"no criminal charges are expected"
I have had mostly positive experiences with motorcyclists… except for one incident where I was passed by one on the right at 20-30 mph as I rode up the liberty ave bike lane.
I’ve been passed by motorcycles in my lane while on a bicycle, and it is terrifying. Moreso than a car passing too close, for some reason. It’s not that hard on a MC to give plenty of room.
There will always be the stupid outliers in both two wheeled cultures. I was passed by a motorcycle once, riding on the shoulder in excess of 80mph (speed estimated by the fact that I was driving a car about 70mph at the time).
I have had cyclists pass me close enough I could feel their breeze. Silent, and just as startling.
Kind of an on-topic article about Automotive Violence: We Need ‘Broken Windows’ for Traffic Crimes
The article starts with this phrase, quite similar to this thread’s title: “No criminality was suspected.”
I can say, without a doubt, if there is ever one group of guys who are gonna be cool who I would never expect them to be, it is the leather clad Harley guys. No matter the size of their bike they have the same concerns. Lots of them can be idiots, but every group has that. They share the same issues and most of them are smart enough to recognize that. Often times in my encounters with them (gas stations and such) they have the bigger brother attitude but that comes with the price tag of their bike.
The issue with bikes is really the kids that get a bike that has more horsepower than most peoples first car and a top speed of 200mph with the ability to hit 100 in less than a few seconds.
interesting article, thank you for posting.
I agree with the premise that a crackdown is needed by law enforcement so that automobile crime is no longer considered “inevitable” like certain other crimes were in the 90’s. When I was living in west Africa, people begging and selling on the street would run right up to and often on top of vehicles in traffic if they were going slow enough to keep up with, shoving their hands (and sometimes wares) into the occupants’ faces. I never got used to it, and locals were always amazed when I explained that this was prohibited in the US, police dragged them away. They saw it as inevitable, including the pickpocketing that accompanied it.
But associating the ‘broken window’ campaign with anything other than changed attitudes towards crime, including a diminished crime rate, is a little far fetched. When the population at large has been taught by law enforcement to expect swift retribution from the system, the act is then seen as an actual crime, it’s perpetrators become criminals. Whether or not it happens as often, that’s a different issue. I hope the two would be related, but I’m not confident they are. Especially after having read Freakonomics.
We need BOTH. Changed attitudes towards traffic incidents, and a decrease in the occurance. I don’t know what will encourage both to happen, but actually criminalizing it won’t hurt either (if the system can hold the line long enough for public opinion to adjust to the new norm). What would be disastrous would be implementing a half-measure, then back-tracking when the populace balks.
The last line of the article is the essense:
New York councilmember James Vacca said… “We don’t accept gun violence as a way to die. We shouldn’t accept traffic deaths as a way to die either.”
It would be nice if there were crackdowns on dangerous motor vehicle violations everywhere.
NYC has a lot of pedestrians and a large population of prosperous carless people. Seems like a good place for MV traffic enforcement to start.
If you read Streetsblog, they make it seem that NYPD could give a shit about traffic related deaths which is in contrast to what the DOT is doing to try to prevent them.
I wonder what was the impetus behind strict penalties for MV infractions in work zones. Is there a difference between how police handle a vehicle hitting a construction worker versus a vehicle hitting a cyclist or pedestrian?
The cynic in me says that it’s because highway workers “have” to be in traffic, while those interloping peds and cyclists should know better, and deserve what they get if they trespass in the road.
I think that in certain narrowly defined situations, with specific priviledged constituencies, there’s a nascent awareness that “vehicle violence” is unacceptable.
Kill a pedestrian while driving, it’s OK.
Kill a pedestrian drunk driving, it’s not OK.
Kill a person walking on the highway, it’s OK.
Kill a state highway worker, it’s not OK.
Kill a bicyclist, it’s OK.
Kill a mom pushing an infant, it’s not OK.
I’m hoping that means we’re about to realize that Vehicle Violence is not an Acceptable Accident at any time, and the change is just happening in slightly irregular waves.
We kill as many people on the roads as we lose to cancer, each and every year. Our war deaths pale in comparison.
(and I guess that’s another topic)
@reddan Or I’m wondering if perhaps the construction workers are effective at lobbying
re: work zones, it turns out that work zones are like accident factories, but it’s fairly rarely the workers who are part of the collision. my WAG is that some reasonable person said “hey, construction areas are very dangerous for all road users. we should do something about that.” and then some politician said “think of those poor workers! they’re only doing their job!” and that sold the idea to legislators.
but honestly, if there was some predictable methodology by which some bills become law and others don’t, i have yet to see it.
So the big news last night – two young nursing students, who stopped to help some idiot who fell asleep and rolled his car, had to jump from a bridge to avoid nearly being hit by an oncoming truck, they are now in critical condition. The “news” mentions nothing of the truck that nearly clipped them, no word of an investigation, anything, just that many people are praying for them. Yay. Our society as a whole is criminally insane.
How about this one? Father falls asleep at the wheel with his kids in the car, drifts into the oncoming lane and causes a head on collision. No charges have been filed.
@rsprake: so what’s the suggestion here? The father did it on purpose? He wanted to harm the other driver? he’s a negligent driver? What are you saying?
The event just happened. It is “still under investigation.” Should they just start charging him with crimes without investigating and having all their facts straight?
For all I know the guy was DUI. OR… maybe he suffered a stroke or seizure… Point is we just don’t know. That is why they investigate.
And please, spare me the predictable flip-flop boy posts. These are apples and oranges.
My suggestion is that he was negligent. The only way he gets charged with anything is if he was over the legal limit. That’s the cynic in me.
Here’s an Austin Tx blogger who uses almost the same persistent terminology: The Bull is Alive and Well in Austin.
I posted this article on my Facebook page, where I have a large number of non-cyclist, unenlightened friends. (If you’re on my FB friend list, that would not be you.) I’m curious just what sort of response I’m going to get there. Meanwhile, perhaps, a couple of people might be enlightened.
Well, apparently there is some threshold at which justice is served. The son’s comments about “accidents” are notable. Don’t watch the video without some tissues handy.
Regarding the work zone infractions:
I was part of a project in school that looked at ways to improve worker safety (funded by msa, hence the focus). The amount of data available for worker injuries related to traffic/vehicles was astounding. Everything that SHOULD be gathered every time there is an accident actually was, and it stacked up to horrifying numbers that presented well on screen in front of an audience. Combined with the fact that it’s a specific group, not just some random mom, nurse, or whomever else may test injured or killed otherwise, I think people some how empathize better. I also immediately got shot down for saying better laws and enforcement were ultimately the best way to make our construction workers safe, and would simultaneously help others as well. No money in that though, so we better keep making safety equipment instead, pretty much admitting there is a problem.
Not to sound like a jerk, but I hate those “my mommy works here” construction signs. Someone’s mom works everywhere, and chances are she had to walk for some portion of that commute to get there. Why do guys (and gals) who understand how traffic works, are probably more aware of their surroundings, but happen to be near it more often get all the attention? I think they are great improvements for workers, because there ARE a lot of injuries there, but how do we spread the love.
Once again, the weather takes the blame for people driving inappropriately for conditions:
Whiteout blamed for two bad multiple-vehicle crashes
Whiteout conditions in northern Pennsylvania today led to at least two bad multiple-vehicle accidents, one with fatalities.
At least two people were killed in a multi-vehicle, chain-reaction crash on Interstate 80 in Venango County this afternoon.
People should know to 1) slow down to an appropriate speed and 2) if that speed is less tahn 40 mph, put on your blinkers.
I suppose it is remotely possible that the drivers did repond sensibly and still there was an accident. But it’s also remotely posible that I will win the lotto, too. Unlikely.
To me, the kneejerk blame the weather and not the drivers is foolish.
yeah, but, to be fair, “society’s collective acquiescence to danger presented by automobile use blamed for two bad multiple-vehicle crashes” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Weather conditions can and do change rapidly, but if you’re driving safely before and not following too closely you have a better chance of being able to avoid such things.
I was in a very minor accident a few years ago. The weather was nice, etc. but the vehicle two cars in front of me slammed on his brakes. The car in front of me and I stopped without contacting anything (although we both PANIC stopped). Then a second or so after I had come to a complete stop the guy behind me slammed into me pushing me into the car in front of me. No one was hurt & only minor damage to all cars involved.
My point is that a lot of these drivers could have been driving perfectly correct for the conditions, only to be caught up in the mess by no fault of their own – especially since 18 wheelers were involved. But obviously there were others driving way too fast for conditions.
@ markko True enough.
I’ve been on the turnpike in storm. I’ve driven a faster than I felt was appropriate for the weather condition because I was worried about being hit from behind. Most of the people at my speed (under 40) did not have their blinkers on – and they seriously should have.
There were people that passed at roughly 70 mph, too.
Sadly, one of my co-workers was killed in the crash in Venango County, along with her husband. It’s pretty somber around here today as the reality of a friend and colleague’s untimely death sets in.
From the article about them in today’s Tribune Review, it sounds like they were rear ended by a tractor trailer, which ultimately had to be removed from their car with an overhead crane.
To the extent that anyone is suggesting that the deceased were at fault, I’d respectfully say that you should reserve judgment because, among other reasons, you weren’t there. I too will reserve judgment, although I must say I have a hard time understanding how a tractor trailer landed on their car without the truck driver being substantially at fault.
Jacob, I am sorry about your friend. I wasn’t suggesting that it was any one person’s fault, just that these things are preventable in most cases.
Most of the people at my speed (under 40) did not have their blinkers on – and they seriously should have.
There were people that passed at roughly 70 mph, too.
This is usually my experience as well and as someone who grew up in the snow belt of Erie county I have a lot of it. You have the people going below the speed limit and not letting anyone know that they are with their blinkers, and you have the people who think they are better drivers than everyone else who don’t slow to assess the situation before proceeding.
Jacob, really sorry for your loss, that totally sucks.
I’ve totaled a car in a white out. Conditions can change from “fine and dandy” to “too dangerous” sometimes faster than one can can safely adjust (even if you were quite safe moments before), and sadly, sometimes faster than the person behind you can adjust as well.
For some reason, I find myself mentally applying two separate sets of reasoning to highway travel and non-highway travel. I find very few acceptable reasons for “accidents” on regular roads, but somehow on highways, with the higher speeds and the implications the laws of physics require, I see more room for unpredictable craziness to hit the safest of drivers. Not than an on-ramp means responsibility with caution is thrown to the wind, but somehow I can’t see the situations the same.
Culturally seeing traffic deaths as avoidable AND tragic would only help users of both types of roads be safer. The “avoidable” bit is the tricky one.
Again, really sorry for your loss Jacob.
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