Brad Minch
New York City, 23.Nov.1975 - 12.Jan.1999
killed by illegal oversize truck on the job

Brad Minch was/is my best friend and I ... thought that I'd let you know that Brad was born on November 23, 1975. Also attached is a picture of him taken in 1998.

Brad was a remarkable person and the brother to me that I never had biologically. I've heard before that true friends are one person in two bodies and I truly feel that this is the case between him and I. He is the reason that I started cycling and now race -- something that he always talked about doing.

Anyway just wanted to contribute the info and say thanks for remembering. . .

Jason Parkin

A tragic end to a spirited life
(17 Jan 99)
Cleveland Live

The first to get the news about Brad - Tuesday night, about six hours later - was Jason Parkin, his best friend since high school. There's been an accident, the New York City police detective explained. How bad? Not good. He didn't make it.

"Are you telling me he's dead?" Jason demanded, realizing instantly it was a stupid question but one he felt compelled to ask anyway. He just had to hear the terrible answer directly.

"Yeah," the detective said. "I'm sorry."

No one is sure exactly what happened to cause 23-year-old Bradley M. Minch to fall beneath the wheels of a truck on busy Sixth Ave. while making a delivery in his job as a bike messenger. He was an excellent rider, experienced in Manhattan traffic - not one to take foolish chances, other messengers say. Maybe he was pinched by a vehicle changing lanes without warning. Who knows?

More than 100 messengers and other bike riders briefly stopped traffic at the scene of the accident Friday afternoon in a combined memorial for Brad and protest against what they consider the city's lack of concern for the safety of bicyclists.

But whatever the circumstances of the accident, the result was the loss of a young life just beginning to realize its promise.

Both Jason and Brad's father, Paul Minch of Avon Lake, used the same phrase to describe the 1994 Lakewood High School graduate: a free spirit. After a brief stab at college, he saved his money, bought a car, and in the time-honored American manner, hit the road to find himself.

"He wasn't sure what he wanted to do, and he didn't want to waste his time in school," said Jason, an interactive-media designer for a New York firm. "He didn't want to be one of these people who majors in psychology and ends up getting a job in investment banking."

In Los Angeles, he met and fell in love with Shaula Bellour, a college student who joined in his travels after she graduated. The two visited Vancouver, spent a winter working at a Colorado ski resort, and in 1996 moved to New York, where Shaula had taken a job with a nonprofit group fighting hunger.
Bike messengering suited Brad just fine. "He always believed life was too short to work away," Jason said. "He thought you should work to live, not live to work."

Paul Minch never saw his son healthier or happier than when he was home for Christmas. Shaula was going to England for a year to continue her studies, and during the separation, Brad was moving to Costa Rica to work with an environmental group on rain forest issues, a job combining travel, his love of nature and his concern for his fellow man.

The change from the rebel who had left home a few years ago was remarkable, the elder Minch thought.
"New York is a city that has such a hard, cold reputation, but Brad actually seemed to become a warmer, more compassionate person there," Minch said.

Or perhaps the change came earlier, during Brad's long road trip. He saw some beautiful sights, "and I think that kind of helped him find something within himself," his father said.

It wasn't always easy, trying to raise a free spirit. It never is. Paul Minch describes himself as "more corporate-driven and responsible" than his son could ever be. That led to conflicts, especially during the difficult middle-teen years.

Eventually, though, "We came to understand each other's position and respect it."

He never could have taken the path Brad chose. It's just not in his makeup to be a free spirit. Even so, Paul Minch is not convinced his son didn't have the right idea all along.

"I didn't have the fun Brad had," he said. "Or see the things he did."

Bicyclist Killed By Oversize Truck at 6th Ave. and 30th St.
Crash Kills Bike Messenger
(13 Jan 99)
by Susan Boyle, Transportation Alternatives

At approximately 3:30 PM, Tuesday January 12, 1999 bicyclist Brad Minch was struck and killed by and oversized, 18 wheel, tractor trailer truck at the intersection of 6th Avenue and 30th Street.
Brad Minch, age 20, worked as bicycle messenger for the Click Modeling Agency for the last year and a half after moving to New York City from Cleveland. Company management considered him to be a highly skilled and experienced cyclist.

Minch was struck by a tractor trailer hauling freight for the Aulenbak Company of New Jersey. Measurements performed at the scene by Transportation Alternatives (with a measuring wheel calibrated to tenths of feet) found that the tractor trailer combination was approximately 60 feet long. New York City law prohibits tractor trailer combinations exceeding 55 feet. It is not known if the size of the truck contributed to the crash. However, it is known that larger trucks take longer to brake and have larger blind spots in which the driver cannot observe pedestrians and bicyclists.

"How many bicyclists and pedestrian will be killed before New York City starts enforcing its own 55-foot truck law. Transportation Alternatives calls on the Police Department to enforce the monster truck laws and for the City Council to conduct an oversight hearing on why the law is not being enforced. Only a handful of officers perform truck enforcement while monster trucks are taking over city streets." Said Susan Boyle, Bicycle Program Coordinator for Transportation Alternatives, a bicycle advocacy group.


An August 1998 Survey performed by Transportation Alternatives found that 28% of tractor trailers selected at random in Midtown Manhattan exceeded the 55 foot length limit. In April 1997, Jill Solomon, age 29, was killed at the Manhattan side of Queensboro Bridge by an oversize tractor trailer whose driver turned into her path. The driver later told police that he did not see Solomon despite her reflective vest.

Growth in Bicycling and Oversize Trucks a Dangerous Combination Based on NYC Department of Transportation data, Transportation Alternatives estimates that there are approximately 105,000 everyday bicyclists on city streets. Approximately 6000 are thought to be bicycle messengers and 10,000 food delivery bicyclists. In 1998, 16 bicyclists were killed by cars and trucks compared with 22 in 1997. It is not known how many of these cyclists were killed by trucks because neither the police nor the Department of Transportation have collected this information.

January 12, 2000 marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of bicycle messenger Brad Minch. He was killed in action while riding uptown on 6th Avenue. I don't know the exact details of his passing, but I do remember having heard that he was dragged from 29th St. to 30 St. and crushed by the tractor-trailer that he had fallen under.

The word "accident" falls tremendously short of describing this incident. However, because there's nothing to indicate that Brad's death was the result of malicious intent, that is the term that we in the cycling community are forced to use to describe what happened. I do know that I wouldn't wish such a fate on my worst enemy, and that my prayers go out not only to Brad, but to the driver who has to live knowing that he had some part in the death of an innocent young man. That's another horror I could never wish upon anyone.

I never got to know to Brad too well, though there were a few times that I had the pleasure of sharing a bench with him while hanging out after work in Tompkins Square Park. I remember him being a mellow guy who was easy to talk to, and who wasn't afraid to smile.

I know a few people who were pretty close to Brad, and I know that they miss him. Sadly, this year we let the anniversary of his death pass us without a memorial ride or candle-lighting. At press time it may be too late for an organized memorial to be appropriate, but I encourage those who read this, whether you know Brad or not, to give a small prayer for him. When you do, try not to forget all the other fallen cyclists or those who are still living, including yourself.

Sleep well, Brad. Ride safe.

from Urban Death Maze #6,
published by the NYBMA