Bicyclist killed in head-on with big rig

A bicyclist was killed Tuesday after he rode the wrong way on Briggsmore Avenue and reportedly swerved into the path of an oncoming big rig west of McHenry Avenue in Modesto, police said.

The 41-year-old Modesto man was taken by ambulance to Memorial Medical Center, where he died of his massive injuries, said Sgt. Craig Gundlach, a Modesto police spokesman.

The bicyclist was not carrying identification. As of Tuesday night, police had not confirmed his identity.

The collision occurred about 12:30 p.m. on a westbound lane of Briggsmore near Joaquin Street.

Erminio Urias, 57, of Lodi was driving the big rig loaded with cans of pizza sauce west in the right lane. Police said the bicyclist was traveling east in the same lane.

The big rig driver tried to avoid the bicyclist, said police Sgt. Danny Key, a member of the police Traffic Unit. Police said Urias moved his big rig to the far side of the left lane, but the bicyclist continued to move farther into his path.

The truck hit the bicyclist head-on and ran over him.

The man was not wearing a helmet when medical responders got to the scene. Police investigators couldn't find one later, but they said it could have fallen off.

Traffic on westbound Briggsmore was diverted onto side streets while emergency responders treated the bicyclist and police investigated the crash. Police opened one lane of traffic about 3 p.m.

Briggsmore's heavy, fast-moving traffic makes it a poor choice for bicyclists, Key said.

"If you're going to ride your bike on this street," Key said, "we'd ask you not to."

Police investigators had not determined what caused the bicyclist to swerve into oncoming traffic.

Bee staff writer Eve Hightower can be reached at 578-2382 or ehightower@modbee.com.