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Bruce Rosar, NC Active Transportation Alliance Board Member & Human-Powered Transportation Advocate, Killed in Cycling Collision

roadskater's picture
Call your loved ones now. Tell them what you have to say. Call the people you expect to enjoy time with in the future, and go do that now if you can. I am shocked by the news of Bruce Rosar's death as much as I could be by any news of a cyclist being killed on the road. He was so aware, so alive, so considerate, and of course, so passionate about cycling as transportation, and the roads being made for human-powered as well as machine-powered use. Bruce...shown in his usual bright safety cycling wear and helmet...was not the kind of person I had ever thought of dying. I thought of him being full of life...so full of life. He had so much life in him he had extra to share. One of the best outcomes from becoming involved with the North Carolina Active Transportation Alliance (http://ncactive.org) was meeting and looking forward to getting to know Bruce more over the years. Now that chance is gone, and I am sad for something lost from my life, that I wish I had more quickly and fully enjoyed while it was here...the chance to learn from and enjoy Bruce's fine company. Bruce was a careful and considerate advocate for all people who want access to the highways we have all built. He truly believed we all could find ways to safely share the roads, and he was seeing it happen all over the world, and excited about it happening in North Carolina. Bruce recently reiterated his support for other modes of transportation in addition to cycling, and after a recent board meeting by telephone, he stayed on the line to make clear to me that he still felt that way and to discuss his advocacy for roadskating in its modern form on the roadways. I knew it was going to be a long road and I was not sure I wanted to keep trying, but with Bruce providing strong support and superior knowledge, I felt encouraged about the long term chances for skilled roadskaters to have a place in the law equal to the status bicyclists enjoy in North Carolina. But this is not the loss I feel. One great person is missing from my life, and I believe the world is less well off for his passing. Let this remind us all that when we are driving an automobile or truck or other large, heavy vehicle, we are in charge of a very powerful and deadly device. I hope I remember to focus on surroundings more completely when driving, and of course, while skating. I've had people buzz by as closely as possible in their giant vehicle, in a hurry, offended at our presence, sometimes not even willing to wait for oncoming traffic to pass before squeezing by. (We've found that waving to motorists as soon as we hear their vehicles...not waving them by but letting them know we know they're there...helps reduce honking and buzzing, but doesn't eliminate it.) I've even had one person stop and very calmly tell me, "I hope you die" before driving off to ironically reveal a bumper sticker from a local college of religious studies. Some are angry, loud, intentionally mean. Many, I believe, are simply not aware how close they are coming to changing THEIR lives by being involved in the death of another person who was not out to harm them in any way. Even if the law ignores the event, surely many will feel it with sorrow for the rest of their lives. If anyone wants to have a ride in honor of Bruce tomorrow (or any other day), please let me know. Maybe we could ride and skate in all black attire at a leisurely pace, and perhaps loop around some of the roads in the area that we all love and have enjoyed often. This makes our efforts in the NC Active Transportation Alliance have even more meaning and importance. Here's a link to the story on Bruce's collision... http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/5553372/


Apex, North Carolina
United States
35° 43' 44.958" N, 78° 50' 23.4996" W
Bruce Rosar (in Safey Vest), Cyclist, NCATA (NCActive.org) Board Member, Human-Powered Transportation Advocate, Sharing the Road


eebee's picture

More Details...

What tragic news. More recent reports are claiming that "...preliminary investigation showed cyclist Bruce W. Rosar had made a left turn and crossed into the path of the vehicle...". But it's all sparse and sketchy, really. http://www.myfox8.com/news/sns-ap-nc--cyclistkilled,0,4146098.story
roadskater's picture

They're asking for help finding more motorists with information

Wow. Everyone makes mistakes but that doesn't sound like Bruce, eebee and I agree. I hope they find some more witnesses so we can find out what we can, but it doesn't change my regrets over this. I was set to talk with Bruce again a few weeks ago and we put it off due to his travel schedule related to human-powered transportation advocacy. Then I let it go and got busy with other life and with trail skating. We were set for a board meeting tomorrow and a Tuesday policy committee meeting. If you want to honor Bruce, vote for people who advocate cycling and skating and other human-powered access to the roadways. One way to be involved is to join ncactive.org and the NCATA mailing list, but it doesn't matter how you do it, just get involved and vote for people who get it. This is sad stuff, and I feel for the motorist involved, no matter how it happened.
timv's picture

Obit on cyclingnews.com

That's some stunning and terribly sad news. Blake, I recall you mentioning Bruce a month or so back and praising his dedication to all forms of human-powered transportation, not just walking and cycling and skating but even modes that we as roadskaters might neglect to consider. What an enormous loss. For those who don't follow bicycle racing closely, Cyclingnews is one of the world's leading, if not the leading, news website, based in Australia although it has contributors around the world. And it's already posted a news report on Bruce's passing: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/bicycle-safety-expert-killed-in-collision-with-car-in-north-carolina
Bicycle safety expert killed in collision with car in North Carolina By: Laura Weislo Published: July 11, 14:13, Updated: July 11, 21:50 Triangle will miss its most enthusiastic bicycling advocate The Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill "Triangle" area has lost one of its most vocal and knowledgeable cycling safety experts in a crash with a car in Apex, North Carolina. Bruce Rosar, 56, died after being struck by a vehicle while cycling along one of the area's popular routes on Saturday afternoon. [...]
Based on what's been said about his dedication to teaching and practicing cycling safety, I'd have to begin with the assumption that he was doing as much as he could to prevent something like this. But we share the roads with drivers who are sometimes impaired or distracted or otherwise unable to drive well, and there's always the chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I certainly hope that the Apex police find the driver, but nothing they do will change what happened. Bruce clearly touched a lot of lives, and perhaps the work to which he dedicated himself will eventually lead to safer roads for other non-motorized travelers.
roadskater's picture

Yes, Bruce's Knowledge Was So Powerful and It Is a Loss

Thanks, timv, for the link and the words. For more on what Bruce taught in terms of road safety, and for another (better) photo of him in his neon green jersey, see this fine report from 2008... http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/PrintFriendly?oid=oid%3A258718 Here's more information about the accident...not sure why they are keeping the name of the driver quiet... http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1604320.html I believe the driver stopped and that this driver is the only source of information in the "preliminary reports." I am not certain of that. Apparently there was more than one vehicle in the area that could have contained witnesses, and those are they people they are seeking. You are right that no action can bring him back. I have to say this has hit me hard today, because I know how knowledgeable, conscientious and aware Bruce was. With some cyclists, I'd respectully and quietly wonder if they might not have been quite as careful as they could have been. I don't think that about Bruce, though of course we all make mistakes. Selfishly, my personal view of the possiblities in my road seems diminished, lonelier in the ride, without Bruce. Though I had not yet gotten to know him much, his potential and how much of his potential he was able to tap, and be willing to share, was inspiring. The concept of his energy, enthusiasm, openness and positivity not being with us is impossible to describe. I'm sorry to repeat myself. Were I to know him longer and more fully, I can't imagine what that would feel like. As it is, I can only be mad at myself for missing the time to benefit from his presence more often. We'll all go on, but we'll do so differently for his loss. I can only hope I can be more like him in some important ways going forward. But I was already hoping for that, but to also have his example in front of me to show me how to stand for what I believe in with grace.
dtg's picture

Doesn't make sense

The default position in the "silent war" seems to take the position of the car. I could hardly believe what I read in that WRAL article. What a tragedy.
roadskater's picture

OK, a Honda, but why don't we know who was driving?

I am still not saying this was intentional or even that the driver was at fault, or that anyone is at fault, but does anyone know....

  • Why has the name of the driver, or at least age and city of residence, or at least some general details about them, not been released? I can understand it might be horrific for the driver if it were totally an innocent event, but it seems different from usual that these details are missing.
  • Why don't we know how many witnesses there were and if they were all with the driver, or cyclists with Bruce, or disinterested parties?
  • Were there cyclists present and did they see what happened? I have heard unconfirmed news on this, but usually from unnamed sources on message boards.

It doesn't change this loss but it keeps me wondering. If anyone knows of memorials or other gatherings, please let me know.

roadskater's picture

Some Video Reports

Here's one report on the accident. Official news is still not out, so I'll hold any repeating of rumors until the report is published. Here's a News 14 video that shows the intersection and the ghost bike up in Bruce's honor... http://www.news14.com/content/local_news/triangle/611900/loved-ones-to-c... Here's another video that shows the scene... http://wake.mync.com/site/wake/news%7CSports%7CLifestyles/story/38245/la... And this one has an eyewitness account... http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=4226712&cl=14456128&src...
eebee's picture

Ghost Bikes

Here's more info on Ghost Bikes.
roadskater's picture

Now the Report of the Bruce Rosar Collision is Out

The Apex Police held a news conference and published the report of the accident. Police gave the name and other details about the driver, who lives nearby in New Hill (that's where we turn left just after the track crossing if we come from Apex on the Apex Elementary route ; it's also where we parked one time to do the same route from the midpoint). There are still nagging questions but this does give more information at least. I'll hold off on comments to let it sink in a bit. Where there is video it is usually better than the reporting or writing, or both. This one shows some of the news conference and some informative if sad diagrams... http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/local&id=6914870 http://wake.mync.com/site/wake/news%7CSports%7CLifestyles/story/38311/ap... http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/5573246/ "Well, I'm a cyclist who is complaining about large numbers of autos on the road. " http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/letters/story/1606106.html If you want to consider accuracy in reportage, notice how poor the writing is in this one (video is worthwhile), which we can only tell when we know what the police said and what the writer says they said. It contains some of the same words but leaves out important ones. So close, far away. I hope an editor or the writer will review it; I'm doubting there is an editor, in fact. http://www.news14.com/content/local_news/triangle/611963/investigators-r... I hope dtg will post what he said elsewhere on a semi-private list here. We turned the North Carolina Active Transportation Alliance (http://ncactive.org) page black today to honor Bruce.
dtg's picture

news, the real facts, takeaways

I personally would not believe anything I read on the internet about this. I'd like to see the police report for myself, including just how many witnesses there were, what the personal biases are of those writing and reporting, etc. It is just an issue that is very polarizing, and as a result, one that is hard to find truth. It is very possible at the end of it all, we just will never know. For me, one takeaway is what type of society we live in - that has been created for us - and that we think is "normal". In NC and our Triangle area, it is virtually impossible to live without a car. For those that travel, you quickly realize not everyone in the world believes this way. In fact, many would think we in the US are the strange ones. It is up to each individual to fight for the society we wish to live in. For me, this incident has made me really think about the type of society I live in - that someone like Bruce could die so quickly causes me to think. Am I doing enough to create the society I wish to live in?
roadskater's picture

Thanks, Manhattan, Shared Space, Queens, Car Lane, Amsterdam

Thanks, dtg, for sharing your thoughts. Bruce was a founding member and board member of several organizations, and one of those which promotes multimodal human-powered "active transportation" is the NCATA. Anyone who wants to be involved should check out http://ncactive.org and also join the email group. I should say I'm a member and I think it worth it for skaters to be part of this too. If we want to be represented we need to be a significant part of it. Regarding USA cities, there is some variance, but I'm sure not as much as in the rest of the world. In New York City, especially Manhattan, while there are lots of cars, I've found accomodation in general from motorists. I was looking at the free bicycle maps they publish today, after reading about a new one in the New York Times. It's a bicycle tour of the history of Queens methinks, though megots distracted along the way. Bruce was a real fan of the idea of "shared space" traffic management. This was something I wanted to take more time to discuss with him, to understand it better, and to see why he believed in it so. [He was a real advocate for planning roadways for use by all vehicles, motorized and not, even those not usually considered, and he made comments to proposed highway changes that included the needs of inline skaters in the whole scheme.] Regarding "shared space", in a post here... http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NewMobilityCafe/message/2734 He refers to these... http://newmobilityagenda.blogspot.com/2009/02/message-from-united-kingdo... "The redesign of Kensington High Street in London, which incorporated shared space concepts, resulted in the number of casualties being reduced by 47%;" http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/a-sign-of-the-times-1081988.... Also see... http://www.shared-space.org/ Check out Bruce's homepage links, and make sure you see the car lane image he liked enough to put at the top... http://brucewr.home.mindspring.com/ec/links.html Regarding how roads are designed elsewhere, I was just reading this yesterday afternoon... http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/32/28/32_28_amst_bikes.html It's about how Amsterdam is such a bicycling friendly city. One part I enjoyed was the part that people are afraid to have an accident with a bicyclist there. Check it out.
skatey-mark's picture

Memorial Ride?

Is there any news on a memorial ride for Bruce? I can't seem to find anything... I worked with Bruce a long time ago, long before I knew him as a cyclist. It was a neat surprise when I saw him at a cycling event (me on my skates of course.) Bruce was a really, really good guy. I'm sad he's not with us any more. He will be missed. - SM -
roadskater's picture

No word on a Bruce Rosar Ride at this point

I haven't heard anything. Please let me know if you guys hear something. I feel certain one of us will hear something. I don't know if it'll be this coming week or later.
skatey-mark's picture

Bruce Rosar to be honored this Sunday at the NCBC skride

From the NCATA email list: I will post more later, on break from work right now. We will honor Bruce with some words before our rally begins, and wear black armbands and ride and skate in his honor. Please bring squeaky horn if you have one. NC Bicycle Club Summer Rally details at www.ncbikeclub.org That's this Sunday in Apex. I've done this skride in the past and it's a good one. Anyone want to do the 40 or 60 mile route? - SM -
roadskater's picture

Squeaky Toy I Think

Thanks, Mark. We MAY be able to make that on Sunday, but as you know, you never know until you're actually there. I'm not sure if eebee is to be in NC this weekend or not. I think the rally costs $20. Oh I think I read somewhere that they want you to bring a squeaky toy if you have one, as Bruce would sometimes use this as a horn and chuckle-generator. Not sure where I got that...I think via eebee from some reading she had done. Skaters were specifically welcomed and it sounds like the 20- and 40-miler are less hilly than the 60, so we might do the 40. OR MAYBE it'd be better to do the shortest one and spend more time with the cyclists afterward, since they will be, by definition, largely folk who at least respect Bruce's way of thinking about multi-modal people-powered travel. On another note regarding the weekend, this week's Tour to Tanglewood training ride on Saturday is at Ken's in Winston-Salem, which is a technically challenging one, but one we usually do, since we like the people and so much of the course. There are lots of good things about that ride, too, so don't let my description stop anyone. As usual, it's uncertain for me, but my brake is ready to go just in case!

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