Minneapolis cyclist in bike lane killed by semi truck

  • Article by: LORA PABST , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 20, 2009 - 11:42 PM

Dennis Dumm commuted by bike every day and followed the rules of the road, his girlfriend said. The driver won't be cited.

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Minneapolis police officers investigated the wheel area of a commercial truck involved in the fatal bicycle accident today.

Photo: Tom Sweeney, Star Tribune

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After spending months painstakingly rebuilding his bicycle, Dennis Dumm rode it every day from his home in south Minneapolis to work on the other side of downtown.

On Wednesday morning, just as Dumm took off from the bike lane at the intersection of Park Avenue and E. 14th Street, a semitrailer driver began to make a wide left turn, crossing in front of Dumm and hitting and killing the 31-year-old cyclist.

The driver of the truck will not be cited in connection with the accident, said Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer. He said the truck was loaded with concrete and asphalt chunks from a nearby construction site as it headed north on Park, a one-way street.

Dumm's girlfriend, Christi Desautels, said Dumm always followed traffic rules and wore a helmet, but she knows that even experienced riders need to be reminded that accidents can happen in a matter of seconds.

"He used to let me know if I made a mistake," she said. "He wasn't just messing around out there."

Ryan Moffett, of Minneapolis, said he had been riding behind Dumm for several blocks before the accident and saw him waiting for a stoplight in a bike lane next to the truck.

"The truck started going straight to make a wide left turn," Moffett said. "I think he didn't realize the truck was turning. He just couldn't get out of the way."

Moffett said Dumm was wearing a helmet and was riding in the bike lane but had entered the intersection when he was hit by the back wheels of the truck.

"He seemed to be following the rules of the road," he said. "That does stick out in my mind."

Bike ride honors victims

Dozens of Twin Cities area bicyclists had already planned to participate Wednesday evening in a worldwide memorial ride for bicyclists who have been injured or killed, said Todd Cole, the Minneapolis representative for the Ride of Silence organization. After the accident, the group decided to ride through the intersection at Park and 14th to remember Dumm.

"I'm hoping that people get a stronger sense of what's going on around them," he said. "People are getting hurt."

Online discussion boards about cycling were full of questions from riders about how Dumm could have been hit when he was seemingly following traffic rules, but Cole said sometimes that isn't enough. He doesn't want riders to be scared off by news of accidents, but he does want to make sure they are educated about safety.

"If people took the time to ride along with seasoned cyclists, they'd actually feel a little safer," Cole said.

Desautels said Dumm had recently taken his love of biking to a new level when he rebuilt bike that had been stolen and damaged last year. Last week, he had participated in events for National Bike to Work day.

"It was more than a hobby," she said. "The ultimate goal was to be able to get rid of his car."

Dumm, who was also a photographer, had a show of his work scheduled to open in a couple of weeks at the northeast Minneapolis restaurant Sen Yai Sen Lek. Desautels said his friends plan to follow through with the show.

Lora Pabst • 612-673-4628

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