to refer to “En memoria de Rogelio Vásquez López (1982-2015).”

Some of the circumstances were similar in the deaths of Mr. López and Mr. Lewis. Both men were biking where there were no bicycle lanes, and both chose to ride their bike on a sidewalk rather than share the street’s travel lanes with motor vehicles. In both cases, the vehicles they collided with were either entering or exiting a gas station driveway.

Photo below: Market at Kern, and the gas station where the collision resulting in Mr. López’s death took place.





This post was published on 2 August 2017.

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