Authorities have identified the bicyclist who was killed Thursday afternoon in a collision with a large truck on Reserve Street.
Robert Bremer, 50, of Huson, was riding north on Reserve Street, just north of Costco, when a northbound truck merged right to exit to West Broadway. The right front side of the cab struck the bike, knocking Bremer to the ground.
Missoula police and the Montana Highway Patrol are still investigating the crash in order to understand the precise details of how the truck and bike collided, said Police Sgt. Travis Welsh.
"Ultimately, when we have gathered as many facts as we think we can get, we will refer it to the county attorney's office for a review of charges, if any are warranted," Welsh said.
Neither alcohol nor drugs appear to be a factor in the collision. The truck was examined Friday morning for any mechanical failures or oversights.
"We found nothing new or startling there," Welsh said.
Phil Smith, the bicycle-pedestrian program manager for the city of Missoula, said North Reserve Street presents challenges to cyclists because the bicycle lane changes width, and the solid fog line becomes dotted, meaning vehicles can cross over the lane, but are required to yield to any cyclists in their path.
"Wherever that happens, the bike rider has some responsibility to see that the solid line on their left becomes a dash line, and they should know that a car will be turning there," he said. "But cars aren't supposed to cross any lane until they yield to whatever is in that lane on the right."
Smith said he has never regarded North Reserve as problematic for cyclists until Thursday's fatality, but acknowledges that any cyclist getting killed in Missoula is unacceptable, and every circumstance where it occurs raises questions and variables that deserve consideration.
"Anybody who rides on Reserve Street with any regularity at all knows that motor vehicles behave unpredictably. You can say that about anywhere in the city," Smith said. "If you get bikers and drivers not doing what the guidelines say, you've got the opportunity for a crash."
Roy Smith, 64, died in February 2007 while riding through the multi-laned and notoriously busy intersection of Mullan Road and Reserve Street, where he either fell or was knocked off his bike and then rolled underneath a semitrailer.
Stacie DeWolf, 50, was killed two months later when she was struck in broad daylight by a drunken driver at the corner of Toole Avenue and Dickens Street.
Six months earlier, Colin Heffernan, 14, was riding his bike after dark and without a light when he was struck by a pickup truck near Beckwith and Higgins avenues. He died the next day.
Bremer was apparently on his daily bike ride from Huson to Missoula, where he would explore the trails around the Rattlesnake Wilderness before heading back home to Huson, the man's wife told police.
"Even if the bike rider is completely in the right, they're the ones who are going to suffer in a collision," Smith said. "Whenever you are bicycling be alert to drivers because they are so unpredictable. And don't get stuck on the right side of a truck that's turning right, or the left side of a truck turning left. The driver's blind spot is just too big, and the truck's turning radius is really short."
As a general guideline, Smith said cyclists should be in line with vehicles when turning, not alongside them.
"Reserve Street is a dangerous place on a bicycle simply because it is Reserve Street and there's a heavy amount of traffic and large vehicles traverse it daily," Welsh said. "I would urge drivers to be careful when they're out there, and especially anyone on a bicycle."