Bicyclist fatally struck by van in Minneapolis; DWI suspected

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Minneapolis police arrested the driver of a van Monday night after the vehicle struck and killed a 26-year-old bicyclist.

Police said the accident happened just before 10 p.m. near Franklin Avenue and Garfield Avenue. A 49-year-old driver was arrested and alcohol is suspected in the crash, FOX 9 reported.

The driver showed signs of being impaired, a police spokesman said, and he was jailed without bail on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide, the Star Tribune reports.

Minneapolis Fire Department used extrication equipment to lift the van off the victim, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, KARE 11 reported.

It was initially reported that the van went onto the sidewalk and hit the cyclist, but investigators now believe the van hit the cyclist riding in the street and then drove up onto the sidewalk, pinning the cyclist under the van, MPR News reports.

The bicyclist had a helmet and front and rear lights, police said.

Photos of the scene from FOX 9:

In 2012, seven bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in the state, and there were five fatalities in 2011, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety reported.

The number of regular bicycle commuters in Minneapolis doubled over the past two decades, while the number of reported crashes remained relatively steady, city officials reported last year.

The number of bikes on Minneapolis streets has increased by 50 percent in just the last six years, MPR News reported.

A January 2013 report aimed at reducing vehicle-bike crashes noted that an average of 270 bicyclist-motorist crashes occur annually in Minneapolis, which is down from an average of 320 from 1993-1999.

Minneapolis is routinely ranked among the best cities for cyclists.

Minneapolis has about 6,000 bike commuters, some of whom have advocated for a downtown bike center, complete with showers and lockers, to draw more interest, Finance and Commerce reported.

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