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A fatal collision is under investigation in Springfield following a reported hit-and-run Sunday near the Missouri State campus. KSMU’s Shane Franklin has the latest, plus how cyclists and motorists can safety share the road.
Police Monday afternoon identified the deceased as 23-year-old Zachary S. Gibson of Springfield. He was struck near the intersection of Kimbrough and Bear Boulevard at around 6:45 p.m. and pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of a white sedan is said to have fled, according to Captain Vance Holland of the Springfield Police Department.
“We recovered a vehicle we believe to the suspect vehicle, but we do not have anybody in custody at this time,” said Holland.
Holland said witness accounts were consistent, but they will not know exactly what caused the accident until after they’re able to question the driver.
“The sight lines are really good there, and so I do not understand that why under normal conditions and normal behavior anybody should be colliding at that particular intersection, and so something went wrong,” says Cline.
Dr. Andy Cline is a traffic cycling instructor with the national organization I am Traffic. He’s studied issues related to urban transportation at MSU, and has been using a bicycle as his primary form of transportation in Springfield for the last 10 years.
Cline says that in his experience, Springfield is a very safe place to bike. He says people are generally very courteous and accepting of cyclists, and typically people understand that when traveling though the city’s urban core, they should expect people to be traveling by bike.
“The fact of the matter is that a bicyclist who is driving their bicycle in traffic, as traffic, can be seen by motorists. Motorists have to expect them to be there, because they have the right to be there, and further, motorists need to remember that they have an awesome responsibility for the safety of others, because they are driving basically two-ton missiles, and these two-ton missiles are responsible for 30-40 thousand deaths per year,” said Cline.
Cline said while much of the responsibility lies with motorists, cyclists also need to follow the Missouri Drivers Guide, and make sure they’re doing everything they can to make a safe environment for everyone on the street.
According to city documents, last year there were nearly 7,000 traffic accidents in Springfield. Just over one percent of those involved cyclists.
Police investigators are requesting that anyone with information regarding the hit-and-run case to contact the department at 864-1810 or Crime Stoppers at 869-TIPS (8477).