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Deceased biker identified in hit-and-run crash in Tower Grove East

Some from the biking community expressed concern about the issue and laid out ideas for safer infrastructure.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis police identified the victim in the hit-and-run crash that killed a biker this week in the Tower Grove East neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon.

Officials confirmed the victim was 47-year-old Danyell McMilller from the 3100 block of Portis.

According to the incident report, the driver of a white Kia Sedan, still on the loose, was speeding northbound on South Grand on Tuesday afternoon. The driver entered the bike lane to go around slower-moving traffic when the car struck McMiller.

The report stated McMiller was thrown from his bike, slid across the roof of a parked car and then into the back of another car.

RELATED: Bicyclist killed in hit-and-run crash near Tower Grove park in South St. Louis

5 On Your Side heard from a few bicyclists who use their bikes as their main form of transportation.

They felt reckless driving had become too common for comfort.

“You stopped me right where he was hit and killed so that gives me a second thought as to my practices biking and also the safety of biking in this area. Actually last week I just saw a couple almost get hit and killed going to the Tower Grove Farmer's Market," said Sophie Jacobs.

Kevin Chestnut, another biker, recalled when bike lanes first formed on Grand.

"I really appreciated that. It felt like finally I have a place on the road. But you still have to deal with the people who are driving," Chestnut said.

He added that drivers' attitudes remained consistent.

"Sometimes I've been told get over on the sidewalk where you belong sort of thing,” Chestnut said.

According to the St. Louis Police Department, 112 crashes have been reported along Grand from Potomac to Shenandoah Avenue since January 2022. One involved a cyclist and four involved pedestrians. Two involved deaths and 34 involved someone getting hurt.

Bikers and educators have a few ideas of their own, like speed reduction and lane structure to further protection.

"With the center turn lane gone, there will be room to create a bike lane and a door zone buffer. The problem with many bike lanes is they put cyclists unknowingly in the door zone," said Karen Karabell, an instructor with the American Bicycling Education Association.

"Like highway spikes, that kind of really make it visible that this is a bike lane and that's a car lane," Jacobs added.

The Tower Grove East Neighborhood Association sent us the following statement:

Since the completion of the approved 2020 Traffic Study within Tower Grove East, the Tower Grove East Neighborhood Association (TGENA) has consistently pushed for more speed enforcement and traffic calming measures, but has received little support from City Hall. Specifically, a formal request to the Mayor’s office for dialogue and action after a fatal hit-and-run on South Grand in July of this year has not been acknowledged or responded to for almost two months. Additionally, although we have received assistance from our Alderwomen in advocating for the installation of new traffic calming features (speed humps, signage, bump-outs, etc.), these efforts have been hampered by unnecessary bureaucracy and a lack of cooperation between relevant city departments. The TGENA recognizes that traffic safety has been a longtime issue plaguing our neighborhood and not just the recent result of the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore it requires long-term cooperation of multiple city departments and both personnel and fiscal resources. We will continue advocating for support and reminding our residents to “slow, stop, look and listen” on our streets, but we are also hopeful that the Mayor’s office will see the benefit of making our neighborhood safer for all in Tower Grove East, and the office will take the necessary actions to prevent another traffic fatality.

Mayor Tishaura Jones put out the following response to the crash:

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, cities across the country have seen a spike in traffic violence, and today's tragic hit-and-run on South Grand is a reminder that St. Louis is no exception. City departments continue to review potential solutions to make our streets safer no matter how St. Louisans choose to get around.”

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