Whitefish bicyclist dies after being hit by car


KALISPELL, Mont. - New details are emerging about a deadly bike accident that happened in Whitefish Thursday night.

Police say 28-year-old Jared Kinney was hit by a car at the intersection of Edgewood and Wisconson.

Kinney was trapped under an SUV and resuce crews had to use airbags to lift the car high enough to extract the victim.

NBC Montana found out Kinney had just moved to Whitefish recently from New York. Friday would have marked one month of his working at Big Mountain Resort in the lifts department.

Friends and family members have been posting on Kinney's Facebook page saying he loved to laugh and make people smile.

"We're shocked and saddened by the news. Jared was very excited to be here and looking forward to working here [at Big Mountain Resort] in the winter," said Riley Polumbus, from Whitefish Mountain Resort.

NBC Montana went to the intersection where the accident happened and, within minutes, people told us about how dangerous it is.

It's a popular place to bike, but it's a place where accidents are likely to happen. Three different bike paths meet at the intersection. Bikers have to cross the street in order to continue on the next bike path.

"There's three trails that are coming together and then you have bicycle and pedestrian traffic coming over the viaduct on the sidewalk and on the roadway," Ron Brunk said.

Brunk owns Glacier Cyclery in Whitefish. He's ridden through that intersection hundreds of times and never saw it to be dangerous. But NBC Montana found it to be quite the opposite.

It's an intersection that people take to get to the resort and there's a turnoff for people to go to Whitefish Lake. It's heavily populated with bikers.

Most cars turning don't have to stop because they have a flashing yellow arrow. Residents told NBC Montana they think the arrows are what causes the accidents because traffic flows faster and cars don't have to stop.

However, those arrows are new. The Montana Department of Transportation implemented the flashing yellow arrows at this specific intersection last year. They thought it would be a safer and more efficient way to have cars turn left.

Residents say more people are worried about what a flashing yellow means, rather than paying attention to bikers in their path.

Despite all of this, its not just the intersection that's a problem. NBC Montana found out the victim made some mistakes.

Officials say he was riding against traffic, which Brunk says was his first problem.

"The biggest thing about bike safety, whether it be day or night, is just being on the proper side of the road, on the right hand side of the road, riding and behaving as a car would," Brunk said.

Brunk also says the hardest thing about biking at night is being seen. Whitefish Police confirm Kinney did not have any headlights or taillights on his bike.

"I think the key thing in bike safety is you need to be visible," Brunk said.

The Montana Highway Patrol conducted a forensic investigation of the crash. Those results will determine whether any charges will be filed against the woman who was driving.