Dave Schlabowske
Bike Czar

Second Fatal Crash On Sheboygan Highway

Two people have now been killed at that location. Paving the road's shoulders could help make it much safer.

By , Bike Federation of Wisconsin - Mar 27th, 2015 11:42 am
No paved shoulders on a curve.

No paved shoulders on a curve.

The Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department released the name of the second person killed riding a bicycle in two years on County A, just north of State Road 28. Colton King, 22, of Sheboygan, was traveling north on County Road A just north of State Road 28 around 6:30 a.m. when he was hit by a northbound pickup truck. Flight for Life took King to St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, but he died Monday afternoon as a result of his injuries.

Colton King

Colton King

King was a UW-Milwaukee student majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Physics, and was bicycling to work at the nearby Kohler Company where he was in their Cast Iron Co-op,  an internship with credit toward graduation and experience in the field of engineering. He also was an active member of the UWM Student Chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

Sadly, this is the second fatal crash at that location involving a person on a bicycle that I have had to report about. In 2013, I reported in this post that Allen Redensek, 55, of Sheboygan, was killed riding in almost the exact same spot. While the point of that post was to emphasize that fatal crashes are very rare and bicycling in very safe in general, clearly two fatal crashes in the same spot means people should take extra caution or even consider not riding on this section of road.

Traffic safety depends on good engineering, educated road users, enforcement of laws and encouragement efforts to get people to share the road with other users. In this situation, the Bike Fed has already contacted the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Sheboygan County to advocate that they pave the shoulders on County Road A. I am happy to report the Sheboygan is already looking into this:

Good Afternoon,

I share your concern with these tragic events. We are currently gathering data and are looking into our options, the HSIP funds being one option, or funding the project locally the other option. I’m sure you are well aware of the time that is associated with obtaining these HSIP funds, we may be better off from a timing standpoint to fund it locally. I can tell you that our scope of future work on CTH A will include paved shoulders, whether the shoulders are added to the existing pavement or if we pulverize the current pavement, re-grade, and pave a consistent cross section.

On the educational portion on your email, I am the wrong person to be talking to; however I do feel our community could benefit from the Share & Be Aware program. In speaking with Planning Director, Aaron Brault and Emily Vetting from his department, I would recommend you contact Aaron; I have copied him in on this email for your information.

Thank you,

Greg Schnell

Transportation Director
Sheboygan County Transportation Department

The Bike Fed has also offered to work with Sheboygan County and local law enforcement to do additional safety education and provide safety materials to address the education and encouragement — the “Es” that are part of every transportation safety equation. The crash is still under investigation, so we cannot comment on other aspects of this tragedy, but we will keep our members updated on progress as we have more information. We got a quick response back from Brault, Sheboygan County Director of Planning & Conservation. He is open to our offer to help. He also noted Sheboygan’s bicycle crash rate has been falling over the last decade, like crash rates across Wisconsin. Finally, Mr. Brault reaffirmed Sheboygan County’s policy to add paved shoulders when roads are reconstructed, which is great for bicycling, but also dramatically extends road life.

Of course that is of little comfort to those touched by the terrible death of Colton King, but it is good to get a helpful response back from Sheboygan County leadership.

Good to see the crash rate is going down in Sheboygan, as it is across Wisconssin.

Good to see the crash rate is going down in Sheboygan, as it is across Wisconssin.

In the meantime, remember bicycling remains a very safe thing to do, maybe even safer than driving if you factor in the health benefits. That said, we can all do our part to make our roads even safer by obeying all rules of the road no matter if we are walking, bicycling or behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. When we are in a motor vehicle, we should all pay full attention to the act of driving and take extra care when we are sharing the road with more vulnerable users, like people on foot or on a bicycle.

Please keep Colton, his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

This article was originally published by the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.

Categories: Bike Czar

9 thoughts on “Bike Czar: Second Fatal Crash On Sheboygan Highway”

  1. Dave says:

    Looks like a road with good visibility and not designed for high speeds. What’s the drivers excuse?

  2. Gary says:

    Was it another ticket for “inattentive driving”?

  3. Gary, The crash is still under investigation, but no citations were issued at the scene from what I can tell from the crash report. Charges are sometimes brought after the crash investigation is completed.

  4. Dave says:

    Charges sometimes brought? More like next to never.

  5. Dave, I sympathize with how you feel, but that is not entirely true. We have had two fatal crashes involving a person on a bicycle this year, and the driver in the first crash was charged, as I reported here. Perhaps charges will be filed in this case.

    I agree that there are plenty of instances when people are not charged, but it is happening more and more. Part of that is the result of Bike Fed trainings with law enforcement agencies, part of it is advocacy efforts. We do have a ways to go yet, but things are improving.

  6. Dave says:

    I hope so, Dave, but I’ve been pretty cynical since the deaths of a number of cyclists (particularly, one in July of 2009) that clearly warranted some legal action resulted in nothing from either law enforcement or DAs. Worse, it seemed in many cases, the general public and sometimes investigating agencies wrongfully placed blame on the cyclist. I still see it today in every single piece that is posted regarding motorists’ attitudes towards cyclists.

    Hopefully, due to the work of the Bike Fed and others, law enforcement agencies will treat these “accidents” more seriously and eventually the public will learn that they do not have a god given right to own the road with their 2 ton vehicles and must share them with everyone and maintain control of their cars at all time.

  7. Ali Montgomery says:

    Ideally paving the shoulders of the narrow county highways would be great long term solution. That would be all the county highways though, not just the ones that people have all ready been killed on. Unfortunately it seems that once the shoulders have been paved the county crews come back around and put rumble strips on them making them unusable for bikes. While the roads become much safer for snoozing drivers the rest of us not so much.

  8. Certainly we agree about paved shoulders, that is what our Complete Streets legislation helps insure. There are some locations where paved shoulders don’t fit or there really is no need, the current law allows for those exceptions. The relatively small additional cost is offset by how much they extend road life. The Wisconsin Bike Fed has worked with WisDOT so that modern rumble strips are bicycle friendly. They are narrower, recessed rather than raised, and have gaps. Should rumble strips can dramatically reduce motor vehicle crashes, so we need to strike a balance and use them where they are needed.

  9. Tim says:

    Anyone see the article below? This could really help to educate drivers on their responsibilities:


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