Flutterby™! : Shooting cyclists for bike safety

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Shooting cyclists for bike safety

2009-07-28 16:31:59.614475+00 by Dan Lyke 21 comments

I'm not generally a death penalty advocate, but can we use it just this once? Asheville NC firefighter shoots cyclist after argument over safety and which roads it was appropriate to ride on. The attempted murderer is now on paid administrative leave.

Only half-joking: How long are we cyclists going to take this shit? When do we reach the breaking point and start shooting back? Spiro Bikopoulis (aka "Spike Bike"), where are you?

Additional article, and even more,

[ related topics: moron Current Events Bicycling ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-28 18:46:20.39137+00 by: meuon

May he get the maximum penalty possible for attempted murder.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-28 19:07:22.216279+00 by: ziffle

You know I am tired of the cyclists and their idiocy. They want to ride stay on the sidewalks or go some where they can ride peacefully like a 'bike path'. Stay off the streets.

The streets are not designed for cars and cysclists; not at least in town. Thats the reason Shanghai is starting to ban bicycles.

And this from a country engineered around the bicycle.

Maybe bikes should be banned exzcept for certain country roads. It might stop routine drivers from being blamed unfairly.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-28 19:38:39.586448+00 by: Dan Lyke

Ziffle, I'm all for that, as soon as automobile drivers pay for the full costs of the road and negative environmental impact of driving directly, say through gasoline taxes.

When gas taxes are $15-20/gallon, come back and we'll talk.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-28 19:40:57.220402+00 by: Dan Lyke

Holy crap, just read that article about the death of David Meek. That the Grand Jury let the driver of the truck off for sideswiping a vehicle should be criminal. Wow.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-28 20:04:06.986263+00 by: jeff

Dan--is your MAC-10 locked and loaded? (grin)

Zif--take cover!

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-28 21:01:50.492882+00 by: ziffle

bullets ricoshaying ... :)

Jim Brown aka DL dropping cyanide canisters into the airshafts as he runs through the bullets, screaming 'Cars are bad bikes are good you Nazis'.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-28 21:14:03.058321+00 by: Dan Lyke

Killin' generals could get to be a habit with me.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-28 21:33:05.992205+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

That the grand jury failed to indict isn't surprising. ziffle's views here really do reflect the mainstream.

I own a mini-van and a 20-year-old volkswagon, so I really can't be called an "green" driver. Oh, and I don't live in the city.

But I'm lucky enough to live in an area where drivers understand (for the most part) their responsibility to slower vehicles on the road. The Amish presence does help.

Saying traffic violations are "unfair accusations" because they are "routine" isn't really a good argument.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-28 22:13:59.004145+00 by: meuon

I can fit a "Stop honking, I'm reloading" sticker on the back of my bent... :)

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-29 13:10:40.391548+00 by: warkitty

The David Meek incident is very near and dear to me. He was one of my favorite riding buddies. That he was always a safe and courteous cyclist is not hyperbole, he made me look like a scofflaw.

The Grand Jury didn't indict him not because they thought he wasn't at fault but because there wasn't enough evidence to counter his excuse that he "just didn't see" David. The results of the police investigation were inconclusive.

Here's the kicker though. That same truck has been indicated before for buzzing too close to cyclists, blaring his horn at cyclists to scare them, and generally being menacing.

Here in Chattanooga, there seems to be a war brewing. David's death was followed within a week by another good friend of mine being run off the road in Red Bank. This time there was a witness, a home owner that had stepped out to get the paper. Because they couldn't prove the owner of the vehicle was the driver, no tickets were issued, nothing was done. My friend's bike was destroyed and he went home bruised and horrified. A week later, another friend was run off the road while pacelining with another cyclist. This time, the cops responded and pulled the driver over not too far from where the incident occurred. The driver said "they were too far over in the lane" and the cop decided that right or no right, the driver shouldn't be ticketed for using his vehicle to force the cyclist off the road because "well you need to be all the way over to the right anyway."

Two weeks ago on Hwy 41 outside Tiftonia, my friend Van was involved in a hit and run while riding with a 19yr just back from doing some cycle racing in Europe. Van's leg was broken, his back was severely bruised and he'll spend a long time recovering from the soft-tissue damage. His bike was absolutely demolished. They have a description, make model etc of the vehicle but once again, because they didn't see the driver's face when he came up from behind, sent Van flying into young Jason and sped off, nothing will be done about it. This weekend on the same stretch of road, another driver buzzed close to the paceline while passing, then BACKED UP to come back at them (in the oncoming traffic lane, no less, causing a nice line of vehicles as witnesses) then came AT them, knocked one lady into the ditch with his bumper and sped off, once again brushing close enough to tap a few more riders. This time one of the witnesses took his tag number and the county and state police went to the address it's registered to, but once again because no one can prove who was behind the wheel right then, there's not a damn thing going to be done.

Meanwhile, the non-cyclists in town are kvetching that if those "damn cyclists" weren't "hogging the road" and "ignoring stop signs and red lights" none of this would happen, and that cycling is just too dangerous and should be banned from the roads just like ziffle wants. I ask who is causing the actual danger and damage here? Yeah, I'm temped to carry when I ride. No I don't expect to be able to use it legally, but hell. If they can't prove I SHOT AT THEM any more than I can prove they tried to kill me with their weapon/car, then why shouldn't I pop off a round next time some asshat tries to run me off the road?

Yes, I'm a bit pissed off. Yes, I'd like to start keying the fuckers that do this shit. Or run THEM off the road with a fucking semi and then kvetch that maybe they shouldn't be driving a car on the road with so much larger a vehicle. After all, it "just isn't safe" when there's that much disparity in size. Exactly the same argument used to claim bikes don't belong on the road.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-29 15:01:36.950732+00 by: Dan Lyke

The notion that the driver didn't see the cyclist should be any sort of defense is utterly horrifying. If a person fired a shotgun across Amnicola highway, "I didn't see him" would be used as further evidence of idiocy, and misuse of cars kills far more people than misuse of firearms.

I'd forgotten why I stopped riding when I lived in Tennessee.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-29 15:04:22.205414+00 by: Dan Lyke

Also seems like maybe taking this guys truck apart with a sledgehammer and spraypainting "Oh, sorry, I didn't see it" across the side is apropos.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-29 17:08:41.863105+00 by: meuon [edit history]

"Midnight Justice" (sledgehammer/paint) to offending drivers sounds good, but in reality is just an escalation factor.

Pretending the cyclist is a car would the proper thing. If "Bubba" sideswipes my Mini or F150 and claims he did not see me (and I was in my lane, legally): He gets cited as a minimum. If it's understandable for some combination of hills, curves, angles, cell phone usage.. etc.. - he should still get cited. If it caused massive damage, injury or death, then the same rules apply. IANAL (I am NOT a Lawyer): Involuntary Manslaughter, Vehicular Manslaughter both seem to be relevant potential charges.

I'm about to take to the roads again, trying to get my bike road-worthy...

Question: If they can cite me for speeding or missing a stop/light, with just a camera (no proof who the driver was), why can't they do it for these offenses?

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-29 17:22:39.887375+00 by: warkitty

Because they're not citing you, they're citing the vehicle and no points go against your license.

That's the excuse we were given, anyway. The answer to "if it were a car you'd cite them" is always "he can't avoid what he can't see and y'all are *smaller* so it's possible to not see you...." In short, the enforcement isn't there because the City, County and State don't WANT to.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-29 18:47:03.960586+00 by: jeff [edit history]

Guys, we have a transportation AND a social engineering problem to solve in this country, and it's not just isolated to Tennessee.

It would be interesting to travel back in time to the early 1900s, shortly after cars started to replace horses, bicycles, and walking as the dominant mode of transportation in this country, and understand how the transportation dynamics played out then versus now.

As an aside, I spent some time in India a couple of years ago. In the major cities (and even in the rural areas), there was an amazing array of vehicle types (and LARGE numbers of them) in play at any given moment. Cattle, camels, bicycles, rickshaws, cars, buses, trucks, and PEOPLE all used the same roads.

What was astonishing to me was that in two weeks of extended travel, and THOUSANDS of real opportunities for accidents to occur, I didn't observe a single mishap. I did hear lots of horns. But they were not blaring in anger, but rather only to signal one's location to another. The whole transportation experience was was quite enlightening. (I might also add that I didn't do any of the driving!)

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-29 19:11:30.240556+00 by: meuon

I enjoy driving in those wonderful places where "beeping" isn't reason for gunplay, but a 'hi I'm coming through' or double beep = ' I'm turning' and you are right, the difference is social, legal, cultural.. S. America, Central America and the Carribean are a blast!

Warkittty: I'd be happy with "Ok officer, then cite the vehicle and it's subsequent owner just like you do at traffic lights" -It'd be something. Enough of that gets out and drivers will understand the rules.

American's see driving as a right, and do it in insulated style: radios blaring, cell phone chatting, and with pseudo-christian rightousness. heck. most can't even merge properly, and would last 5 minutes in most other countries.

It is a problem on both sides. The cyclists have just as many people causing problems. Both newbies and experienced riders zipping in and out of traffic, ignoring lights, signals and changing from "pedestrian" to "vehicle" mode in crosswalks, sidewalks and various lanes, and fast aggressive riders on the riverwalk and other mixed use paths. The spandex clad clump of cyclists are often, taken as a single vehicle, the scariest things on a road. No-one knows what they'll do at an intersection.

Now if I can just find some Schwalbe Marathons in my size somewhere... I'll be back on the road. Playa dust seems to have done in my T&C's.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-29 19:41:16.26156+00 by: Dan Lyke

Warkitty, that sounds like Chattanooga needs a new DA something fierce. Can the bicycling community find a candidate who's not a total pushover on crime and do everything they can to make sure that candidate gets elected? Out here in the "liberal" left coast we have DAs who are actually tough on crime and who'd at least bring vehicular manslaughter charges in a matter like this. If not negligent homicide or murder charges.

"When David Meek was killed, [Current DA] refused to bring charges against his killer. Vote for [Bike DA candidate], she's promised to actually prosecute homicides, rather than letting killers walk. [Current DA]'s office is soft on crime. [Bike DA candidate] wants to change that."

Run that sucker two or three times an afternoon on WGOW during Rush Limbaugh.

But this does serve to remind me of why I live in Northern California, and though I love parts of the Chattanooga area would be very reluctant to move back there.

Jeff, we have a huge problem with externalized costs and senses of entitlement in this country in general. Our "cars über alles" attitude is a particularly egregious variant of that, especially in the way we subsidize automobiles so heavily from the general tax load and public health.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-29 20:27:51.74601+00 by: m

Where I live now pedestrians, bikes and cars seem to coexist well. Probably because there is usually little or no traffic of any kind to get aggravated with.

When I lived on Long Island, NY, shit rolled downhill. Cars and trucks pushed bikes off the road, and bikes pushed pedestrians every which way. In a recent trip to NYC, bicyclists were even worse. Not content to merely violate all vehicular traffic laws, they seemed to take great joy in not just intimidating pedestrians, but threatening them.

Humans don't seem to do well in the US when they are in areas of high population density. Restricting them to say one or two per acre might just improve the quality of life for all.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-29 20:47:38.633082+00 by: Dan Lyke

m, I'm pretty sure that number should be closer to one or two per square mile.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-29 21:48:50.341739+00 by: jeff

Addiction to oil?

#Comment Re: made: 2009-07-29 22:51:52.883018+00 by: jeff [edit history]

I believe this short video depicts a viable bicycle population density which falls somewhere between two bicyclists per acre or two per square mile. Enjoy.