Cyclists struck by vehicle on Penn 5/3/16
It wouldn’t be difficult to extend that to someone who drives into a building, and just as justifiable.
Although, unfortunately, it only takes one crash to seriously injure or kill someone. Taking away driving privileges after the fact isn’t going to be a solution (although it certainly wouldn’t hurt). Would the threat of losing your license temporarily if you crashed your car be enough to change behaviors? I don’t think so. It doesn’t stop an awful lot of people from drunk driving. The problem is, people never think it will happen to them.
The solution is infrastructure. Uber stops people from drunk driving. Bike infrastructure stops being from being killed by those 2 ton machines. Some sort of technology in cars to block cell use would help stop distracted driving.
As a personal observation, most of the sketchy driver behavior I encounter involves a driver on a phone. I see it every day.
Using a phone while driving is a secondary(?) offence in PA, meaning you won’t be charged unless you’re involved in something more serious (say, killing a cyclist) and the prosecutor remembers to have someone on staff retrieve the relevant phone record.
How is Driving While Phoning (DWP) different from DUI? Beats me.
But I read (on the interweb!) that it’s equivalent to 1-2 drinks.
In our culture, injuring or killing someone while operating a motor vehicle is not viewed as a serious offense worthy of any form of real punishment. Unless the operator is impaired (by drugs or alcohol) or distracted (by use of a phone, an offense that is rarely prosecuted), it is rare for a driver to receive so much as a citation for a moving violation for a crash. Even’ serious’ penalties for drivers who are impaired or distracted come only after a death or grave injury occurs. Think of how often a driver involved in a fatal crash while driving impaired has multiple incidents of prior DUI/DWIs.
Our society needs to acknowledge that operating a 2 ton machine capable of killing is an activity requiring skill and attention. I am afraid that horse left the barn long ago. Sadly, 30,000+ deaths per year seem to be an acceptable price.
People are making a get-well thing, and part of it will be at FreeRide tonight at their volunteer night. It starts at 6:30, not sure when the piece is being picked up.
Hey all, I’m coordinating the get well Scroll/card thing…me and Buffalo will be over to pick it up later. I will likely still have it in Southside/Polish Hill for another day or so and will give it to Scott when done. PM me if you can’t make it to FR tonight and I’ll see if we can arrange a time for you to sign it.
Has anyone heard about possible charges being filed against this driver? If the cyclists were following the rules (and it’s quite clear from eyewitness accounts that they were), I can’t imagine that this driver wouldn’t be cited.
“If the cyclists were following the rules (and it’s quite clear from eyewitness accounts that they were), I can’t imagine that this driver wouldn’t be cited.”
I can very easily imagine it. If he was not DUI and not obviously reckless — and didn’t tell the officer he was doing anything illegal — he will get a traffic ticket at worst.
The basic rule is, if you kill or seriously injure someone — whether another driver, a pedestrian, or cyclist — you won’t be charged criminally so long as you are not DUI or obviously reckless, and don’t flee. That’s the way the law works in these here United States.
There are civil liabilities, of course. But they might be null (as they were in the case of the kid dragged down the street under a SUV in Point Breeze) if the driver doesn’t own anything.
Additionally, if I recall Dan Y’s case correctly, they may not file anything until the victim is out of the hospital.
It’s possible, also, that the police report is not accurate. The less injured sister denies the accuracy of the police report. Specifically, she said “except its bullshit how the police are ‘speculating’ that we were trying to pass a parked car when it happened. there was no logical way that could have happened, considering the driver hit the parked car in the back, right after he hit us”.
Can’t get any more damning eyewitness evidence than that.
The idea that you can crush two people with your car and not face so much as revocation of your driving privileges for negligence is enraging. Thank you for the responses, and I’ll keep an eye on this thread for further news.
the lack of urgency (which may only be my perception) seems to be a barrier to effectively working the case. In a case in an adjacent county where a cyclist was hit and killed, in the time between the event and the charges, an eye-witness fell into addiction and then went into recovery – significantly affecting their credibility.
These time delays are driven by budget (which means, politics) and they’re not neutral – things deteriorate during the latency.
I’m not sure what I find more angering… the WPXI report or this guy using this tragedy to hawk his product.
UGH. I know people who know this guy and the idea is fine and good but yeah, wholly inappropriate context, especially when my one friend who lives on the street said she noticed them riding past earlier…with their substantially bright/blinking rear lights. It’s the first thing I noticed about the bikes before recognizing the helmet.
I think it could be that the news station contacted this guy to do an interview, so I’d give them more of your ire.
But I commented on it too.
The additional posts:
Mike: Increasing visibility never hurts, I am a avid cyclist and I know that increasing my visibility is the only thing I can do to help prevent other people from hitting me. You cannot control what other drivers do unfortunately. Should a vehicle ever hit a cyclist? Absolutely not, but as a cyclist being more safe is never a bad thing, also just using a “blinky” is a joke. If we want to be on the road (which I do) we should be thinking a little harder about how drivers see us and how we interact with them. Its always a two way street.
Turn 2 Safety: Again I beg to differ. My intent is to help by innovating bicycle lighting as we know it. What I am offering them has never existed before therefore there’s no insinuation of fault that can be gleaned. And if anyone is at fault it’s me for not having gotten this project done earlier.
Can I count on your help?
“I think the issue here, is that the context of this news piece was in poor taste. Of course more visibility can help. And perhaps you don’t know some of the details, but I note that since a friend saw these women riding past her house on that same stretch not 20 minutes earlier, noting in particular the brightness of their lights, and that it was stated that the driver was likely on their phone and didn’t notice they had hit them until he ran INTO A PARKED CAR – that lack of being visible was likely not the issue in this particular case. I think it’s important to be visible and predictable and I’m sure your product will be very helpful to that end and I’m glad you are making it. But using this particular incident to market a product (and perhaps the news team contacted you about doing the story so I’m sure you are just excited to talk about your product and not outwardly doing this) is really just in poor taste when the visibility was likely not the issue and we have a difficult time getting drivers to be held responsible for their negligent actions. The problem is that very often, these cyclists are doing everything right and STILL get nailed by cars.
Mike, we can control what drivers do, it’s called traffic law enforcement and traffic calming/bike infrastructure. Very little willpower to do the former, still a long way to go on the latter. I’m not here to minimize what you are doing and greatly appreciate the work you are doing…the juxtaposition of this felt really just not right.”
I also wanted to add:
Perhaps we should start giving the parked cars lights too? :P
But figured that was too snarky in the spirit of understanding and being on the same team and genuinely trying to help. I think they are just really excited about the product and it was unfortunately coming across as if these sisters had more that they could have done to prevent this from happening to them… The thing is, even if they had that light…I think THIS driver STILL would not have seen them because he wasn’t LOOKING for them…or that parked car. As Mike said, it’s a two way street, but what about the driver’s culpability?
I’m sure increased visibility is important (especially in poorer lighting), but if someone isn’t watching the road, all the lighting in the world isn’t going to prevent them from hitting you.
I have a 360 lumen headlight and a 80 lumen taillight for $92. Hard to imagine this guy is going to create something brighter for less cost.
In this video, he’s also fiddling with his phone while riding and cuts off a pedestrian at a crosswalk. “This person was hit by somebody playing with their phone. Let me make a safety device that involves fiddling with my phone.” A bit ironic.
You know, I didn’t hear that bit at the end where they said they’d donate the lights to “those two girls”… Ugh yeah Red, that is very insulting. Fine to run a piece like this, but using THIS particular incident (NOT accident) to market this initiative is fighting the wrong problem at the wrong time. (I think it could be a fine product, but it’s bull-headed to think this is the end-all-be-all of cyclist safety for all situations, particularly the ones that have happened of late.)
If the driver was looking at his phone at the time, he wouldn’t have seen them anyway, as Sully mentioned.
If the driver was driving faster for conditions or the speed limit, then even if he had been paying attention to the road and didn’t see them, he could have stopped in time or possibly not done as much damage. If the sisters were not there at that point in time, then I believe he would have STILL run into that parked car. I just see not a bit of thought in this news report to the idea that the driver might not have been using his car responsibly and that is why this is so irritating. It’s not and should not be completely up to the cyclist to watch for their own safety…two way street right? Come back to me and say that when the car driver or police claim any responsibility on the side of the driver (aside from a DUI situation, which is the only case they seem to merit any blame).
Two more riders hit by drivers this morning, in broad daylight. But I’m sure better lights are the answer.
Regarding Steven Fisher’s report on vimeo about Turn2Safety, I wrote this comment:
This video suggests that the two women on bicycles that were struck by a car needed better lights and had done something wrong that contributed to the crash. This is victim-blaming, it is not supported by the evidence, and it’s irresponsible reporting by WPXI.
The evidence suggests that the driver was breaking the law by using his smartphone and “didn’t realize he had hit them until he slammed into the parked car”. For a driver that inattentive, the solution isn’t more flashing lights on the cyclists (these women already had bright flashing lights – see the WTAE video) but better enforcement, such as loss of license for inattentive driving.
Pedestrians also get struck and killed by cars frequently. The fix for that is not pedestrian helmets with flashing lights. The solution to cyclists and pedestrians being crushed by cars is better enforcement of speed laws using speeding cameras and red light cameras, and better enforcement of inattentive driving laws and drunk driving laws.
Turn2safety could be a good product that’s helpful for some cyclists, but don’t use this incident to demonstrate it, or you’re engaging in victim-blaming.
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