Truck Hits and Kills Man on Highway

Posted in Blog, Sharing the Road on May 16th, 2013.

Richard Swanson was hit by a truck and killed along the highway 250 miles into his 10,000 mile journey to Brazil…

I hate reading articles like this: Richard Swanson was an inspiration to many. He set a goal to dribble a soccer ball for charity from Seattle, WA to the 2014 World Cup in São Paulo, Brazil and was working to achieve it. There is an ongoing investigation about this highway incident. Based on this article, the driver of the truck is cooperating.

A blue soccer ball

A blue soccer ball. Image used according to license permissions. © 2013 123RF Limited.


Unfortunately, injury and death are real dangers when venturing onto roads or highways on foot or by bike. I train for athletic events by running along the shoulders of many roads and minor highways; I bike on the road with cars, buses, and trucks. I’ve witnessed cars swerve toward me in both situations either on purpose or because of distracted driving. While I adhere to all traffic laws, my safety is never guaranteed. No cyclist or runner’s safety is guaranteed on the road.

I often wonder why the sight of a person or bicycle on the road can cause anger for drivers. What do you do when you see a cyclist, runner, or walker sharing the road? Do you get angry? Do you slow down or speed up to pass them? Do you yell or honk? Why? Ideally, everyone would simply slow down a little and give the individual plenty of room.

Bicyclist in Traffic on Highway

A member of the STS Cycling Team traveling through Biloxi, MS


Deaths like Swanson’s are avoidable. Why do they continue to happen? I think there are multiple problems working together with this issue. Most people believe, “It can’t happen to me.” Most people under-estimate the power of their automobile.

Consider these facts:

— Most cars weight roughly 4000 lbs or more.
— Most adult bicycles weigh roughly 30 lbs.
— Mountain bikes average 13-15 mph (with knobby tires) – depending on rider
— Mountain bikes average 15-18 mph (with slick tires) – depending on rider.
— Road bikes average 18-22 mph – depending on rider.

Motorized vehicles are far heavier and far faster than a bicycle, a runner, or a walker. Any contact from an automobile to a bicycle or pedestrian can be catastrophic and cause severe injury or death.

Woman running on roadway or highway

Woman running on roadway or highway. Image used according to license permissions. © 2013 123RF Limited.


Richard Swanson was someone’s son, husband, father, uncle, and grandfather. This could have happened to anyone, but it doesn’t have too. When you are driving – ONLY drive. The phone call can wait; the text message can wait; the food can wait; the drink can wait. Concentrate on the road and the vehicles around you.


Thank you for reading. Continue Sharing the Road with pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, school buses, and other vehicles!


May is National Bike Month. There may be more cyclists on the road in your area. This is also the start of the National Bike Challenge that runs May – September.


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