Minn. Bicycle Activists Pushing for Stricter Legislation after Deadly Crash

Updated: 07/05/2014 9:53 PM
Created: 07/05/2014 8:15 PM
By: Brandi Powell

A recent deadly crash in Southwest Minnesota has reinvigorated a push for stricter punishments for the drivers responsible.

Andrea Boeve of Steen was killed Monday morning after she was hit by a car while she was biking with her 4-year-old and 1-year-old daughters.

Bicycle advocates are pushing even harder for stricter legislation.

The driver, 25-year-old Christopher Weber, who allegedly hit and killed 33-year-old Boeve has been charged with one count of criminal vehicular manslaughter.

According to the criminal complaint, Weber said he was on his cellphone checking a voicemail, and he did not remember seeing the woman or the bike.

He is facing the felony charge because authorities say Weber was distracted by his phone when he hit Boeve. Otherwise, it would've only been a misdemeanor.

Now, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota is working to try to change that.

Dorian Grilley, Executive Director of Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, has first-hand experience with the dangers of drivers and bikers.

Grilley says he's lucky to be alive. "I didn't see him coming because the cars in the two marked lanes of traffic were stopped at the red light, so I went across at the crosswalk," Grilley said.

When a car passed the vehicles and got to the crosswalk, it ran into Grilley.

"I was hit from the side, right here, and as you can see it bent the crank arm all the way in."

He broke bones in 16 places, but fears it could have been worse.

It's crashes like that, and the recent deadly accident in southern Minnesota that has the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota again pushing to change the legislation.

"It's a misdemeanor, that's correct, that's the maximum you can be charged with if you just said, 'Oops I didn't see him,'" Grilley said. "If somebody's on their phone then it goes up to criminal vehicular homicide, if they actually kill you, and then it's a felony. So there's a gap in between those two penalties."

Bicyclist Nick Mason, who's also Program Manager for Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, agrees.

"Those bills haven't gained traction at the state capitol."

But they're hoping that will soon change.

The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota says they've been working with the Dakota County Attorney, Minnesotans for Safe Driving and ABATE of Minnesota.

The mother who died in the bike accident last week - Andrea Boeve - was a nurse practitioner at Sanford Orthopedics for a couple of years before she transferred to Sioux Falls.

Her co-workers say her smile lit up every room she walked into.

A memorial fund has been set up to help the Boeve family.

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