Motorist Kills Cyclist on Sir Francis Drake at White Hill

The approximate location of the crash. Photo: Google maps
The approximate location of the crash. Photo: Google maps

A motorist driving a Honda SUV in the shoulder of Sir Francis Drake ran down and killed a Marin cyclist Saturday morning. The Marin County Bicycle Coalition gave Streetsblog permission to publish their thoughts on this latest tragedy; this latest victim of the ongoing traffic violence epidemic.

The MCBC staff was heartbroken to learn of yet another person killed on the roads of Marin while riding a bike. At around noon on Saturday, January 29th, Greg Chisholm of San Francisco, pastor at Authentic Church, was hit from behind by a driver who had drifted into the right shoulder. The crash occurred in the eastbound direction of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. between Woodacre and Fairfax, just before the top of White Hill. Bystanders attempted to render aid, but Mr. Chisholm apparently died on the scene. The driver, in a Honda SUV that went off the road and into a ditch, suffered minor injuries. While CHP has indicated that they do not believe that drugs or alcohol played a role, it is not known yet whether simple distraction or another factor played a role in the driver leaving their lane, a matter on which we will not speculate.

From his Instagram account, it appears that Mr. Chisholm was training for a ride from his home in San Francisco to Long Beach later this year. He leaves behind a wife and daughter, as well as a grieving congregation. From the Marin IJ:

“The entire Authentic Church family is shocked and deeply grieved by the sudden and tragic death of Pastor Greg,” Christine Adams, vice chair of the church’s board of elders, said. She shared that Chisholm had loved biking in Marin County in his personal time, however “In all of our minds, he went too soon.”

Mr. Chisholm is, unfortunately, another name on a long list of people killed riding or walking in Marin, particularly on its high-speed, rural roads. In the past decade, 24 people have been reported hit while biking on Sir Francis Drake between White Hill Middle School and Shafter Grade, where the off-street Cross Marin Trail begins. One of these people was killed and eight more were seriously wounded. The speed limit here varies between 45 and 55 mph, a speed at which a large share of crashes will be fatal, with only a line of paint separating the bodies of riders from motor vehicles.

fatality-rate-by-speed
Graph info from ProPublica

And tragically, the state of safety on Marin’s and America’s roads is trending very much in the wrong direction. 2021 was the most deadly year on America’s streets in a generation, and the last decade has seen more than a 50% increase in bike rider and pedestrian deaths.

At the February 1st meeting of the Marin County Board of Supervisors, we gave the following comment, drawing attention to this tragic crash and USDOT’s recent goal toward reducing traffic deaths to zero.

We have reached out to Mr. Chisholm’s church to convey our organization’s condolences and are working to schedule a meeting with District 4 Supervisor Dennis Rodoni, whose district this and other many serious, high-speed crashes have occurred in.

Look for a post in the coming days about what could have stopped this crash, and what will prevent other fatal and serious crashes here in the future.

Streetsblog will continue to work with the MCBC to bring you the latest on this developing story.

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