Cyclist killed on Harts Run Rd.
Hey, the Audobon Society’s Beechwood Farms Nature Reserves’ property looks like it extends to Harts Run RD probably very close to where the accident took place. Maybe they would host the sign or ghost bike on their propery there. see link below for a map showing their property
How does a biker get run over from behind and killed? I don’t care where they were riding in the road, this is totally outrageous. This guy didn’t have a chance and did nothing wrong. The cycling community needs to rise up and take action for the sake and well being of all cyclists. Not citing the driver with any type of traffic violation is a crime and just mindboggling. The only way motorists WILL start to take responsibility and look out for cyclists is if there are consequences for their actions. It seems all bike accidents are just written off as the biker did something wrong, they should not have been there in the first place, or the driver didn’t see them. It’s never the drivers fault, why is not seeing them a legitimate excuse. So if I hit another car I’ll guess I’ll just claim I didn’t see them and everything should be fine. How many times have you been riding on a ½ mile straight flat stretch of road with no car coming the other way and a car passes you 6in off your elbow…
@stu:+1. Coulda been me. Feel terrible for that family.
From May 28 2010 Post-Gazette: “Indiana Twp. Police said Mr. Parker’s bicycle was on the edge of the travel lane, not on the berm, when the accident occured.”
Many of you know the laws better than me, but he had a right to the lane (let alone the “edge,” right? It is inherently biased for the Police and then the Post-Gazette to characterize it this way-as if he was “in the way” of the vehicle.
I had one more comment to make, with all bike fatalities the dead rider isn’t here to tell their story, someone needs to defend/speak for them….
Just now, awesome;
You must have been channeling our AM production meeting. I was assigned this very follow-up and have plans to contact “Bike Pittsburgh.” Having spent a lot of time in Europe – they are so much more savvy about cycling and watching out for each other.
Don Parker sounded like a wonderful guy…
I’m not one to advocate lawsuits – but that’s what needs to happen in these kinds of cases. As with most things in our society, follow the money to get something done. More and bigger lawsuits resulting from cyclists injured or killed -> more insurance companies having to pay out -> more pressure on lawmakers to increase penalties for hitting cyclists (or simply to enforce the laws that are there, and REALLY treat cyclists as legitimate vehicles).
Of course public outcry can’t hurt. A ghost bike is an excellent idea – most people out here have never seen one.
It’s not up on the website yet, but Bicycle Times #6 has an article about why drivers who injure/kill cyclists are usually not charged or even cited – “Incivility: How Lawyers and Legislators De-Valued Your Life.” Essentially, the courts have let it remain a civil matter rather than criminal. Of course, this means that survivors without the means to hire lawyers won’t have the same chance at “justice.”
I’m starting to feel like collisions involving cyclists are looked at as collateral damage, a necessary evil in maintaining the status quo of car-centric culture.
i agree, and although it hurts a hell of a lot more when it’s a cyclist, i think all traffic deaths are treated lightly. it’s one of the top killers of teenagers, yet people are still allowed to drive with cell phones.
if in every news story about someone dying on the roads you replace killed by vehicle with killed by flu, people would be freaking out and there would be mad campaigns to prevent any more deaths.
it is amazing how casually we accept traffic deaths, isn’t it? i mean, this has caused more deaths in our society than pretty much anything, and everyone still feels safe and cheery about driving. so much uproar is caused over one crazy, outlandishly improbable incident (i remember reading an article recently about how the shape of hot dogs should change because it presents a choking hazard), yet no one bats an eye at 40,000 people dead each year in auto accidents. it’s like we’re all taking crazy pills.
Yep, exactly. We tolerate car-related deaths as a “cost of doing business.”
13 times a day, a car kills a pedestrian. That’s almost 1/3 the number of people killed by guns, but apparently it’s not really a problem.
Once clipped by a car turning right which had not fully passed me, I was bitched out by the police officer for trying to pass the car (!) on the right. The driver told him that she passed me before turning. In the report, her story was gospel, I was undependable reporter so my view was not even recorded.
I went up and across the rear end of the car as it went from parallel to perpendicular to the road and my direction of travel. My flat bar carved a notch down the fender then up onto and across the trunk lid. Yeah, I was passing her and she was fully past me.
Police get zero training on car vs bike accidents and if no emphasis on the priority of the rights of cyclists (like pedestrians in Oakland), so every event such as this recent one will be a case of first impression for the police officer. If they blow it or fail to use all the resources to assess the situation before submitting their report or talking to the press, better outcomes would ensue.
Still not enough to resuscitate a dead cyclist.
I always thought I would get hit by some moron trying to pass me going down a hill with tight turns, but now I need to watch out for people running me over going UP a hill?
Berm comment in the article was total bullshit. Besides the fact that we’re not legally obligated to ride on berms, 75% of rural “berms” have so much crap in them, (branches, grasses, trash, etc) you can’t even ride in them.
I wonder if the guy would have been less likely hit in the middle of the lane rather than off to the side and potentially further out of the driver’s limited and distracted peripheral vision.
And to agree with others, what’s up with these lax laws? Driving a fast as hell one ton metal box is a big fucking responsibility. If you’re texting or doing whatever distracts you, you’re not really taking that responsibility seriously and somebody dies as a result. How about at that point saying “Hey sorry, if you can’t concentrate on what’s in front of you when you’re diving, you’re not fit to drive, we’re taking away your license for a long time”
I wonder what would happen if a bike cop was killed by a driver. And whatever happened to that hit and run guy from last year? Just a slap on the wrist or what?
Pierce, I actually spent a few hours yesterday trying to figure out what happened to Timothy Kish. As far as I can tell, he is free on bond–most likely back on the road.
It confuses me– you get caught DUI you are pretty much guaranteed to lose your license. However, you kill someone with your car, you get off with nothing?
Seems to be further proof that cops are desensitized, heartless, and ignorant of the law.
Does anyone have any experience with video, or have any idea what it would take to produce something like a PSA?
Everyone seems to have an accident story. I could envision starting to assemble video interviews with anyone we could find, talking about the circumstances of the accident, the outcome, police responses. Edit it up into clips and bang them together. I think the sheer number of stories juxtaposed with the similarity of the circumstances would make a strong story, and get it aired out there, instead of just “duh, watch out for cyclists, o.k.”.
edmonds, Last year there was a group of guys that started a web-doc on cycling in Pittsburgh with a large focus on the ghost bike that we launched last year.
I am going to be contacting them about this most recent killing. If they re willing to do more interviews, I will let you know.
Here is the trailer:
Seems to be further proof that cops are desensitized, heartless, and ignorant of the law.
Some are, sure.
However, I suspect the problems lie more with those who choose whether or not to prosecute, rather than the flatfoot on the street. As far as I know, Officer (Un)Friendly doesn’t get to make the call as to what Cap’n Distraction gets charged with, when it comes down to a fatality.
The way I see it, if you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. I think the problems with law enforcement are rooted in the fact that no one stands for anything–they really can’t without worrying about losing their job.
I think if the officer on the scene knew more about the law, the fact that he was on the edge of the lane and not the shoulder, wouldn’t even be mentioned–it simply doesn’t matter.
You are right though, it’s not all cops, but it is enough of them to cause a problem throughout.
Edmonds, this is completely fine. Thanks for doing it. We’re going to be interviewed by Mary Robb this afternoon and expect to see something on the evening news.
@scott: Great… as you can see from everyone thoughts, sadness, anger, concerns in here; this accident/situation has really touched a nerve in the community. I know that you will probably won’t get much time to fully express all that is in here, but please DO emphasize that accidents/situations like this should not be brushed away lightly, and with such -disrespect- for human life, as this is shaping out to be.
Seriously, everytime I think about this accident I feel sick in my stomach…
Scott, if you talk to Mary Robb, try to find out what church he was active in. It would be good to invite his minister to the (location of) the ride of silence. Bring the power.
Very tragic, I can’t say anymore that hasn’t already been said…
Don Parker was registered to participate in the MS 150 next month. Maybe we can all help him reach his fund raising goal.
Below is a link to his fund raising web page:
One of my coworkers is active in the same church. I’ll try to get in touch with him for details.
this is incredibly disturbing to me. i was just the other day thinking that in order to be comfortable riding in traffic, you simply have to trust that a car won’t run you over from behind. you can’t make sure you get out of the way of every car.
that trust was violated, and it turns the world upside down. it’s like walking down a crowded city street and having some random person push you out into traffic. you can’t live your life as though that’s a possibility. and then you get the occasional reminder that it is, indeed, possible.
everyone of us can imagine being in his place. and we’d be just as powerless to avoid the same fate.
Trying not to be hyperbolic, I don’t know, I’m getting a feeling. This guy, Don Parker, who nobody ever heard of before yesterday, needs to be cycling’s Rosa Parks. It’s time, everybody’s sick, and done with this, everybody just needs to stand the freaking line.
erok said, “if in every news story about someone dying on the roads you replace killed by vehicle with killed by flu, people would be freaking out and there would be mad campaigns to prevent any more deaths.”
Cops are more than happy to issue tickets for speeding, rolling a stop sign, etc when no accident has occurred. Of course you are violating the law and hopefully these measures are preventing accidents. But here is a case where an accident has occurred, with as far as I can tell no extenuating circumstances, and no law was broke? It’s just deemed an accident. You are responsible for the safe operation of your vehicle period, this was reckless or careless driving at the least (which ever is the lesser charge, see other post). I think an investigation would show excess speed and a cell phone were involved. Seriously bikers are treated like road kill. It’s making rails to trails look better and better.
The more I read this thread, the more I want to have everyone NOT on the Bike-Pgh messageboard read this thread.
“Berm comment in the article was total bullshit. Besides the fact that we’re not legally obligated to ride on berms, 75% of rural “berms” have so much crap in them, (branches, grasses, trash, etc) you can’t even ride in them. “
And up around that area, most of them have rumble strips ground into them.
I was riding right by there the night before the accident. This is an absolute tragedy. Drivers around here have no respect for cyclists. Other areas where I ride have hotlines. If a driver harasses or drives dangerously near a cyclist the cyclist calls the hotline and the driver is cited.
I’m sure the truck driver is feeling very badly about hitting and killing Don Parker, but from everything I have heard and read about the incident it was not an accident. The weather was good, the sight lines along Harts Run Road, even on the curves, are good and the cyclist was riding legally and properly.
If the truck driver is not charged, it will send totally the wrong message to a sizable number of drivers who think bicycles have no business on the road.
I totally support some sort of a memorial at the place where this trajedy ocurred.
Here’s the news piece that aired last night. I think Stick did an amazing job. Mary Robb impressed me with how much she “got it” when I was talking to her both on the phone and in person.
Scott- She’s a damn fine lady and I was very impressed with her coverage of the story.
Out of eight straight years of daily watching this guy bike to work and I want to testify to the fact that he was the most visible, safest biker I ever had the pleasure of meeting. Never once did I see Don take the lane over sticking to the right side of the road.
It’s the driver’s fault. Period.
I don’t like being cynical, but here’s what’s on the front of today’s P-G Living section.
(edit: Sorry, wrong choice of words. I’m not cynical and neither are you. Cynicism leads to despair. Anger leads to productive action.)
Crafton police had recovered pieces of a blue vehicle at the accident scene. On TV, police and CSI’s get instant results. In the real world, it took three months to get results from the crime lab to match the pieces to the dark blue Dodge Caravan parked in Mr. Bainbridge’s driveway.
That’s a lot of work! Good thing we value the life of our pets. I’d hate to think that our country doesn’t serve justice for all…
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