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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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Why do you say gigantic? Was it a semi? Because I have only seen it listed as a "truck".

I think that's a reasonable standard when the accident is the fault of the driver.  Reckless -> felony.  Accidental -> misdemeanor.

Lisa Curcio said:

Thanks.  I should have known that :-)

But it must be done in a reckless manner in order for it to be a felony.  Illinois Pattern jury instructions - Criminal defines recklessness: 

"A person (is reckless)(acts recklessly)when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that circumstances exist or that a result will follow, and such disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would exercise in the situation."
 
Jason said:

h' really?

Doesn't that statement set the Cycling acceptance movement back. We all should be able to share the road.

??

I'd assume gigantic compared to a man on a bike. Wouldn't you? 

h', I'm with you in your impossibility theory, but I feel that each time a tragedy lik this ensues, we think about the sociological, legal, educational, and concrete-and-paint systems that created the circumstances for crashes like this. We each approach these from different angles, and we can either welcome the chance for public discourse, or shun it and try to block different opinions from our own. I think it's a matter of "yes, and" - if any of you have done improv - and if we each take on our own most-heartfelt bike-progress causes, we'll see some real change. 


Jason said:

Why do you say gigantic? Was it a semi? Because I have only seen it listed as a "truck".

I haven't seen any detail in news stories about what type of truck it was.  The only added detail I've seen today is this (from the Sun-Times):

The man, who was riding a red mountain bike, was run over by the truck’s rear tires, according to police and a witness.

“The bike’s rear tire was bent in half,” said Dawn Oswalt, who works at a corner store yards from the accident.

“A customer this morning told me the man received CPR before he was taken away in an ambulance,” Oswalt said.



Jason said:

Why do you say gigantic? Was it a semi? Because I have only seen it listed as a "truck".

Criminal laws are for intentional acts.  We don't send somebody to prison for their negligence.  The civil laws help remedy negligent acts.  If I am not looking and I walk into somebody and they die I will not go to prison for murder.  If my stupidity was such that I was reckless there is now a level of intent and I can be charged with reckless homicide.  Although I may not go to prison for being an idiot I may certainly pay for it.  I can be sued for my negligent act (he was reading his newspaper and walked right into...).

If a driver does something negligent he or she did something they may regret; something we all may have done at one time or another and lived to tell about it.  We have all done this on our bike and in other places.  If we harm someone we will not go to prison but we may pay damages in a civil case.

 

Once the stupidity increases from mere negligence to recklessness or a higher level of intent we are exposed to both criminal and civil penalties.  If the driver had a duty to look for the cyclist and just turned without looking he might be reckless rather than merrely negligent. He may be exposed to both criminal and civil penalties. If he looked but did not see the guy or he simply made a mistake, he will only be civilly liable.  This makes sense to me.  We want society's pound of flesh for evil people who intend to do bad things. Society does not need a pound of flesh from somebody who screwed up. However, the injured party certainly may be entitled to a couple of kilos of flesh. That would be resolved in a civil claim.

 

If we punished negligent acts with criminal penalties we will have way too much activity in criminal courts. The volume would be so high that I fear there may be selective enforcement.  Who gets a pass and  who does not?  Also, all of us risk spending time in  the pokey for being mere idiots.  I find that a particularly barbaric way to organize society.

How do we do the above and still promote a safe environement for cyclists?  We pass laws that define certain acts as reckless. We require drivers to do things on the road such as giving 3 feet of clearance and yielding to cyclists, even foolish or dare I say...reckless ones.  Given the danger of driving a motorized behemoth we increase the duties of the operator.  What may be a mere "D'oh" in your house may indeed be reckless given that you are operating a vehicle.  For example, you are entitled to be as drunk as you want walking the sidewalk so long as you don't disturb the peace.  If you get behind the wheel you better be below .08 bac.  If you are Denzel Washington and flying an airplane there is no tolerance for any alcohol. If you shoot an arrow in the air in the Noble Square neighborhood, you better care. This is reckless and if you kill somebody you will likely face criminal charges. If you shoot that arrow in the woods in the middle of nowhere you may only be negligent.  If you throw a snowball in the air in Noble Square and  it lands on somebody's head you will not likely have a criminal charge unless you were standing in the middle of a group of schoolkids. 

I still don't know what happened so I have no idea whether criminal charges and reckelss behavior  apply.  I suspect there will be civil iiability unless we find out the rider's actions were the cause of the accident.

Sounds like you're calling for large trucks to be banned from city streets... or streets with bike lanes on them?    

And I'll take the no response to my previous question as a deafening 'no', there is no memorial ride being organized.  Seems like right hooking cyclists is just as capable of killing someone as dooring, for example.    


h' said:

I would not disagree that we need to keep pushing for legal changes that support our right to use the road safely... but I don't quite understand the focus in relation to the current tragedy, as there's no evidence that having different laws in place would have made the truck driver less likely to act as he did yesterday morning.

 

The problem as I see it is that you have an expectation that gigantic vehicles can share the same travel space with people on bicycles, and that it could all work out somehow.

 

You wouldn't put an Oscar in the guppy tank and expect your guppies to make it work....

Is that bait for some kind of internet semantics war?

I don't wish to start any war.  A discussion would be nice.  

Thanks for your input, Jason. 

I'd for sure participate in a memorial ride or vigil at the site. I'm busy electioneering these days when I am not at work but would surely find time to attend something that commemorates the life of a cyclist and reminds auto drivers that we belong in the streets. Yes. Organize it, Zoetrope!

I think the lag in time is a bit due to the lag in information - we don't yet have the identity of the rider, which in the case of Neill Townsend, we did right away and could coordinate with coworkers and family.


Zoetrope said:

Sounds like you're calling for large trucks to be banned from city streets... or streets with bike lanes on them?    

And I'll take the no response to my previous question as a deafening 'no', there is no memorial ride being organized.  Seems like right hooking cyclists is just as capable of killing someone as dooring, for example.    


h' said:

I would not disagree that we need to keep pushing for legal changes that support our right to use the road safely... but I don't quite understand the focus in relation to the current tragedy, as there's no evidence that having different laws in place would have made the truck driver less likely to act as he did yesterday morning.

 

The problem as I see it is that you have an expectation that gigantic vehicles can share the same travel space with people on bicycles, and that it could all work out somehow.

 

You wouldn't put an Oscar in the guppy tank and expect your guppies to make it work....

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Sarah.  A vigil, that's what I meant.  Makes sense, though -- I'll wait for more info.  

However, I don't have any experience organizing vigils, so the part about knowing the victims name and family etc. struck me as odd.  Do families of the deceased sometimes wish not to have a gathering like the one for Neil?  



Sarah D. said:

I'd for sure participate in a memorial ride or vigil at the site. I'm busy electioneering these days when I am not at work but would surely find time to attend something that commemorates the life of a cyclist and reminds auto drivers that we belong in the streets. Yes. Organize it, Zoetrope!

I think the lag in time is a bit due to the lag in information - we don't yet have the identity of the rider, which in the case of Neill Townsend, we did right away and could coordinate with coworkers and family.

I'd say the main thing with the family is to see if they would like to be there. We moved the NT one due to the memorial service being on our originally planned day. I think cyclists would want to meet regardless of the family, but it would be nice to extend an invite to them. And ghost bikes are usually placed in cooperation with the family, so that's another thing to check in about. 



Zoetrope said:

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Sarah.  A vigil, that's what I meant.  Makes sense, though -- I'll wait for more info.  

However, I don't have any experience organizing vigils, so the part about knowing the victims name and family etc. struck me as odd.  Do families of the deceased sometimes wish not to have a gathering like the one for Neil?  



Sarah D. said:

I'd for sure participate in a memorial ride or vigil at the site. I'm busy electioneering these days when I am not at work but would surely find time to attend something that commemorates the life of a cyclist and reminds auto drivers that we belong in the streets. Yes. Organize it, Zoetrope!

I think the lag in time is a bit due to the lag in information - we don't yet have the identity of the rider, which in the case of Neill Townsend, we did right away and could coordinate with coworkers and family.

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