Hit and Run on WA Blvd :(

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ejwme
Participant
#

we need state activism, yes (PA Walks and Bikes, and BAC and the like are doing well). We also need local activism, and there’s only so much BPGH and individuals can do – peaceturkey, I’m in PH and try to raise the issue with my CDC and municipality any chance I get (and I admit to fabricating conversations just to remind them I and other cyclists exist), but if you want to coordinate something more organized and political, count me in support. I totally agree – my municipality has declared that there is no constituent will power to spend money on sidewalks, but every neighbor I talk to agrees that it would be so much nicer if there were sidewalks along the busy streets or between the schools and library. Sometimes all it takes is a concerted effort to get the municipalities and communities talking – people don’t show up to municipal planning meetings anymore (even I can’t fit it in to my schedule, and I’m quite passionate about it), so the municipalities take silence for apathy or acquiesence rather than just absence.


Lyle
Participant
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I don’t believe that sharrows and road signs would have made one iota of difference to Drs Noll and Finder yesterday.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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+1: @robjdlc and rsprake. If I remember from the visit to the DA a year ago, the DA only gets involved after the local police complete their investigation.

(Plus, did one of the stories mention a third rider? That would mean there was a witness – which was missing in the Flip-Flop Failure.)


Morningsider
Participant
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@Stu – I think a more appropriate consequence would be having him visit the ICU every day and help take care of the victim(s).

The lack of compassion is the most distressing thing to me about these accidents. I think if someone could see the devastation they caused, it might somehow fix what is wrong in their psyche.

And seriously, nurses deserve five times whatever rate of pay they make for providing care during the worst times in people’s lives.


peaceturkey
Participant
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@ejwme – Thanks for the vote of confidence. PM me your email address if you’d like. Maybe we can get some more people to be squeeky wheels with us and get some attention.

@lyle – I think we could all agree that we have to start somewhere. It can start with sharrows and turn into bike lanes! But I do agree… sharrows would not have helped the two cyclists who were the victims of yesterday’s violence.


flyS564
Participant
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This is really sad and some comments on the WTAE article make me sick. There is no sense to be knocked into some of those people.

Three of us were riding that intersection from the opposite direction the evening before. I’ve ridden from the direction of the victims several times. It’s always sketchy. Coming from the opposite direction we coasted in the right lane until it was 100% clear before getting into the left lane. There is plenty of room on that road to widen it for some kind of a bike lane at least up to Negley Run Blvd. We can only hope.


Drewbacca
Participant
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“I have never ridden in another city but I hear other cities are much more accepting of cyclist than Pittsburgh…”

Not really, at least not in Seattle where I lived for 5+ years… in fact, it was worse in some ways due to the fringe cyclists who went out of their way to make a scene and constantly received bad press (usually during critical mass rides). More people there may have rode per capita, but there were plenty of haters to go round.


Lyle
Participant
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It’s sketchy because aggressive, speeding drivers operate with near-total impunity.

Let’s start with some law enforcement. Fortunately, that IS something within the purview of local legislatures.


edmonds59
Participant
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Keep in mind, this happened within spitting distance of the local state police station. Irony.


scott
Keymaster
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Wow, what a day… Some good momentum with the City regarding bike infrastructure, but overshadowed by yesterday’s horrible news regarding this criminal driver. I ended up doing an interview with KDKA and the Trib. I know Fred K. from WPW wrote a spot on letter to the editor to the PG so we’re not about to let this crash and need for better enforcement, laws, behavior, infrastructure, etc. slip by.

It’s great to tune into this thread and see so much passion get channeled toward making things better. Please please please call your elected officials. That means call the county executive’s office, the mayor’s office and your city council person to tell them you care about bike issues and want to feel safe on our streets. That means calling your local state rep and local state senator to tell them the same and that they should support the safe passing and distracted driving bills, and finally it means calling our federal reps and senators too to tell them you care about these issues and that de-funding bicycle and pedestrian projects means more bike/ped crashes, injuries and fatalities.

All the contact info you need (or at least links to contact info) are found here:

http://bike-pgh.org/get_involved/advocate/governmentcontacts/

PA Walks & Bikes has more info on the safe passing and distracted driving bills on their site: http://www.pawalksandbikes.org/

As for the ride, I agree with Lyle, let’s see how things go in the next week. Some new info might arise and it will show that we have at least a modicum of patience (albeit patience that is fast running out). The advantage to waiting is that 1. the driver could be found and 2. we can see what, if any, reaction the law enforcement has. If no one is found at least we can help keep this in the forefront and keep raising awareness.


Italianblend
Participant
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Please provide any links to your interviews or articles. Will it be on TV or in print?


scott
Keymaster
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Trib is ink (tomorrow). KDKA was TV. Not sure if there’s a link yet.


Nick D
Participant
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As for a ride to raise some awareness, I think it should be scheduled far ahead of time to ensure chance for press and a large turn out.


Erica
Participant
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+1 for scheduling ahead

I would like to be able to go, but I would need ample time to rearrange my work schedule. Also, it would be great if the two victims (upon full recovery, of course) could be on the ride.


ejwme
Participant
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hmm… patience… ok, so according to a certain excessively patient husband, I have none. Normally I agree and see this as something to work on. But today I used it all up accepting the abysmal weather, and have none left for this issue.

Patience in this case just seems like an excuse to wait while more people get hurt and killed. It’s like it’s acceptable that these things take time – or never get dealt with at all (they haven’t yet, otherwise all we’d have to talk about is how awesome riding on bridges is and how mad Stu’s transit skills are). Patience feels like we’re seeing the people that get hurt due to negligance or psychopathy in the mean time as just unavoidable, acceptable collateral damage to our ploddingly slow “system” (which, btw, “we” created, and thus “we” can change – it’s not immutable).

When enough people are outraged and enough people lose all patience, swift and proportionate action is actually possible (I’m resisting the temptation to cite dramatic examples, but I’m sure everyone can think of a few). So while I think you’re super fantastic Scott (and BPGH et al), I’m sorry, I will not be patient. I will not concede that those with authority and power are doing “everything they can” or that any actions thus far are “reasonable steps”, or that maybe an “ethical” choice in this case might line up with a moral one for the DA where it previously didn’t. Reasonable steps and truly ethical choices would be gross and intrusive movement towards safer streets – not tentative and “tolerable” or “re-electable” movement towards the superficial perception of safer streets.

I do not expect a bubble-wrapped world. I do not expect risk-free roads. I expect thorough enforcement of existing laws. I expect the DA, when death or maiming occur, to press the harshest charges possible by law, EVERY TIME. I expect the community at large to see people as more important than shaving a few seconds off their drive. I expect nobody to ever consider a law abiding, hurt road user as deserving their pain – or at least I expect bigoted people to be too ashamed to publically admit that they thought the cyclist “asked for it”, even anonymously. I expect the community at large to be painfully and brutally intolerant of such behavior online or on the road.

I unfortunately also expect to be alone in my outrage and total loss of patience except when I post on here. I do not expect swift and thorough justice, and I do not expect to be heard when I email, write, and telephone any and all authorities I can find to explain to them in painful detail why they are woefully inadequate and incompetant when it comes to ridiculously simple, affordable (even revenue generating), and proven measures to decrease risk for all road users.

The lack of political will power to use the information we ALREADY HAVE is physically harming cyclists – why should we be patient?


scott
Keymaster
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I was just asking to be a bit patient while the police try to catch the perpetrator (there’s more or less an all points bulletin calling on witnesses to step up and for the motorist to turn him/herself in), but do what you feel you need to do. We’ll be supportive as long as it’s nonviolent.


messi
Participant
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Hi all, I’m a long time lurker here and I – like everyone – was shocked at this recent hit and run. I have a suggestion that I’d like to throw out there which may help prevent some future incidents…apologies if something like this has already been tried.

There should be a campaign that involves corporate and government sponsored subsidies to provide small wearable cameras to cyclists (blue-tooth enabled ones that connect to Droid or IPhones go for ~$130 on Amazon). Combine that with with some sort high visibility sticker/logo. Psychologically the sticker will have the same effect on a criminal driver as a “protected by xyz security ” sign has on a potential thief. Moreover, if anything does happen, video evidence can help identify hit-and-run drivers. I would bet that if 10% of avid cyclists took part in something like this, tragedies such as this one would be greatly reduced.


scott
Keymaster
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And by the way, I hope you’re not my misinterpreting my use of the word “patience” as “do nothing.” There’s plenty people can do. Protesting in the streets is only one of them. One that we support, but I think we need some time to pull something like that together. But if you think that something needs to be done tomorrow, then please organize it and we’ll help get the word out.


stefb
Participant
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Ugh there was a short interview with the doctor who was released from the hospital and he has road rash all over his face. Poor dude. I am down for a ride but I do have to be at work early, so if i can make it, I will be there.


Lyle
Participant
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Ejwme: patience means don’t harangue the police and the DA until they’ve been given plenty of opportunity to do nothing.

Demonstrating at the scene, against the reckless and unidentified driver? Sure, and I have a few ideas about how that could go.

The only concern I have, is that _maybe_ that would dilute the enthusiasm of the community-at-large for the other demonstration. What do you think?


scott
Keymaster
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I’m not so sure that one demonstration would dilute the other. In fact, it could strengthen the subsequent demonstration. The first demonstration should happen during the evening rush hour sometime. Traffic will be backed up and there will be plenty of opportunity to reach motorists with our message.


Lyle
Participant
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Well, I was thinking it might be worth having a handful of cyclists standing at the intersection with bikes and maybe a sign, every morning from 7:50-8:15. We could take turns.

The more I think about it, the more I convince myself that the driver was likely on his/her way to work — holiday aside. That’s too early to be going to a party, but it’s exactly the right time to be going to a retail or restaurant job.


Steven
Participant
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A sign and maybe a camera, snapping photos of all the gold sedans that pass, especially scratches and license plates?


ejwme
Participant
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I know “patience” doens’t mean do nothing, especially from you guys. I’m just so tired of hearing it from everybody else (read: non-cyclists), for whom that is the absolute extent of their caring and involvement, telling the uppity and irritating little cyclist (me) to be patient while everybody else does nothing.

Lyle, I like your idea and I’m tempted to dress in white/covered in flour or white paint, stand on the corner with my bike and hold a giant sign saying something pithy and to the point – but what would the sign say?

Wake up

Distraction Kills

Stop Hitting Us

Slow Down

Respect All Travelers

Less Rage

We Are Legal

We Are People

What if, instead of a ride or someone standing with a sign in one part of town at one time, or even several on seperate days, we get as many people as we can to dress in all white (painted white too), and stand with their bikes on busy street corners and giant signs? Sprinkled throughout the city, maybe crossing the road with lights every once in a while to make sure people can see? Ghosts with messages, spread throughout the city (maybe especially where there have been accidents), silent and visible in rush hour while people are sitting and staring. They might as well stare at us.

Like a ghost bike/rider/protest blitz of the entire city. Not a ride, which is what we usually do, but standing as living monuments with messages, if only for an hour or two. (Also, that might be easier for some who couldn’t do a ride but could stand in solo protest near their house or along their commute).

?


rsprake
Participant
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A district attorney can’t do anything until they have someone to actually prosecute. That’s what I was referring to when I said be patient.


rsprake
Participant
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Standing on a busy street corner with signs telling people to not be distracted seems like a contradiction to me. I don’t have a better idea however.


bikeygirl
Participant
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Ok… here come my two-cents.

@ejwme –I identify with your sentiment regarding patience in this issue, and I don’t think that showing solidarity in a bike-ride is –ever– a violent demonstration (unless is CM, that is). I can understand why BikePG as a non-profit & advocacy group would try to steer clear from anything-violent like that, but I don’t think anyone in here has –ever– though of a bike-ride or a cycling-demonstration as a violent event –ever– (and why bring something like that up?).

I know that “incidents” like this help the Cycling Community to demand to the City & Elected-Officials better laws protecting us on-the-road by giving a “face” and a “voice” to the tragedies that are caused when cycling & irresponsible drivers-goes-wrong on the road. But personally, this event is less about pushing a cycling agenda, and MORE about showing our support for the injured cyclists and their families –period……… That is why I kept bringing the idea of doing a ride in-solidarity for the injured cycists, and to express our sadness & discust at the incident, and to ultimately remind drivers that they should be careful in the road.

Gotta say, while I don’t lose my hope that one day cyclists & cars will be sharing the roads together in a symbiotic relationship, and that those drivers who injure cyclists because of carelessness or on-purpose, will be punished by-law as the offense it really is; after Don Parker, and Doctor Vacarallo, I know that even if the person is found-out and brought to justice, not much will really happen with that for a long-long time.

So…. at this point, regardless of this being an opportunity to push agendas -I don’t care. Two people were injured and I don’t think they care about agendas either.

So…. when are we riding? Friday would indeed perhaps be too soon to organize, but monday…. next monday would be good as a week-anniversary to the event. I like Lyle’s route for the ride too.

Thoughts?


Lyle
Participant
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The sign would say either

PATIENCE

or

ATTENTION

and maybe if we kept doing this, eventually

TEXTING (in a circle/slash)

something diffuse all over the city sounds artistic, but wouldn’t that require more explanation as to what it’s about? Something focussed at one location would be more immediately obvious, imho.

@bikeygirl: I am prepared to ride every Monday morning all summer.


brian j
Participant
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Signage like that actually exists on Utah roads and highways. Apparently there is quite the campaign against distracted driving.


rsprake
Participant
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By distracting drivers with signs. Brilliant!


ejwme
Participant
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I never brought up violence, bikeygirl, I’m not advocating violence, never did, never will.

And I’m not against a ride for solidarity, I think that’s fantastic. But if we’re going to wait until the victims can join in the ride, we’ll be waiting a while. So why do nothing while waiting?

What I’m sick of is the need for solidarity rides. This isn’t new, cyclists and pedestrians have been mowed down since it was cyclists and horses doing the mowing, so while my outrage may be new, the issue is much older than even the oldest member on this board.

While advocacy won’t help Mr. Noll and Dr. Finders NOW, loss of patience and more meaningful change in the PAST could have helped them avoid this whole situation. If our capable PD had stopped the vehicle in question (an all others) more often for past violations (involving cyclists or not), perhaps that driver would have reassessed his/her behavior earlier. Or if cops regularly sat at that intersection (and others) and picked off jagoffs, people might all have a little more respect and patience there. If PennDOT had revised its policies and procedures to include more traffic calming efforts and implemented them at that intersection (and everywhere else), perhaps even a psychopathic driver would not have had the opportunity to do such harm. All of this clearly would have required more aggressive agenda pushing in the past, otherwise it would all have been done and this conversation wouldn’t take place.

But bikeygirl, I have to thank you most for truly defining my rage quite nicely – you said “…is why I kept bringing the idea of doing a ride in-solidarity for the injured cycists, and to express our sadness & discust at the incident, and to ultimately remind drivers that they should be careful in the road.” but at the same time say you don’t care about pushing an agenda.

That’s the entire problem. Expressing our sadness, disgust, solidarity with the injured, and reminding drivers to be careful *IS* an agenda. The fact that it is an “agenda” is the most maddening thing of all. One would hope it wouldn’t be. One would hope it would be such a universal thing that everybody everywhere would share in those feelings, like a personal preference for breathing often and sleeping daily. But they don’t. Proof – the DA’s behavior, PennDOT’s actions, municipal, county, and state inaction.

Simply giving a shit about human beings getting clobbered by traffic too distracted or “busy” to respect anybody but themselves IS an agenda, and it’s actively campaigned AGAINST by politicians and irate drivers. THAT is what has me so pissed off.

Mr. Noll and Dr. Finders, and the same old (compassionate, encouraging, positive) response to the tragedy just happened to set me off. And I’m having difficulty finding a reason to calm down about it. But I’ll stop venting about it, since it appears inappropriate – apologies all around.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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@ejwme: No apology necessary. Rage is a perfectly rational response.


scott
Keymaster
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@Lucia – just saying we will support ANY action anyone comes up with as long as it’s nonviolent. I didn’t accuse anyone of coming up with a violent protest just setting the probably-goes-without-saying ground rules for BikePGH support. No harm intended by that comment.


Pseudacris
Participant
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Ugh, just got back from out of town. This is terrible news. Wishing the best for the injured cyclists.


Lyle
Participant
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If you think the comments at wtae are hateful, you haven’t seen the comments at kdka about the open hydrant in Homewood that caused a landslide.


Mick
Participant
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@scott Trib is ink (tomorrow). KDKA was TV. Not sure if there’s a link yet.

Trib:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_739815.html


bikeygirl
Participant
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:/

I just dislike the situation -period. I had such a great weekend of bike-riding at the GAP sat & sun, to read the news the next day about this Hit & Run really sat sour on me.

@ejwme: You are right, to express our concern publicly, or having to do it due to these kind of accidents, is indeed an agenda -an unfortunate one at it.

@scott:I hear you, and I think everyone knows well-enough already that not only is BikePgh’s position, but I think most of those people who post regularly in here, to try to enact change and concern in a non-violently way only.

The only point I tried to make with my post was to show support for the injured cyclists and their families -that is all.

That is all.


sarah_q
Participant
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My letter to the editor in the P-G about this ran today (second one down).

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11152/1150431-110-0.stm

Do you think the city might be open to some public service announcements or other free advertising that would educate drivers that cyclists have a right to be on the road?


scott
Keymaster
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Thanks Sarah, great letter!


edmonds59
Participant
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Then immediately after your letter (sarah q) they put a letter from Wayne Goodworth of Ross citing irrelevant bullshit about some cyclists not observing the law and police ought to enforce the law. Really. Makes me feel like looking up this dickhead and slapping the shit out of him. Asshole.

After reading the very good Trib article about the two guys involved, outstanding people, children’s doctor’s, I am beyond pissed at an idiot comment like that.

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