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Female cyclist dies after being struck by tour bus

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A mangled bicycle was lodged under a Roberts Hawaii tour bus yesterday after a woman riding it was struck by the bus at the intersection of Waiakamilo Road and Dillingham Boulevard.

A cyclist was killed when her bicycle was struck by a tour bus at a busy Kalihi intersection yesterday.

Both the bicycle and the Roberts Hawaii bus were traveling town-bound on Dillingham Boulevard at about 3:57 p.m. But when the bus turned right at Waiakamilo Road, it struck the bicyclist, who had continued to go straight in the crosswalk, witnesses said.

The woman was treated by paramedics at the scene and then taken to a trauma center in critical condition where she was pronounced dead, said Bryan Cheplic, a spokesman for the city Department of Emergency Services.

Hours after the crash, the bike remained lodged under the rear carriage of the bus.

Police did not give the victim’s identity but said she was 21.

The makai-bound lanes of Waiakamilo were shut down between Dillingham and Colburn Street for several hours as police investigated the scene.

Thomas Wong, owner of The T-shirt Store a block away, said the Dillingham-Waiakamilo intersection is the scene of many traffic accidents. "They don’t have left-turn signals so it’s scary," Wong said.

The driver, an 18-year veteran of the company, was driving the otherwise empty bus to Waikiki to pick up passengers when the accident happened, said company spokesman Wally Zimmermann.

The driver is being taken off the road until a police investigation is completed, under normal company policy. He was taken to a facility for drug testing, which is also company policy, Zimmermann said.

There did not appear to be any use of drugs or alcohol, although results should take a few days, he said.

It’s the third fatality in about 15 months involving a bus from Roberts Hawaii, the state’s largest transportation company.

Zimmermann said there are more than 800 company vehicles on the road every day, and that the drivers have to navigate crowded roads.

"It’s a difficult traffic situation," he said. "Their drivers are well trained, and their equipment is in good shape, and they are obeying the rules of the road."

In February, a 67-year-old Honolulu woman was hit and dragged several feet by a Roberts Hawaii school bus on University Avenue at Kapiolani Boulevard.

On June 8, 2009, a Roberts Hawaii school bus hit a 54-year-old woman in a marked crosswalk while making a left onto North School Street at Gulick Avenue.


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