The Chainlink

Not again....

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-bicyclist-die...

The Cook County medical examiner's office said the man was in his 50s and was pronounced dead at 10:35 a.m.

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This is the reason why the legislature has attacked issues such as distracted driving.  Certain acts of multitasking are not negligent. They are indeed reckless and make people subject to criminal penalties. I support making these acts criminal.  As a lifelong liberal who always sees a slippery slope of facisim with expanding criminal penalties I have a problem with criminalizing negilgent behavior. No question there can be a tragedy due to negligence whether a bike is or is not involved. Your kid leaves a skate on the sidewalk.  You are responsible when your neighbor trips over it falls, and their brains spill onto the sidewalk. This is a horrible tragedy for everybody.  You should not go to jail.  However, your homeowners insurance will likely pay dearly to your neighbor's family. Had the neighbor family complained of this before or complained of the kid leaving his bike, his coat or other detritus on the sidewalk the conduct may be more than negilgent. 

 

This, by the way cuts both ways.  You are on your bike.  You are paying attention to the mirrors on the doors of cars on the right because you do not want to get doored. You do not  notice the old man walking in between the cars coming from the left and  you run him over.  You may or may not be financially responsible but you certainly should  not go to jail or risk going to jail because you didn't see him when everybody else did.  Now, if you are blowing through that lane with the cars all stopped and you are ziping by at 20+mph or you are performing a maneuver out of Premium Rush, your actions will be seen as reckless and you may be getting a ride home in a squad car.

There is an inconsistency that runs through the threads on this board. I am not pointing to any specific poster but to the amalgam of them.  On the one hand we call for strict enforcement and criminal penalties for drivers who make errors. On the other hand we give ourselves a pass regardiing the rules of the road. I understand all 25 sides of both viewpoints :-)   and am stitll trying to workout a theory that can  tie them all together or at least get them in my pannier.
 
Anne Alt said:

Well said, Michelle.  Too many crashes and near misses are due to poor judgments and negligent driver behavior that has become "acceptable" because "everyone does it" - forms of distracted driving such as talking on the phone, applying makeup, shaving, and eating or speeding and running red lights and stop signs.
 
Michelle Stenzel said:

In response to what David Barish said -- I think the problem is that we as a society are very quick to say that any crash that is motor-vehicle-related is simply due to bad luck, or "mere" negligence, simply because the result was not the intention of the driver. However, my gut tells me that many crashes must occur due to poor judgments that are made by drivers and risks that they take over and over, MOST of the time, with no negative consequences. So they believe it's not actually risky, just normal driving. (Read the book Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt for tons more on this.) The person who blows through a red light has nothing happen the first 100 times they do it, until that one time a 12-year-old kid steps out onto the crosswalk with their signal into their path. And then somehow, the death dismissed as just "bad luck" on the part of the victim, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and there's sympathy for the driver because it "wasn't really" their fault, he didn't mean to harm anyone, and that "could have been me" in the driver's seat. And so the driver just gets one ticket, maybe two, for "failing to yield to a pedestrian" and that's it. And that's just not right. I think often of the senior citizen who was struck and killed on Sheridan Road last year crossing on a crosswalk with the green (I wrote about it on Bike Walk Lincoln Park here). It was daylight, she was in the well-striped crosswalk, the cab was turning from a side street. How could running her over NOT be reckless behavior, and reckless homicide? I don't think we should rely on civil actions to address this kind of crash.

Yep, it can be a fine line and a slippery slope in determining what is negligent vs. reckless and which penalties should be criminal. 

A good example on the bike side of the equation is the cyclist in San Francisco who plowed through a busy crosswalk against the light and killed a pedestrian. Most acts of cyclist recklessness aren't as extreme, but we need to be aware that it is possible to kill someone with a bike.

David Barish said:

This is the reason why the legislature has attacked issues such as distracted driving.  Certain acts of multitasking are not negligent. They are indeed reckless and make people subject to criminal penalties. I support making these acts criminal.  As a lifelong liberal who always sees a slippery slope of facisim with expanding criminal penalties I have a problem with criminalizing negilgent behavior. No question there can be a tragedy due to negligence whether a bike is or is not involved. Your kid leaves a skate on the sidewalk.  You are responsible when your neighbor trips over it falls, and their brains spill onto the sidewalk. This is a horrible tragedy for everybody.  You should not go to jail.  However, your homeowners insurance will likely pay dearly to your neighbor's family. Had the neighbor family complained of this before or complained of the kid leaving his bike, his coat or other detritus on the sidewalk the conduct may be more than negilgent. 

 

This, by the way cuts both ways.  You are on your bike.  You are paying attention to the mirrors on the doors of cars on the right because you do not want to get doored. You do not  notice the old man walking in between the cars coming from the left and  you run him over.  You may or may not be financially responsible but you certainly should  not go to jail or risk going to jail because you didn't see him when everybody else did.  Now, if you are blowing through that lane with the cars all stopped and you are ziping by at 20+mph or you are performing a maneuver out of Premium Rush, your actions will be seen as reckless and you may be getting a ride home in a squad car.

There is an inconsistency that runs through the threads on this board. I am not pointing to any specific poster but to the amalgam of them.  On the one hand we call for strict enforcement and criminal penalties for drivers who make errors. On the other hand we give ourselves a pass regardiing the rules of the road. I understand all 25 sides of both viewpoints :-)   and am stitll trying to workout a theory that can  tie them all together or at least get them in my pannier.

We still don't know who died on Wednesday, correct?

http://www.everybicyclistcounts.org/site/detail/name_not_yet_releas...

Juan, thank you for passing on this info and the fatal crash in Cicero, we had not heard of that tragedy.

We'll alert our crash and advocacy teams.

Thanks,

Ethan, Active Trans

Michael Dlugopolski's death made the local news (Fox and Sun Times, at least), but it didn't hit our collective consciousness as much as Neill's and the Noble Square's deaths.  Hard to say why the north side, daylight crashes got so much attention but a midnight in Cicero crash did not.  Especially with the juicy detail of the off-duty cop being the SUV driver whose vehicle hit Michael.

I suspect that location may have been a factor here.  Many of us ride on Wells St. where Neill Townsend was hit, and quite a few have had close calls at the same location.  Augusta and Ashland is also a fairly familiar location.  The number of folks here who ride at 31st and Cicero (where Michael Dlugopolski was hit) is probably much lower, so there isn't quite the same "that could have happened to me" factor.

Juan Primo said:

Michael Dlugopolski's death made the local news (Fox and Sun Times, at least), but it didn't hit our collective consciousness as much as Neill's and the Noble Square's deaths.  Hard to say why the north side, daylight crashes got so much attention but a midnight in Cicero crash did not.  Especially with the juicy detail of the off-duty cop being the SUV driver whose vehicle hit Michael.

I think the time of day was a factor too.  Two were in the morning rush and the other was at 12:42am or so.  No story said if he was coming home from work or what at that late hour.

I almost got right hooked a couple days ago but it was 100% my own fault. I realized after the fact that had I taken the lane behind the vehicle which was stopped at a traffic light, the near miss would not have happened. As bikers, we have the right to take the lane where appropriate and safe to do so. It may require a certain amount of chutzpah and carries some risk of its own. Our responsibly is to weigh these risks in each situation. My general rules are to stay alert, choose slow over fast and assume that nature is out to get me. As Andy Grove said, only the paranoid survive.

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