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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : local September 29, 2016

7/30/2014 2:06:00 PM
Still no decision on bicycle fatality case
Lynn Hartline of Gilbert was killed after being struck by a passing vehicle May 17. VVN/Jon Pelletier.
Lynn Hartline of Gilbert was killed after being struck by a passing vehicle May 17. VVN/Jon Pelletier.

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

CORNVILLE -- Friends and family are still waiting to see if there will be criminal charges in the death of a woman who pedaled to raise money for the MS Foundation. The Yavapai County Attorney's Office still has not made a decision on whether charges will be brought against the driver responsible for the Lynn Hartline fatality May 17.

The county's chief attorney has an internal policy to review cases for possible charges or further action within 30 days of receiving the case. Friday was the close of that informal 30-day review period, but the matter remains "still active and pending review," according to the Administrative Assistant for the County Attorney, Penny Cramer.

"The case is still active, but I don't know what the outcome will be," she said.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's turned over the investigation for the review June 16.

Cornville Road was closed when the woman was hit by a van driven by 90-year-old Nelson Shaum of Cottonwood.

Shaum told police he stayed in the same lane as the bicyclists since another car was approaching from the opposite direction. Hartline was struck and bounced off the windshield of the van. Her bike was dragged for a distance along Cornville Road.

The 48-year-old woman was flown to Flagstaff Medical Center, but was later pronounced dead.

A "ghost bike" was placed at the accident scene as a tribute to the woman.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Article comment by: @ what about ...

Not sure the 'valley' claims to be friendly...but some are trying more than just saying.

See Sedona and the VOC, but actually ADOT in there amazingly.

Cottonwood includes bike lanes on all new construction.

Regional partners also working together on 260 update and trying to hold ADOT to addressing bikes there as well.

But after all that- how hard can it be to simply share the road, spare 10 seconds to save a life, or just try and be a bit more courteous?

To be fair this applies to the cyclists as well. 99 of us can do a great job and follow the rules of the road, use lights and hand signals, plan routes that impede less traffic... and all it takes to blow all that hard work out of the water is one kid on a bmx bike with no lights riding on sidewalk and blowing through stop signs at dusk.

There is still work to do but nothing is so important to get to that it should cost a human life.

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Article comment by: Thomas McCabe

The death of Lynn Hartline fatality on May 17 is an American tragedy . Do we all have 'equal ' rights to act totally irresponsible? There should be some point when due diligence trumps equal rights. Perhaps one might argue that Lynn had the legal right to use the road but so did the driver. Did one have more rights than the other? Sharing the road in this case meant sharing tragedy. Cornville Rd. from 89a to Beaverhead Flat is treacherous for bicyclists. No matter how bicyclists may try to avoid traffic they are placed at risk nearly all the time by motorists trying to stay within traffic laws. Basically there is NO safe point on Cornville Rd. however that does not preclude the fact, in this case, that the driver did not practice due diligence. Mix in the age factor and you have the makings of an accident. Clearly the driver was impaired by his age. In that race for some parts of this road 10 MPH was too fast. There are laws to protect road workers and police cruisers but bike riders are left out. They ride at their own risk. Is it fair? We all use Cornville Rd. At some point biker avoidance becomes hazardous to motorists! No amount of money will bring precious Lynn Hartline back to us but she and her loved ones deserve compensation for their loss.
The speed at which society lives is blinding. Perhaps that is our problem. We are blind to what really matter in our lives.

Posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Article comment by: What About Logic

Our Valley claims bicycle friendly, but where are our bike lanes.....we are not biker friendly, but only in love with the idea of it....

Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014
Article comment by: Tim Silete

sorry for the loss I had passed the Gost bike the other day when I realize that I was speeding so it made me think a little more about safety and maintained my speed the rest of the trip...

Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014
Article comment by: More obvious message

I'm a bicyclist and the message I get is NOT that 99% of highway users should slow down for me, but that I better be very defensive when I ride and take care of myself. Ain't nobody else gonna.

Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014
Article comment by: @ reality sucks,

But if as you say it was her time... then maybe her passing was intended to remind people to share the road and slow down to prevent another death.

10 seconds and just 3' save lives. If you can't spare that for another human life then you should reconsider driving a motor vehicle, and your life path in general.

Posted: Sunday, August 3, 2014
Article comment by: Reality Sucks

You know nothing that is said or done here will bring back this woman's life. It was an accident, but the way I look at it is that it was her time to go. The Good Lord called her number. We are all here on Earth for a reason and when we have fulfilled that reason our time is up and we are called home.

You may say that the driver caused this to happen sooner than necessary, but if that is true then she would have survived. Since she didn't she finished everything that the Lord felt she needed to do.

No life is ever wasted and the Lord has his purpose for each and everyone of us. There is a plan for us and we live it according to what the Lord wants.

Look at it this way. She is not in pain, she is home with her Savior and she is happy being where she is.

May she rest in peace with our Lord.

Posted: Sunday, August 3, 2014
Article comment by: The law

28-735. Overtaking bicycles civil penalties
A. When overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction, a person driving a motor vehicle shall exercise due care by leaving a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet until the motor vehicle is safely past the overtaken bicycle.
B. If a person violates this section and the violation results in a collision causing:
1. Serious physical injury as defined in section 13-105 to another person, the violater is subject to a civil penalty of up to five hundred dollars.
2. Death to another person, the violater is subject to a civil penalty of up to one thousand dollars.
C. Subsection B of this section does not apply to a bicyclist who is injured in a vehicular traffic lane when a designated bicycle lane or path is present and passable.

(continues below)

Posted: Sunday, August 3, 2014
Article comment by: The law (continued)

28-815. Riding on roadways and bicycle paths prohibition of motor vehicle traffic on bike paths
A. A person riding a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except under any of the following situations:
1. If overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
2. If preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
3. If reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals or surface hazards.
4. If the lane in which the person is operating the bicycle is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travelsafely side by side within the lane.
B. Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadway set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
C. A path or lane that is designated as a bicycle path or lane by state or local authorities is for the exclusive use of bicycles even though other uses are permitted pursuant to subsection D or are otherwise permitted by state or local authorities.

Unless Ms Harline suddenly swerved into the path of Mr Shaum's vehicle, he is at fault. There must be witnesses.

Posted: Saturday, August 2, 2014
Article comment by: Maggie Holt

I can't begin to count the times I have watched drivers pass slower vehicles in their lane regardless of oncoming traffic. It's as if the oncoming drivers are the ones who have to look out because some selfish oaf doesn't want to wait 10 SECONDS until s/he can pass safely.

Commenters have been saying that cyclists shouldn't be on the roadways. But the law says they can be, and warning signs for the event were up.

So, the driver knows the law, decides to pass anyway, and kills the cyclist in the process. Is age a defense? No. What's the hurry. With slowed reaction times caused by a function of age, if the driver was in such a hurry, he did not allow enough time for contingencies.

Get over it, obey the law, and share the road!!


Posted: Saturday, August 2, 2014
Article comment by: It's difficult to share the road when the road is not wide enough to share.

As a former cyclist, I don't mind sharing the road with bicycles. But there has to be enough roadway!! When you are doing 50/60 mph in a car driving around blind/semi blind curves, and are suddenly confronted with a bicycle who is taking up 1/3 of the lane, what do you do? Slam on your brakes, hoping you stop in time or hit the oncoming car or hit the bicyclist or drive off the road into a canyon.

I have narrowly missed a bike in Oak Creek Canyon and another cyclist on 89a on my way up to Jerome. Scared me and I'm sure it scared the bike rider to hear the car brakes squealing and the car sliding behind him. But what other choice was there? Drive 20 mph in anticipation of a chance encounter with a cyclist? Either provide bike lanes, or at least road shoulders wide enough to help protect bicycles.

With no shoulders on much of a roads in Yavapai County, it is dangerous for bike events to be held in the Verde Valley. If there is not enough room for a car and bike in the same traffic lane, deaths like this will continue.

Posted: Friday, August 1, 2014
Article comment by: The solution is ...

For people to do as many of us learned in preschool... share!

Share the road, take a minute or to to avoid killing another human.

Not a complex or expensive situation really.

Is any day to day appointment or errand so important that it justifies an avoidable death?

Yeah- bikes go slower than cars... get over it. It's not like they are doing anything but saving you $ on gas by slowing you down a few seconds.

Take a breath, enjoy the view, save a life.

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Article comment by: No Passing

Arizona Revises Statutes Title 28-727 reads
28-727. No passing zones

The director may determine those portions of a highway where overtaking and passing or driving to the left of the roadway would be especially hazardous and may indicate the beginning and end of the zones by shall obey the directions of the signs or appropriate signs or markings on the roadway. When the signs or markings are in place and clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person, every driver of a vehicle markings.

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Article comment by: We see the problems what are the solutions

The speed limit on that road is 50 mph, not 35. In the upper right hand corner of the pic you can just see the edge of the 5 for the 50 mph sign.
Other than that, I can come to no conclusion as to who was right and who was wrong. All the relevant facts cannot possibly be detailed in the paper. But as other have pointed out, coming around a curve to meet a slow moving group of cyclers is hazardous, for everyone.
Even if there is no corner, the massive differences in speed is dangerous.
I also would like clarification as to whether one can pass a bicycle or not when in a no passing zone. I have read all the articles, all the comments and the state law and find this to be an excellent opportunity for clarification for the public.
To me, outright prohibition of the passing of a bicycle in a no passing zone is idiotic, (perhaps passing is allowable only if less than 50% of your vehicle crosses the line--???) but if strictly NO passing is the rule, then scheduling this event on this road is unwise.

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Article comment by: Brian Carlson

We have to ask, will charging a 90 year old man really serve justice. His experience is problem punishment alone.

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