Woman killed on bicycle in Savannah crash

| 02/10/2015 | 51 Comments

Cayman News Service

(CNS): UPDATED 3:30pm –  Cayman’s roads have claimed their tenth victim of the year following the death of Rhonda Marie Ebanks-Azan on Friday evening at around 6:45pm in a crash close to Savannah Primary School. A 54-year-old man who was driving a Ford  F250 truck, which hit the 61-year-old cyclist, has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving.

Shamrock Road was closed through the night from Countryside Shopping Centre to Spotts-Newlands Road as accident investigators worked at the scene of the fatal crash.  A spokesperson for the RCIPS said the truck was travelling east when it hit Ebanks-Azan as she cycled towards George Town on her bike near Matilda Drive. She and the truck driver were both taken to hospital, where Ebanks-Azan died.

The driver was treated and released before he was arrested.

Police are asking people who saw the accident or who have any information to contact the George Town Police Station on 949 4222.

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Category: Police

Comments (51)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I was there when this happened. It was about 6:30 or minutes to 7. It was fairly dark and the cyclists was literally in the middle of the road, she had no lights or reflectors on, even worse it was a corner just below the preschool in Savannah. I believe the driver was a pastor or someone in the church and he got of of his truck as soon as he hit her and tried to revive her via CPR. My sister relieved him because he just broke down. She did chest compressions until the ambulance came. During chest compressions the victim’s heart came back twice briefly and rapidly. By time the ambulance came she was gone.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Really 6:32?
    This need for bike lights and other common sense road laws were removed years ago. By which genius i dont know.
    Now no lights reflectors, bike licences or safety is enforced on our roads.
    Too much work for some i guess.

    …..”A law should be passed that ALL BIKES should have lights and reflectors once it is getting dark”

  3. Anonymous says:

    Even is those few areas where there are bicycle lanes, properly marked up, like next to Foster’s Strand – drivers use it as parking space. In normal jurisdictions it is illegal to park on bicycle lane (which is reasonable, because it is made for cyclists and if they are forced to jump in and out of traffic because of some “not very intelligent” people who park there, it gets even more dangerous).

    Even if parking is allowed on the road (which is not the case with Foster’s Strand road) you still must park NEXT TO bicycle lane, not ON the bicycle lane.

    So you might cover the whole island with allocated bicycle lanes but there always will be some moron who parks there – and here you have again cyclist suddenly merging into traffic.

  4. Lance Armstrong says:

    “Both runners and cyclists who take up sometimes one full lane of traffic have to be made just as accountable…”

    This statement reflects part of the problem.

    First, as others have noted, we do not know the particulars of this incident.

    HOWEVER, there are many stretches of road where there is insufficient space for cyclists to keep all the way to the left and to maintain safe passing distance for cars. Also, there are stretches of road where the extreme left side is potholed, deteriorated or full of debris.

    In those areas, it is safer for the cyclist to take the lane, and for cars behind to slow down to wait for a place where there is safe passing distance. A few moments of anyone’s day is a very small price to pay for everyone to safely get where they are going.

    Improving the cycling infrastructure in Cayman should be a priority. If Cayman wants to attract Oasis class cruisers, there are not going to be 5,000 visitors in a day disgorging from those ships to Stingray City, the Turtle Farm, or the same types of shops and restaurants they can find in greater variety and abundance at any other cruise port. The fact that Grand Cayman is pancake flat, and nobody is getting off of the boat for mountain or river tours, is an overlooked and under-exploited asset relative to other cruise destinations. Bicycle tourists spread out, get hungry and thirsty, and are typically looking for something beyond the purpose-built tourist businesses. Given the shipboard amusements, cycling offers an experience that can’t be duplicated onboard.

    • See hear now. says:

      I do not need to know the particulars of this incident to state categorically that cyclists and runners who obstruct vehicular traffic by riding side by side are a big part of the problem. If a cyclist is riding single file and has to be on the road that is one thing and fully acceptable. What I clearly stated was people riding two and three abreast. It creates a bad situation for oncoming vehicular traffic. It is these cyclists who make an already frustrated pool of both good and bad drivers have to deal with an even more dangerous situation and that lays squarely on the heads of the assholes on bicycles who do so. It is fully understandable if a cyclist has to be on the road due to no other choice, the problem is those who ride two and three abreast. As for your tripe about cruise ship passengers I will leave that to the ether. As for you and your moniker, you may now take the time to consume your “performance enhancing drugs”, have a coke and a smile and do what Richard Pryor told Bill Cosby to do a while back. May the woman who lost her life rest in peace. It is you and your mentality which is a part of the problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        The reason they do this is so you can see them and have to slow down, as they are all sick and tired of not being seen and forced off the road, or trying avoiding vehicles who drive in the lane or so close you can see the rotten cabbage on their teeth.

      • Bored in bed Caymanian says:

        She was a single cyclist – so your comment about “cyclists riding side by side” is irrelevant. She always rode by herself.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you. I have noticed the further I try to move to the side while jogging the closer the cars try to squeeze past me at a fairly high speed. I don’t know anymore what the correct way is for pedestrians, joggers and cycles to avoid being hit hmbut the driving in Cayman is beyond acceptable and the dismantling of the RCIP traffic unit hasn’t helped. Cayman’s roads have become lawless as everyone drives as they please. It is easy to spot approx 10 traffic violations a day just on the way to work.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Having seen this awful news from Friday, and the comments about crazy driving, you might think people would pay some attention. No such luck. Out on my bike on the ETH this morning, three cars, one after the other driving in the safety lane and the look of surprise on their faces to see a brightly illuminated bike rider doing his thing. Don’t drive in the sodding safety lane you death wielding w*****s!! It wasn’t designed for you to drive in it! It’s why it’s called a safety lane!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Coincidentally, Rhonda’s husband was also killed in a fatal car accident back in the late 80’s or early 90’s when his corvette crashed into a utility pole in Lower Valley. The passenger (Rhonda’s bother or cousin) lost his leg in the crash.

    It’s absolute madness that Baines disbanded the Traffic Dept to help fight out of control crime and now both crime and traffic enforcement are in the same sinking boat.

    We clearly told all of you older officers that are still in the RCIPS and those who recently left in the last few years; (having seen the light finally) back in 2005 that the new UK policing strategy would fail the Cayman Islands and so it did. It didn’t take 10 years neither, it starting happening just 2 -3 years later in 2007/8 when all hell broke loose with the gangs.

    Aaaahhhh so much for those who were told that they couldn’t embrace modern policing from the UK; that choose wisely to abandon
    the ship that was obviously heading directly into the storm.

    So today, who was right and who was wrong in their prediction of what policing would become in the Cayman Islands ?

    Wise men knows better not to build their house upon the sand, others are Very Stupid and Foolish !!

    Condolences to Rhonda’s family.

    • Anonymous says:

      Whatever policing model is followed, I suspect that there would still be a vast amount of uncontrollable idiots on the roads. The Island seems to breed mentality and selfishness.
      Despite this, it did give you a sideways opportunity to get your anti UK xenophobic agenda in.

  7. Anonymous says:

    All of you are reaching conclusions without knowing the real facts and it is very easy to blame the driver instead of the woman on the bicicle, the problem here is that this is ugly for both sides, for the family that lost a loved one and also for the drivers family that also have to endure tremendous pain.
    We need to see the facts first, was she wearing the proper night closes, was the bicicle properly light up with strobe lights etc. She was on the wrong side of the road that is a agravant and as far as I have seen so far, I have encounter many people rinding their bicicles in the night and on the wrong side with no lights as well.. Can I be the next victm here?
    The problem here is that, this can happen to anyone of us and I suppose that no one would like to be judged here without a fair trial, so lets pray that both families are conforted and when facts are fully investigated, then we can make our comments more accurate instead of juding people without full knowledge. That is a sin.
    May God bless both hurting families.

  8. Anonymous. says:

    It is indeed sad that some one was killed and also sad that someone else hit her but we need to wait until this has been investigated and a coroners inquest taken. I did not see this accident happened but I can tell you that this lady while riding was continually swearing in and out. She seemed to always had difficulties keeping her bike steady. It was scary to come upon her on the road and I often wondered if she should have allowed to ride !!

  9. Anonymous says:

    The offending truck was travelling East and this poor lady was travelling towards GT.
    Is this another example of a cyclist travelling into the oncoming traffic instead of with it?
    The law needs enforcing on this point as it should be illegal for cyclists to ride into traffic, as it is in the UK. Too many people are taking their, (and other road users) lives in their hands by dangerous road use.
    I’m truly sad for the loss of this lady, but I’m afraid it will happen again unless this madness is stopped.

  10. See Hear Now says:

    With true and heartfelt condolences to the woman who was killed I think that this has to be said. It is true that Cayman has some of the worst and most obnoxious and careless drivers in the world. Whether they are as Caymanian as a soldier crab or as foreign as pygmy from Timbuktu is inconsequencial. Mini bus drivers are some of the worst ever. Passing by the Wendys in Savannah they are constantly taking up one lane, obstructing traffic and trying to bully their way back in constantly creating the scenario for an accident all day and every day. That is one of thousands of examples I could give and like I have posted before, one of these days someone is going to push one of these assholes off of the road, pull them from their vehicle and beat them within an inch of their life or worse. The police do nothing about their dangerous and selfish practices and I know that a lot of peaceful people have thought about doing it out of sheer disgust and exasperation. Cyclists who ride two and three abreast obstructing traffic should be taken to task and browbeaten into submission by their fellow cyclists because they add to the frustration of all drivers, good and bad, and it is disrespectful to everyone else. We all have a part to play in making our roads safer. Both runners and cyclists who take up sometimes one full lane of traffic have to be made just as accountable as those behind the wheel of a car who do not deserve to be piloting a tricycle. May the woman who lost her life rest in peace and may we all become more respectful of each other. I give a wide berth to all cyclists and runners and will continue to do so.

  11. AGS says:

    What is amazing to me is that everyone is so eager to jump on the driver of the truck without knowing the full facts. I am deeply saddened by Rhonda’s death and by no means is trying to justify anything. I am just reading the article above and asking questions objectively.

    It states that the driver was headed east but Rhonda was headed west, was she on the wrong side of the road? According to the traffic rules cyclists are supposed to cycle the same flow as vehicles.

    At 6:45pm it is already dark, did her bicycle have a light? Was she in clothing that was properly illuminated and she could clearly be seen?

    Anyone who knows the area where she was killed, there is no cycle lane, there is no sidewalk, in fact there is barely anything between the side/bush and the road.

    A woman has regrettably lost her life but people are already jumping to the conclusion that it was absolutely the driver’s fault. This is very sad on both sides as I am sure the driver and his family are also completely shaken that a life was taken.

    It is a fact that we have some really idiotic drivers here, it is fact that cyclists, walkers, runners have been hit and sometimes killed due to careless/drunk driving but do all these commentators absolutely know what the situation is here at this time?

    If after the investigation, it is revealed that the driver is completely at fault then I can accept that he is in the wrong but without knowing all the facts I am not going to make any wild accusations like some of the other people on here.

    Human nature being what it is, it is always guaranteed that people will take the side of the person who is severely injured or killed and rarely think of the drivers as victims as well UNTIL they or their family member is the person who accidentally hit and killed someone then suddenly they can justify the driver’s actions.

    My condolences to Rhonda’s family. Rest in peace.
    My heart also goes out to the driver because even if he was drunk or careless, it is going to haunt him for the rest of his life that he took a life.

    • Anonymous. says:

      It is going to haunt him for the rest of his life unfortunately but you can rest assured that he was not drunk or careless. He and his family are as much victims as Rhonda and her family. This accident was waiting to happen! sorry!

  12. Road Worrier says:

    I am not aware of any specific safety provisions in the road code/traffic law that require drivers to make any concessions to cyclists. There is no 3ft rule certainly. In fact, all of the rules relating to cyclists are aimed at their own responsibilities while on the road.

    At the very least a vehicle should have to maintain a mandated “safe distance” from any cyclist/walker/runner, notwithstanding the practical difficulties resulting from our dismal road construction and lack of bike lanes/sidewalks/usable shoulders in most areas.

    • Anonymous says:

      Indeed – I was taught by my driving instructor over 40 years ago – cyclists are road users and entitled to use a full lane – they do not have to stick to the edge of the road, particularly as this is sometimes the worst surface for them to ride on. As a car driver approaching a cyclist, assume that they are going to fall off and drive in such a way that you can avoid them if they do – they have no protection and you are driving a large, heavy, lethal object.

      The other side of the coin is that all drivers of slow-moving vehicles (which includes cyclists) should be aware of whether they are causing an obstruction to fellow road users and periodically move over and make way for them.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This is sad on all sides, a life has been lost and an individual now has to deal with the circumstances. May God bless and be with both families.

    I am by no means inferring that this was what happened or caused this tragic accident but all too often, how many persons do you see cycling towards oncoming traffic rather than cycle with the traffic as one is supposed to do. We must share the road yes, but some of these cyclist and runners feel that they OWN the road and that vehicles owe them a favor to allow them free roam on our roads.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It is absolutely shocking that some people seem to have so little value for the lives of others.

    I run and cycle here and follow all the rules…yet still, I am (or am nearly) run off the road everyday. When you drive in the safety lane or the cycle lane, or fail to have the common decency to move over a tiny bit to make space for another human being (particularly when there is no oncoming traffic and loads of space to do so), you are telling me that you think YOUR life is more valuable than mine.

    What on earth is going on here when this is the attitude people have?

    People who are trying to get healthy. People who are trying to exercise. People who are trying to get to where they need to go, because perhaps they can’t afford a car. They’re lives matter more than your “need” to drive like a moron.

    This is one of the most beautiful places on the planet — always sunny, a perfect place to enjoy the outdoors, yet people are too SCARED to use the roads for fear of getting killed. This is unacceptable.

    My sincere condolences to the family of this woman. A truly senseless tragedy.

    • Anonymous says:

      You have no idea what happened in this instance – the driver hasn’t been charged, far less found guilty – so you would be better served keeping your dumb accusations and assumptions to yourself.

      • Anonymous says:

        My heart goes out to Rhonda and her family, but unfortunately and I am not saying this is one of those occurrences, people riding bicycles, walking or jogging, or doing so in the dark in dark clothes WITH NO REFLECTORS!! I myself on South Sound coming home doing the speed limit on a turn, a jogger in dark clothes coming around the turn and they cannot be seen, this also goes for people on bikes. A law should be passed that ALL BIKES should have lights and reflectors once it is getting dark, all joggers and walkers should have some form of reflections stripes on their clothes. Another accident will happen if nothing is done. We cannot blame the driver for no one has stated exactly on what happened.

  15. Running man says:

    I run past ocean club regularly, I run against the traffic of course, the amount of cars overtaking on the inside and near misses I’ve had makes me loose weight with worrying about being hit never mind the exercise,

    It’s a straight road how the hell can you go wrong???????

  16. Anonymous says:

    Everyone is hitting on drivers. What about those cyclists who ride three and four abreast, who indiscriminately weave in and out of traffic, who switch lanes as if they are the only ones on the road? You want to witness careless riding? Drive along South Sound Road early morning,say 5:30 am to 6:00am. My heart goes out to the driver too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Weaving in and out of all that “traffic”at 5:30 am?? You do know that is why people cycle so early right? Because there is no traffic at 5:30-6am. So even if there were to be cyclists riding 3 or 4 abreast (2 abreast is more likely), there would actually be plenty of space to pass them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cyclists don’t run off the road every week and collide with light poles, neither do they get arrested for drunk riding.The standard of driving here is absolutely appalling.

      • Anonymous. says:

        Unfortunately sometimes cyclists do weave in and out of traffic. Sometimes they do cause accidents. Why does everybody on the Rock think they have the monopoly on everything. Everything here has to be shared and enjoyed by every on the rock.. No particular group is perfect. Each one must teach one if we are to survive Here or any other place.

      • Just Driftwood says:

        Sometimes they SHOULD get arrested for drunk riding. Try navigating NW Point road on Friday/Saturday night around all the drunks on cycles. I agree that driving a car here is taking your life in your hands, but if you’re riding a bike in dark clothes and are intoxicated that’s a problem for everyone.

  17. Anonymous says:

    When the facts regarding this incident come out, you will be humbled. You don’t even know what happened and you are way off the mark. Lots of people were there when it happened and they know the facts first hand. Wait and see how this transpired before you go off.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Very sad… My goes out to the family. Sadly, riding a bike here is simply just too dangerous. A close friend has been clipped and hit 7 times, the last a very close call that ended in an ambulance. Bit then when you can get a license from the Brac of a wheeties packet what do we expect?

    • Anonymous says:

      Huh? The Brac???

      • Anonymous says:

        Not my post, but methinks that was autocorrect substituting Brac for back. Try thinking laterally and you will see that the phrase was actually “back of a wheeties packet”

    • Anonymous says:

      If you have a problem with the Brac or trying to get something across to some Bracker, this is not the correct forum for your childish remarks. Grow up.

  19. Runner says:

    And I should add I run on the shoulder and not the road!

  20. Runner says:

    I run everyday and am practically hit everyday so sadly this isn’t a surprise and I feel for the family. Drivers using the shoulder like a third lane out this way is common. Even today on this exact road a driver going East passed me in my car on the oncoming traffic side.

  21. Anonymous says:

    10 road deaths in nine months is unacceptable.

    I come from a county in the UK that covers over 2000 square miles and has a population of over 850,000. It is mainly rural with few dual carriageways and no motorways.

    In the first eight months of 2015 22 people died on the roads there. Although that is a substantial reduction on the 2014 figure (34) the police reaction was to use revenue from fixed penalties like speeding tickets to fund four additional dedicated traffic officers for the Roads Policing Unit.

    Commissioner Baines, there’s a message there – roadblocks and vehicle checks are no substitute for traffic patrols and it’s time you admitted that disbanding the traffic unit was a mistake.

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen to that 9:29, there’s nothing like the sight of a cop in a cruiser to make drivers behave. But this has to be taken further – the test to get a driver’s license here (both for locals and ex-pats!) must be tightened up and it needs to be made much easier for the courts to suspend it. The vehicle inspections should also meet international standards not some ‘make do’ local nonsense.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Sad, RIP. The standard of driving is, as we all know, appalling. I was out on my bike this morning on the ETH in the safety lane, and shouted a few choice words at the idiot in the van who thought the safety lane is for driving in. Can all drivers get that message through their thick skulls? Safety lane is not for driving in. Watch for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians rather than talking to and looking at your passenger. Do not talk or text on your phone, it’s proven to kill people. How many more lives will be lost before these morons understand?

  23. Cho King Often says:

    Once again police CLOSE an entire section of road rather than take their measurements and photos and re-open the roads, INSANITY at it’s height once again!

    • Anonymous says:

      No that’s how you correctly process a crime scene and if RCIPS had done anything else they wouldn’t be doing their job. This now has to go before a coroner and very likely there will be a criminal prosecution – if they screwed that up you’d be complaining wouldn’t you?

    • anon says:

      Once again police trained in accident investigations did what is necessary to attempt to gather sufficient evidence to reconstruct the collision. This is absolutely necessary to be able to determine what charges, if any, are appropriate for the driver of the vehicle.

      As much as the we criticize the police, we would be up in arms all the more if a court threw out charges against a reckless driver due to the police taking shortcuts in their investigation.

      I saw the ambulances going by on the Linford Pierson Highway and by the time I reached the Spotts straight traffic was at a standstill. Sure, i had things to do on a Friday night but a delay in getting on with my plans is of little consequence in those circumstances.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh, did a woman’s death inconvenience your drive home? So sorry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Proper data/evidence is more important than keeping traffic flowing. Sorry.

    • Anon says:

      I can guarantee that photos are circulating already between the few sickos who would rather stand with their 6 month old kids, and ogle at a crash scene, getting in the police way, than have their babies tucked up in bed safe.

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