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Another senseless death
May 13, 2006 7:52 PM   Subscribe

A memorial ride is taking place tomorrow in New York City in memory of a fourteen-year-old boy who was rundown on his bike last year. This man is responsible for the death and there are many unanswered questions. No charges have been filed, but what is more disturbing is the lack of remorse from the young man who was responsible for this tragedy.
posted by jennababy (73 comments total)

 
Legaly, bicycles are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities. It's irresponsible to claim that Jose was 'responsible' for the death simply because he was involved in the accident.

The web page claming that he is an alcoholic (and, I assume implying that he was drunk the night he hit the kid) is a nice touch, though.
posted by delmoi at 7:57 PM on May 13, 2006


I'm down. My mom will approve. Any other NYC folks thinking of doing this?
posted by hermitosis at 8:00 PM on May 13, 2006


Are they going to drink and run Jose down with their bikes?
posted by pmbuko at 8:07 PM on May 13, 2006


Sad.
posted by dog food sugar at 8:11 PM on May 13, 2006


He's responsible solely for the fact he included "sending bikers flying in the air" as a hobby on his website.
posted by setanor at 8:25 PM on May 13, 2006


Let me see if I am understanding the accident correctly. So a bike carrying Andre Anderson is followed by an SUV carrying Jose Vicens. Andre may be in between two eastbound lanes or in the middle of the right lane (depending on what story you believe). Jose tried to pass Andre on the right side of a wide four-lane street. Andre moves to the left to left him by. Jose hits Andre.
posted by Alison at 8:27 PM on May 13, 2006


It only takes a little computer savvy to find out a lot about Jose Vicens, thanks to his My Space account: his heavy drinking , his hobby "sending bikers flying in the air" and his feelings " sucks about the paper [The Wave article] and shit, but ya know none of that shit wont matter in 5 years."

Whether Jose is guilty or not it takes a special kind of douchebag to write something like that on My Space. That is, if he actually wrote it.
posted by Alison at 8:30 PM on May 13, 2006


Having read the details, I think the driver sounds like a prick, but I find nothing about the details that strikes me as odd (maybe that the driver went to confirm his story before attempting to help the victim, but that doesn't mean it wasn't an accident, just that he's an asshole.) The pages didn't seem too interested in pushing the details of the case and seemed more concerned with biker's rights, etc.

From the unanswered questions link:

Aggressive and unsafe passing

I don't see any evidence to indicate that the guy was passing the bike aggressively or unsafely. I don't know if this kid was doing it, but I've seen bikers act like they own the road, driving in between lanes, or all over multiple lanes, or just right in the middle of the road like they own the place. It is plausible that it occured here. It seems plausible to me that the biker may have failed to notice the car until the last minute, at which point he swerved right (assuming incorrectly that the car would try to pass him on the left.)

Speeding?

Blunt trauma injuries at 35 mph and below can easily be as severe as the ones in this case. You can die from being struck by a vastly more massive object (like a bus) at only 10-15 mph. These injuries are actually entirely consistant with 35 mph speeds, and could easily be FAR more severe at the higher speeds they are suggesting the injury occured at (such as avulsed limbs, high acceleration damage, etc.) There was just a case on the internet lately of a woman who got hit on the interstate at 75 mph; she got cut entirely in half.

Note that the bicycle is a vehicle, and the car passing him was under no obligation whatsoever to slow down while doing so. I would have, and it was extremely impolite, callous, and stupid not to, but he wasn't required to, not on a four lane road.

A young male driver

Well, what the hell was he supposed to do, not drive or get a sex change? That this appears on the list is bigotry, plain and simple. His age and sex prove NOTHING.

Police and prosecutorial indifference

This is bad, but once again proves nothing.

This statistical evidence is meaningless to the case. What I'd actually like to see is the testimony of the other witness, the physical details of the case, and an alcohol test of the driver (I'm certain one was taken with a fatal accident involved.) All this talk of him being alcoholic is meaningless without knowing if he was drunk during the crash itself.

Basically it bothers me that all the pages seem much more interested in pushing their agenda than on seeking justice in this particular case. I ride bicycles often, and it is important to me that drivers drive safely around me, but it is important to remember that the bicyclist has a responsibility to ride safely as well. It is not impossible that the bicyclist caused the crash in this instance.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:41 PM on May 13, 2006


I sincerely hope, if I am ever on trial, that I have a jury as thoughtful and fair-minded as the posters here on MetaFilter.
posted by SPrintF at 8:53 PM on May 13, 2006


I sincerely hope, if I am ever on trial, that I have a jury as thoughtful and fair-minded as the posters here on MetaFilter.

That's pretty unlikely.
posted by delmoi at 9:06 PM on May 13, 2006


Note that the bicycle is a vehicle, and the car passing him was under no obligation whatsoever to slow down while doing so. I would have, and it was extremely impolite, callous, and stupid not to, but he wasn't required to, not on a four lane road.

I'm not a traffic attorney, but aren't you required to keep your speed within 10-15 miles per hour of other vehicles when you're passing them? I know this is pretty egregriously violated on freeways all the time, but I think this would be a standard city street rule.
posted by onalark at 9:29 PM on May 13, 2006


Mitrovarr:
Speeding?
Blunt trauma injuries at 35 mph and below can easily be as severe as the ones in this case.


From a link in the post:
the speed limit is 30 mph and the car driver admitted driving above the speed limit (35 to 40 mph)

Assuming this blog is correct, Vicens was speeding. Even 5-10mph over the speed limit contributes significantly to (1) Vicens' ability to avoid slower road users (2) the likelihood of a collision causing the death of the boy.

I don't see any evidence to indicate that the guy was passing the bike aggressively or unsafely.

As far as I'm concerned, the evidence is the death of Andre Anderson. I've cycled and driven for many years and I find it very hard to think of a set of circumstances where I would be unable to avoid hitting from behind a road user I was passing. I can imagine one moving into the side of me, but one should always be prepared for a sudden manoeuvre as one approaches to pass e.g. braking or swerving.

I know nothing of the laws in New York and it may be that this sort of behaviour (aside from the speeding) is perfectly legal. I'm writing about safety and responsibility on the road.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Some other links not in the post:

This news report has a picture of the remains of Andre Anderson's bike.

Here's a picure of Andre's mother by the spot where her son died.

Going back to Jose Vicens character, which I agree is not related to his culpability, here's another charming (alleged) quote from his myspace:
who will remember that that kid existed in five years?
posted by Busy Old Fool at 9:44 PM on May 13, 2006


onalark: I'm not a traffic attorney, but aren't you required to keep your speed within 10-15 miles per hour of other vehicles when you're passing them? I know this is pretty egregriously violated on freeways all the time, but I think this would be a standard city street rule.

I don't know. I don't think I've heard of that law before, although I would consider it a good safety practice to do so regardless. Traffic laws can vary somewhat by location; maybe it is where you live, but not where this occured.

Even if he was violating this regulation (as well as speeding slightly) it doesn't necessarily put him at fault. If his story is to be believed, then the bicyclist was also violating regulations (riding between lanes, changing lanes without signaling, etc.) In that case the police, prosecutor, and jury must decide who's violation of regulations contributed to the accident. Either, both, or neither still could be found to be at fault.

It is worrysome that the police seem so disinterested in investigating this case. I do think that there needs to be an investigation, maybe a trial, and a rational determination of fault; the driver should not be unfairly persecuted, but neither should he be unfairly ignored. Justice must be served.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:46 PM on May 13, 2006


Busy Old Fool: Assuming this blog is correct, Vicens was speeding. Even 5-10mph over the speed limit contributes significantly to (1) Vicens' ability to avoid slower road users (2) the likelihood of a collision causing the death of the boy.

Well, perhaps this is true, but nearly everyone speeds 5-10 mph and that did not necessarily cause the accident. I don't think we should try the guy for vehicular homicide or reckless driving based purely on an extremely common driving violation that is done by the vast majority. 5-10 mph speeding would not have caused an accident if the bicyclist and/or SUV driver had not otherwise created a dangerous situation, so investigating what created that dangerous situation seems to me more logical than concentrating on a minor mitigating factor.

As for the safety of the SUV driver's passing, well, I'm concentrating on the legal aspects. I would NEVER pass a cyclist at full speed without being able to put at least one full lane between my car and them. I would also never pass a cyclist on the right at full speed regardless of the situation. My analysis was based on the legality of the case, not so much the courtesy/safety of the driver. I think, assuming the myspace page is really written by the driver (it could be a forgery), he's already proven himself to be the world's biggest asshole. But that doesn't mean he should necessarily be arrested or that he necessarily caused the accident.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:54 PM on May 13, 2006


onalark: In the US, don't traffic regs vary by state? Maybe it's a local thing.
posted by kaemaril at 9:55 PM on May 13, 2006


I find this all a little upsetting. If this was some road weary bike messenger, or me on my track bike, swerving in the middle of the road to piss off some prick in a Navigator who looked at me sideways, I might find comments like this

Note that the bicycle is a vehicle, and the car passing him was under no obligation whatsoever to slow down while doing so. I would have, and it was extremely impolite, callous, and stupid not to, but he wasn't required to, not on a four lane road.

reasonable. But this was a kid. On a bmx bike. Your goddamn obligation, when you're driving a huge, motorized vehicle (regardless of whether a bike is a "vehicle" or not), is to not hit a little kid on a bike from behind. INAL (though I will be in six months or so) but who cares about this asshole's "obligation" in this situation? This accident, even on the perpetrator's account, could easily have been avoided unless you honestly think the kid had a death wish.

This is not another case of cyclists thinking they own the road. This is a kid. On a bmx bike. Who is dead now. I'm absolutely unprepared to cede the point that the prick in the truck didn't break any laws when he killed this young man but, regardless, who cares? Isn't there a moral obligation involved here? And isn't that important?
posted by leecifer at 10:00 PM on May 13, 2006


"sending bikers flying in the air"

"who will remember that that kid existed in five years?"

Can someone post the links to these comments on the MySpace or other sites? I looked through the links given, and only for the offensive quotes in the e-mails & not actually in the guy's postings.
posted by slm303 at 10:06 PM on May 13, 2006


I'm not a traffic attorney, but aren't you required to keep your speed within 10-15 miles per hour of other vehicles when you're passing them? I know this is pretty egregriously violated on freeways all the time, but I think this would be a standard city street rule.

I didn't read that in my driver's manual. What I do remember is that you're allowed to go up to five miles an hour above the speed limit when you do pass.

onalark: In the US, don't traffic regs vary by state? Maybe it's a local thing.

Driving laws are state laws in the United States.

As far as I'm concerned, the evidence is the death of Andre Anderson. I've cycled and driven for many years and I find it very hard to think of a set of circumstances where I would be unable to avoid hitting from behind a road user I was passing.

But it isn't hard for me. Like if the bike swerved into my lane as I was trying to pass it, which is what it sounds like happened, or at least what sounds like happened from the driver's story. (And the single, biased witnesses the police interviewed)

I wasn't there and neither were you. But what we do know is that it is possible for a car to crash into a bicycle, resulting in the death of the bicyclist, and being entirely the cyclist fault.

A bicycle is my only means of transportation, and I have actually been hit by a car while biking (I had the right of way, and the driver tried to make a right turn on red right into me) I would prefer that bikes were given 'special' privileges since bicycle collisions are for the most part non-lethal, and car collisions are not. But bikes are not. And since we don't know what happened, we shouldn't pass judgment.

And we certainly shouldn't say that because this person drinks he is a murder.
posted by delmoi at 10:10 PM on May 13, 2006


leecifer: I'm not saying it's not tragic, it is. When I drive I assume every other driver is drunk. I look out for everything, but that doesn't mean that this driver was guilty of a crime.

This was an accident. It's tragic, but that doesn't mean we have to send someone to jail.
posted by delmoi at 10:13 PM on May 13, 2006


leecifer: Isn't there a moral obligation involved here? And isn't that important?

Yes. But I was mostly addressing the legal aspects of the situation. However, I do believe I did say the guy was being 'stupid, callous, and impolite' when he made the decision to pass on the right at full speed. I would not drive in such a way myself.

Also, just because a child was involved does not mean the adult is responsible. Children sometimes act unpredictably and cause accidents, running out into the road from between parked cars and so forth, and the adults that hit them are not necessarily to blame. Sometimes an accident is just an unfortunate mistake and blame does not have to be assigned.

In this case, while the guy was speeding and driving in what I would consider a rude and aggresive manner, if it was the bicyclist's swerve into the right lane that caused the accident, the cyclist is primarily at fault. Even if he's a kid. Besides, the driver of the SUV cannot really be expected to know that (a 14 year old can easily be the size of an adult.)

In other words; while the driver was speeding and driving like an asshole, stupidly assuming a bicycle on the road was going to act like a car and follow all regulations, if the cyclist swerved into his path and cut him off the cyclist is still primarily at fault.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:20 PM on May 13, 2006


Oh good, a bike thread. All the put-upon bikers can take the side of the dead cyclist, and all the people who drive and are annoyed by bikes can take the side of the driver, and I'm sure some good will come of it all.
posted by smackfu at 10:21 PM on May 13, 2006


I'm absolutely unprepared to cede the point that the prick in the truck didn't break any laws

How's that then? The guy in the truck sounds like a grade-A asshole and he's probably responsible for this kid's death, but that's not the same as breaking the law. Is there a reason why you are so sure that he was breaking the law?

My primary means of transportation is my bike, in a city (London) where that can be dangerous, and I've been hit by a car a few times, none of them my fault. A lot of drivers are inconsiderate dicks, or just plain imcompetent, but from the limited evidence available to us, it seems quite possible that it was just a tragic accident. Like when you walk towards someone on the street, and there's that weird back and forth before one of you gets out of the way, only at higher speed.
In any case, he may be a massive prick - if he really made those comments, he sure is - but finding pictures of him drinking and then insinuating that he was probably drunk at the time is pretty uncool.

Trial by internet is never a good idea.

on preview:

'This was an accident. It's tragic, but that doesn't mean we have to send someone to jail.
posted by delmoi at 6:13 AM GMT on May 14'

I think I saw a CSI episode ages ago where a girl was killed in an accident, and her parents had a hard time understanding that there wasn't someone to blame

smackfu:
yes, because near universal condemnation of this guy by everyone in the thread alongside posts by bike riders urging caution before we judge the driver certainly looks like it will turn into that.
posted by atrazine at 10:26 PM on May 13, 2006


From the "cars-suck.org" website: "and fighting back against car domination"

Dunno about you guys, but a lot of what I've read sounds like very biased 'information' by a bunch of car-hating bike nazis.
Couldn't find any of the alleged comments on the myspace account either. If they existed, they should have at least grabbed a screenshot or something.

Sometimes the car hating crowd takes things a little too far. Sometimes it's not the "big evil SUV" that's 100% responsible for the incident. But many of the bike riding car haters I've met are always quick to lay blame on whoever happens to be in one of those "metal deathtraps" and never accept any of the blame for their own actions.

Maybe this was all just a huge accident. No real need for the internet vigilante actions.
posted by drstein at 10:35 PM on May 13, 2006


Mitrovarr,

You are entirely right to separate the legality and safety issues, the confusion of which can only lead to arguing at cross-purposes. I have no idea whether Vicens' driving was legal according to local laws. However, I am fairly sure it was dangerous and believe that someone who causes death while driving dangerously should be investigated to discover the degree to which their driving contributed to the death.

Well, perhaps this is true

If by 'this' you mean Vicens' speeding, then I agree with your 'perhaps'. If you mean my assertion that speeding 5-10mph leads to greater stopping distances and much increased fatality rates, then I don't see any 'perhaps' at all.

I don't think we should try the guy for vehicular homicide or reckless driving based purely on an extremely common driving violation that is done by the vast majority.

I can't see that the frequency of speeding is relevant. Drunk driving used to be extremely common, but that didn't make it any less of a contributing factor to accidents.

I think, assuming the myspace page is really written by the driver (it could be a forgery), he's already proven himself to be the world's biggest asshole. But that doesn't mean he should necessarily be arrested or that he necessarily caused the accident.

While this is true, I can't see anyone in this thread or in the links directly connecting the accident and his attitude. Perhaps it's unfortunate to be discussing them at the same time, since it distracts from the (IMO) central issue of road safely, but the quotes attributed are too egregious to easily pass over.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 10:43 PM on May 13, 2006


My earlier hysteria notwithstanding, I largely agree with smackfu. Bike threads here are hard. And mostly counterproductive.

atrazine: I don't think what I said even implied that I assumed this guy was guilty of a crime. I said that I was unprepared to say he was not guilty of a crime. Seems worth looking into, is all.

I agree that it may well all be an accident. But a run-down-from-behind is suspicious. To say the least. In car insurance world it's presumed that the rear-ender is at fault. So, I think this guy should have to do better than this totally baloney sounding storey that he's given so far.
posted by leecifer at 10:51 PM on May 13, 2006


dang...I said "storey."
posted by leecifer at 10:58 PM on May 13, 2006


Busy Old Fool: I can't see that the frequency of speeding is relevant. Drunk driving used to be extremely common, but that didn't make it any less of a contributing factor to accidents.

No, that's true. However, drunk driving is highly likely to directly cause an accident, while slight speeding is only likely to slightly increase the risk of an accident should a dangerous condition occur and somewhat increase the danger of it. Furthermore, speed limits are often designed around the idea that everyone is going to violate them by 5-10 mph, so the road may have actually been designed to be driven at 35-40 with the idea that drivers would slightly exceed this. Finally, drunk driving is always a direct conscious decision, but slight speeding can easily occur due to mild negligence.

Also, I don't trust your link. That site talks positively about speed cameras, while the sources I have read about speed and red light cameras say that traffic engineers are against them, and they are primarily designed to collect revenue and in fact increase accidents due to causing rear end collisions. A site that speaks glowingly of them may be aligned with the industry, and thus biased.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:04 PM on May 13, 2006


delmoi:
But it isn't hard for me. Like if the bike swerved into my lane as I was trying to pass it,

In that case, I would ask myself why I couldn't swerve or slow down sufficiently. If the answer was my speed or the location I chose to overtake, then I would consider myself partially responsible. As before, this is not a legal opinion, nor do I imagine is it everyone's approach to road safety. Personally, I believe the current level of carnage on the roads is unacceptable and attitudes to road safety should change accordingly. Perhaps I overstated, but I don't find it that hard to avoid situations where all but the most extreme behaviour from a cyclist could be allowed for.

I would prefer that bikes were given 'special' privileges since bicycle collisions are for the most part non-lethal, and car collisions are not. But bikes are not.

Again, the danger here is confusing legality and responsibility. In the country where this accident occured, bikes don't have such privileges (although that's not true everywhere). However, in the context of the open question of who we individually believe is responsible in such situations, we can afford bicycles, motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and horse riders whatever privileges, rights and responsibilities we choose.

And since we don't know what happened, we shouldn't pass judgment.

Agreed. We are all speculating, which is rarely wise. One problem is that the police investigation appears to have left us little in the way of hard facts to go on.

And on that note, I'm off to ride my bike. Thanks for the civility so far.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 11:29 PM on May 13, 2006


Cars-Suck.org is implying the accident was caused by alcohol, based on the fact the guy has photos of him holding beer on his MySpace account. That's bullshit. True, he wasn't given a breathalizer, but I'm sure the cops would have done so had he acted impared or had alcohol breath.

This is a horribly tragic accident but it doesn't mean Jose is a murderer - even if he does look like a Grade A Asshole.
posted by b_thinky at 11:38 PM on May 13, 2006


99.9% of people on MySpace are insufferable retards so um I don't know why it's a stretch to believe anything else bad about the guy.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:25 AM on May 14, 2006


Cycling threads always make me glad no mefites live near me.
posted by srboisvert at 1:45 AM on May 14, 2006


Basically it bothers me that all the pages seem much more interested in pushing their agenda than on seeking justice in this particular case.

Exactly. I didn't find any screenshots of his comments about sending bikers flying or all of that. And I kind of need to see it to believe it.

All that Right of Way seemed to be showing me was that Jose liked to drink and he liked girls and softcore porn. Oh, and that he was young and male. That's about enough to condemn most of the guys I'm friends with.

(I'm also not sure what makes someone say that Andre Anderson look like a wanker. Looks like a cute kid to me, but what do I know?)

I see drivers and bikers both do stupid shit every day in Manhattan. Bike deaths are a big problem here, from what I understand, but no amount of petty criticism about Jose Vicens will bring Andre Anderson back to life; but proactive movements (like the one mentioned here to install traffic lights on Shore Front Parkway) might be something.
posted by anjamu at 1:49 AM on May 14, 2006


Also, out of curiosity, is it mentioned anywhere if Andre Anderson was/was not wearing a helmet?
posted by anjamu at 1:54 AM on May 14, 2006


[...] but I've seen bikers act like they own the road [...] or just right in the middle of the road like they own the place [...] Well, perhaps this is true, but nearly everyone speeds 5-10 mph and that did not necessarily cause the accident. -- Mitrovarr

Dunno about you guys, but a lot of what I've read sounds like very biased 'information' by a bunch of car-hating bike nazis. -- drstein
Legality discussions aside for a second, every time cyclist safety is discussed, people on Metafilter jump to the driver's defense. I hate the fact that so many people here jump to be apologists for this guy because they empathize with the driver because driving is something that is or is imagined to be essential to your lifestyle.

The fact is that the driving lifestyle is a choice. The choice may or may not improve your standard of living, I'm not convinced, but it is a choice. You choose where you live, where that is relative to where you choose to work, and how many children you choose to support with the resources you choose to support them with.

Well, I'm biased too. I empathize with the bicyclist. That's the lifestyle I've chosen for moral, health and career reasons. But being a pedestrian or bicyclist who interacts with streets and may be killed by automobiles is not a choice, because asphalt is everywhere. No matter how removed you feel from the possibility of a death like this happening to you or your loved ones, you are wrong. If you're healthy and you die today, odds are better than not that a car will be involved.

You will keep on blaming the victim, though. Just don't pretend to yourself that what you say is any better than the hateful words Jose Vincens posted on MySpace.

Callously dangerous drivers get off the hook all the time because juries can see themselves in the drivers' shoes. I would argue that this says more about the average American than it does about the seriousness of the crime. It's so bad that police never, ever follow-up with non-fatal reckless drivers in bicycle cases, even when fault is extremely clear.

Imagine that maybe there's a rational reason why I have a chip on my shoulder. I know more about car culture than the average driver knows about car-free living, because I grew up in cars, most of my friends drive cars and all of my family drives cars. I am imperfect, too, and sometimes I am required to drive cars. Recognizing my imperfection, I try very hard to limit my driving to emergencies.

I can honestly say that I hate the act of driving. Point me to the place that I can live peacefully and I never have to deal with automobiles on a day-to-day basis ever again and I will quiet down my proselytizing.

Cars kill more people in America than falls, poison, drowning, fire, suffocation, guns, and machinery combined, with about 10,000 more deaths on top of that. If you think I'm a extremist, at the very least take away the wisdom that your car is the single most dangerous tool that you own. Most people are lulled into a sense of security from the familiarity and comfort of the modern automobile. If you handle your firearms or your chainsaw with deliberate care, then you should handle your car with just as much care. Answering without bias, do you drive safely enough?
posted by Skwirl at 2:44 AM on May 14, 2006


From what I've read of the articles, it seems like Andre (bicyclist) was in the left lane of two travel lanes; I kind of question why a bicyclist is ever in the left lane, unless he/she is turning, but I guess they're legally a "vehicle" and entitled to be there if they want to be. It sounds like Jose (SUVer) came up behind the bicyclist, and then attempted to pass him on the right. As far as I can tell, this is the only illegal thing he was doing (other than going slightly over the posted limit).

Unfortunately, as Jose made to pass Andre on the right, Andre moved into the right lane and into the path of the SUV. This isn't hard to believe, speaking as a bicyclist: without mirrors he might not have known where the vehicle behind him was exactly, and could have moved right in front of it inadvertently.

All in all I think the recriminations are probably useless at this point; what would be a lot more useful is to concentrate on how to prevent these things in the future: helmets, rider and driver education, bicycle lanes, and better signals all seem to be possibilities, and ones that won't get addressed if people only focus on retribution.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:53 AM on May 14, 2006


You will keep on blaming the victim, though. Just don't pretend to yourself that what you say is any better than the hateful words Jose Vincens posted on MySpace.

Who blamed the victim? Seriously!? It's a terrible accident, but accidents do happen on the road. Even if the driver is at fault, it doesn't necessarily make him criminal or murderous. Not all accidents are crimes.
posted by b_thinky at 3:18 AM on May 14, 2006


Skwirl: Legality discussions aside for a second, every time cyclist safety is discussed, people on Metafilter jump to the driver's defense. I hate the fact that so many people here jump to be apologists for this guy because they empathize with the driver because driving is something that is or is imagined to be essential to your lifestyle.

You mistake me for an apologist when I merely want to say that we should not go after the driver without evidence because it's possible that the bicyclist may have been at fault. Which he might have been. I drive cars and ride bikes, and I know both activities are dangerous. I do both with care. However, I observe people being careless idiots at both activities. You need to admit that some bike riders are reckless fools and they can cause accidents.

A smaller, lighter vehicle is not magically a cure for stupidity, and a lot of otherwise intelligent people think it's ok to ride it like an idiot because you are only risking your own life (which is not entirely true, you can kill another bike rider or a pedestrian in a bad enough accident. But it's less likely than in a car.) If everyone suddenly jumped on a bike, the car fatalities would go down a lot, certainly. But bike fatalities would go way up. Would it be equivilent? I don't know; cars are more dangerous in accidents, but bikes are a hell of a lot easier to wreck; cars cannot fall over, and require much larger and more dangerous obstacles to crash. I do know for sure that the people who drove cars like jackasses the week before would now drive bikes like jackasses.

The idea that cars are bad and we shouldn't drive will not work in the US. You simply cannot abandon driving in at least 95% of the country's area; public transport and bikes are all well and good in urban areas, but fail miserably in rural areas. Explain to me how a bike is going to get me and my cargo 7 miles across town in the winter. And explain to the people out in the country how public transport will drive them 10 miles out of town to their ranch. As for living in rural areas itself being a lifestyle choice, well, that's where you farm.

Not that we couldn't do less driving, certainly in urban areas. But it is quite necessary for our modern lifestyles.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:22 AM on May 14, 2006


Bike Nazis?

I invite the nay-sayers to go for a leisurely sunday morning ride on a bicycle. Keep on back roads, with less car traffic. In the tri-state NY metro region, never a sunday passed where at least one (and often 4-6) cars didn't aggressively instigate confrontations. Why? Who knows.
Ask anyone who rides regularly with a cycling club. A clear subset of the car driving public resents the presence of cyclists on their roads, and drive amongst cyclists in an accordingly resentful and dangerous manner.
Again, ask around amongst your cycling friends and acquaintances. See if I'm exagerating. Cuz I'm not.

Then, re-read Senor Cuervo's choice comments on this unfortunate matter in light of that simple fact.
posted by Fupped Duck at 3:26 AM on May 14, 2006


I only travel by bike, and I also work in bike education, so I pay a lot of attention to the habits of bicyclists and motorists.

Unfortunately, I have to say that the vast majority of bicyclists are either terribly ignorant of how to ride safely (e.g. riding on the left side of the road, against traffic, in my right-drive country), or just don't care (and of course there are a few who intentionally taunt motorists - those guys are very helpful, of course). It's particularly hard for me to watch it, since I spend my days trying to help people enjoy bikes and not get hurt.

Unfortunately, I also have to say that there is a very vocal, very angry minority of motorists who feel that bicycles belong only on sidewalks, and that I should get out of their goddamned way (in my state, bicycles are legally vehicles). As far as I can tell, the majority silently considers us nuisances - and for the most part (see above), we are.

There are plenty of assholes on both sides, of course. But the main reason I decided to post something is to clarify one small technical point - Mitrovarr mentioned seeing bikers ride "right in the middle of the road like they own the place". This is actually good safety practice in many cases - on a road where there isn't room for a car to safely pass, the bicyclists needs to ride farther left to prevent the driver from unsafely passing. Good drivers won't do this, but a lot of drivers will. If you're a good driver and you're stuck behind a bicyclist in this situation, blame it on the bad drivers - that's why he's doing it. Or blame it on the bicyclist, I guess. Neither one is going to get you to work faster.

That said, that's all I'm saying. I'm not really interested in debating the issue - when bicyclists of any age, experience, or personality get killed by motorists, whether they're drunks or driver's-ed-instructor-devout-monk-saints, it's sad, and it's bad for pretty much everyone. Anything that helps drivers be less mad at bikers, and bikers be less mad at cars is going to be good - we're not going to stop riding, and they're not going to stop driving, so we might as well be friends. (If I were smarter I would tell everyone how to make this happen)
posted by pinespree at 4:01 AM on May 14, 2006


So far, nobody has mentioned the third witness - the one from whom the police failed to take a statement. I would like to hear what that person has to say.

I would also like to know when the alleged myspace comments occurred - before or after the accident. Before shows premeditation, after shows despicable disregard of human life.

Let me see if I am understanding the accident correctly.

How about this - affluent, white, possibly drunken asshole who has cop buddies, while breaking the law in his SUV, crushes a black kid on a bike and his main concern is covering his ass. And he gets away with it.

Sounds like a microcosm of American society.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 4:04 AM on May 14, 2006


(btw, i forgot to say that everything i said applies to where i live - please don't yell at me about how the majority of bicyclists where you live are brilliantly educated and ride properly - i'm happy if they are!)
posted by pinespree at 4:06 AM on May 14, 2006


.
posted by fixedgear at 4:26 AM on May 14, 2006


Cycling threads always make me glad no mefites live near me.

Yeah, me too!

Oh... nevermind.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:36 AM on May 14, 2006


well, if you can't convict people in the courts, you can always convict them on the internet

so where are the links to that hobby comment mr cuervo supposedly said? ... since when does being photographed with a beer in your hand automatically make you a drunk driver?

i have no idea where the blame lies in this accident, as i wasn't there

i do know that mr cuervo probably has excellent grounds for a libel suit, unless someone comes up with proof of these statements and proof that he was drunk when the accident happened

whatever the merits of speculating on what actually caused this accident, it seems to me that the people at cars-suck.org have discredited themselves with their willingness to jump to conclusions and form a digital lynchmob
posted by pyramid termite at 6:22 AM on May 14, 2006


While the NYPD have many faults, I really don't think that they'd let Jose off the hook due to "prosecutorial and police indifference," as one of the original links claims. This is nutty.
posted by bim at 6:24 AM on May 14, 2006


So this guy is accused of drinking while driving and saying cruel things about the kid on my space, both without any proof?

Sounds like a good ol fashion witch hunt to me.

My heart goes out to the family of the kid.
posted by jcking77 at 7:07 AM on May 14, 2006


I return from a great ride to find... virtually no flaming! My goodness.

Mitrovarr: However, drunk driving is highly likely to directly cause an accident, while slight speeding is only likely to slightly increase the risk of an accident should a dangerous condition occur and somewhat increase the danger of it. Furthermore, speed limits are often designed around the idea that everyone is going to violate them by 5-10 mph, so the road may have actually been designed to be driven at 35-40 with the idea that drivers would slightly exceed this. Finally, drunk driving is always a direct conscious decision, but slight speeding can easily occur due to mild negligence.

I didn't mean to draw total equivalence between speeding and drink driving. But the parallels actually stand up on most of your points. I can imagine someone arguing that one drink over the limit only slightly increases the risk of an accident, that roads are built with safety in mind and other drivers are more careful late at night and that it's possible to negligently drink a little too much without realising it. The only major differences are that drinking (usually) happens before one gets in the car and that a drunk driver causes as much damage to victims in a crash as a sober one, whereas a speeding driver causes more.

Also, I don't trust your link. That site talks positively about speed cameras, while the sources I have read about speed and red light cameras say that traffic engineers are against them, and they are primarily designed to collect revenue and in fact increase accidents due to causing rear end collisions. A site that speaks glowingly of them may be aligned with the industry, and thus biased.

This isn't the place to discuss speed cameras and I apologise for not providing a better link. However, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents is an 80 year old charity with a pretty impeccable reputation and interests in home, occupational, product and leisure safety as well as a large education programme. They might be honestly mistaken on speed cameras, but it would be astounding if they were simply being bribed or otherwise commercially influenced.

Here are some similar statistics without the distracting speed camera references:

About 40% of pedestrians who are struck at speeds below 20 mph sustain non-minor injuries. This rises to 90% at speeds up to 30 mph.

This fatality rate represents a 3-fold increase just for that 5-mph increase. (from 25mph to 30mph)

Chances of survival if hit by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph are 95 percent, yet drop to 50 percent at 30 mph and just 15 percent at 40 mph.

If everyone suddenly jumped on a bike, the car fatalities would go down a lot, certainly. But bike fatalities would go way up. Would it be equivalent?

I strongly doubt it. It's exceedingly hard to die on a bike unless there's a motorised vehicle around.

By the way, I agree with just about everything else you've said about not assuming drivers are automatically the sole cause of car-bike accidents, that many cyclists ride execrably, that car use is unavoidable in rural areas, the worrysome lack of attribution of the quotes attributed to Vicens etc. Apologies if I'm coming over as overly combative. This is an issue close to my heart as I have one friend in a wheelchair and another in the ground due to road accidents.

Ultimately I don't believe in multiple-vehicle road accidents without blame. The belief that sometimes two people (cars, bikes, whatever) collide and it's no one's fault is alien to me.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 7:17 AM on May 14, 2006


This was a kid on a bicycle. What about that situation made this sociopathic human garbage in his pathetic surrogate penis made him unable to use a little care to avoid hitting him?
posted by Nicholas West at 7:45 AM on May 14, 2006


Let's try that again.....what about that situation made this sociopathic human garbage wrappted in his pathetic surrogate penis unable to use a little care to avoid hitting him?
posted by Nicholas West at 7:48 AM on May 14, 2006


I give up...this kind of story makes me so angry I can't see straight.
posted by Nicholas West at 7:49 AM on May 14, 2006


I don't know if this kid was doing it, but I've seen bikers act like they own the road, driving in between lanes, or all over multiple lanes, or just right in the middle of the road like they own the place.

I don't know if this guy was doing it, but I've seen drivers act like they own the road, driving in between lanes, or all over multiple lanes, or just right in the middle of the road like they own the place.

(it goes both ways)
posted by heydanno at 7:56 AM on May 14, 2006


"The kid looks like a wanker"

Jesus, you're right! Off with his fucking head!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:14 AM on May 14, 2006


Busy Old Fool: Ultimately I don't believe in multiple-vehicle road accidents without blame. The belief that sometimes two people (cars, bikes, whatever) collide and it's no one's fault is alien to me.

Oh, there's couple ways they can happen. Accidents due to mechanical failure. Accidents due to unpredictable environmental conditions (black ice, violent wind gusts, severe fog in places and times they couldn't reasonably be predicted.) Accidents due to medical conditions.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:39 AM on May 14, 2006


Mitrovarr, you don't demonstrate an understanding of the physics involved. Specifically:

while slight speeding is only likely to slightly increase the risk

30mph compared to 40mph means a 77% increase in energy - almost twice as dangerous! Comparable to going 87mph in a 65mph zone.

Furthermore, speed limits are often designed around the idea that everyone is going to violate them by 5-10 mph.

I hope you can see how misguided that statement is now. Leaving the newtonian physics aside for a moment, you must also realize that any such speculation about the safety margins of road design are based on cars, not Lincoln Navigators, which ride much closer to the safety limit - they are trucks after all.
posted by Chuckles at 12:43 PM on May 14, 2006


Chuckles: Leaving the newtonian physics aside for a moment, you must also realize that any such speculation about the safety margins of road design are based on cars, not Lincoln Navigators, which ride much closer to the safety limit - they are trucks after all.

I suspect that when the engineers designed the road, they took into account that SUVs would be driving on it, as well as everything else from semi trucks to subcompacts. I suspect they also took into account that nearly everyone speeds by 5 mph or so, and designed the speed limit with a safety margin built in. They're not fools.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:59 PM on May 14, 2006


Mitrovarr: I cherrypicked quotes from you to make the point that you're assigning a double standard to bike and automobile fault. You say it's okay for a driver to drive over the speed limit, despite scientific proof that it exponentially increases risk, because everyone does it. However, bicyclists who take the lane (which is legal in most states and a safety and visibility measure) are just asking to be hit. I call shenanigans. This is just as injust a position as the classic "Look what the victim was wearing," example.

Tangentally, Andre would have "[haemorrhaged] a gallon of blood into the abdominal cavity [...]," regardless of helmet use.

Our rural and urban communities are built around the automobile. Some professions, such as farming, require automobiles, but the vast majority of driving is for personal use. For better or for worse, people survived just fine when they never ventured 50 miles from home. Rural life assumes the sacrifice of mobility. Impose the true cost of driving on the individual driver: Road maintenence, oil exploration, medical liability, environmental liability, the opportunity cost of forever paved farmland, and urban sprawl etc... and the marketplace will rush to fill the gap. That might look like public transportation, or it might look like the return of grocery delivery, or it might look like a hundred million bicycles or it might look like smaller, lighter, more efficient cars, or smaller, tighter, more efficient communities. It depends on the individual market. What we have right now is pure, unadulterated, government subsidized waste. It's the senseless waste of 43,000 human lives a year.

My position is summed up by this philosophy from Vision Zero: "It can never be ethically acceptable that people are killed or seriously injured when moving within the road transport system."
posted by Skwirl at 1:06 PM on May 14, 2006


Ack

Bike riders: If I am in a car behind you and have to pass you with little margin, be assured that I will always S_L_O_W down as much as I have to for safety. I cannot drive fast AND respond to oncoming cars AND a bike suddenly veering around a rock/wind/barrier/problem. (I ALWAYS anticipate problems when near bike riders -- and it really doesn't matter if the problem is accidental or due to the rider's negligence!)

Car drivers behind me getting pissed because I am taking time passing bike riders: ... Go FUCK yourselves.

It takes just a few extra minutes to prevent death -- and in cars we are saving hours of peddling/walking/waiting, so ALL drivers have at least a few extra minutes to burn. Why not use them to save a life?
posted by Surfurrus at 1:22 PM on May 14, 2006


Skwirl: You say it's okay for a driver to drive over the speed limit, despite scientific proof that it exponentially increases risk, because everyone does it. However, bicyclists who take the lane (which is legal in most states and a safety and visibility measure) are just asking to be hit. I call shenanigans. This is just as injust a position as the classic "Look what the victim was wearing," example.

What? You completely misunderstood or misrepresented my viewpoint. What I intended was 'Speeding was a minor factor in the accident, and speeding in a minor fashion is commonplace. We must examine who's misconduct actually caused the collision to determine who is truly responsible.' Note that nothing you have said has put forth the idea that a small increase in speed exponentially increases risk (I suspect you mean that it increases as a square function. An exponential function would mean that the variable representing speed was in the exponent.)

Also, you are concentrating on the energy of the car (and let's face it, at 30 mph this would have still been an extremely ugly accident) and stopping distance (the driver tried to evade, not stop, so it's fairly irrelevant.)

Additionally, I never said it was wrong for a bicyclist to use a lane. That's their right (I think you're insane if you try to exercise this right, but you should be able to.) Assuming the driver's story is correct (which it may not be), the bicyclist was riding in between two lanes. This is unacceptable.

For better or for worse, people survived just fine when they never ventured 50 miles from home.

Yes, and they were low tech, generally had poor educations and medical care, and never experienced the world. Do not think there are not prices to pay for giving up transporation.

Impose the true cost of driving on the individual driver

Who do you think pays for this stuff now? Between buying cars, insuring cars (subsidizing the medical liability), licensing cars, and paying gas taxes (paying for the infrastructure and for the oil exploration), consumers of cars already pay for cars. A few costs are passed on to non-motorists, but because the number of these in this country is trivial by far motorists pay for their own expenses.

You can already save a HUGE amount of money by not owning a car, but how many people do? Damn few. Because owning a car is freedom; you cannot be free if you cannot freely move from place to place, and there is no satisfactory mode aside from driving. Public transportation is restrictive and unpleasant. Physical modes of travel (walking and biking) are restricted by the weather, by the climate, are useless over long distances, are difficult to transport cargo with, and are difficult for anyone who's not young and healthy (that being said, I use them whenever they are not impractical.)

If you did find a way to impose the true cost of driving on the motorists, I'd tell you what it would look like. Their costs would go up a little, non-motorist's costs would go down a little, and everyone would still drive. Because basically, they have to.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:57 PM on May 14, 2006


Also, you are concentrating on the energy of the car (and let's face it, at 30 mph this would have still been an extremely ugly accident) and stopping distance (the driver tried to evade, not stop, so it's fairly irrelevant.)

Again, you misunderstand the basic physics of the situation. If anything, impact damage grows even faster than stopping distance - Busy Old Fool's links make this clear.

I suspect that when the engineers designed the road, they took into account that SUVs would be driving on it,

Well, this isn't true, and it is a big issue that SUVs have been struggling with for years (Vehicle Design and the Physics of Traffic Safety). SUVs are built to relaxed truck standards, but trucks are normally driven by professionals during the work day, often with a higher grade of license to reflect a higher understanding of the design limitations of their vehicles. The SUV phenomena is a change that has taken place in the last 10-15 years. Even if road designs are changing to accommodate the SUV trend - highly unlikely - any such change would not be effecting existing road! "I'm sorry Mr. Driver, we had to cut the speed limit because SUVs just weren't safe on this road." - sure, that could happen..
posted by Chuckles at 3:36 PM on May 14, 2006


affluent, white, possibly drunken asshole

Just a guess, but someone with the name José Vicens probably isn't a white guy.
posted by anjamu at 3:38 PM on May 14, 2006


It depends. Hispanics are an ethnic group, not a race. My Cuban dad calls himself a 'white guy'.
posted by Alison at 3:53 PM on May 14, 2006


the driver tried to evade, not stop, so it's fairly irrelevant.
Evasion itself was an arrogant choice contributing to fault. No driver's ed course or driving manual I've ever read has proposed evasion, even in head-on situations, because of the possibility of exactly what is claimed to have happened. Failure to slow down for hazards is reckless driving. In Oregon, and many other states, it would violate the Basic Speed Law.
Because owning a car is freedom; you cannot be free if you cannot freely move from place to place, and there is no satisfactory mode aside from driving.
I was perhaps unduly provoking you, but this is exactly the type of revelation of core values that I was hoping for.

I agree with the core value of freedom. I disagree with the logic that freedom flows from the automobile. People were talking about freedom long before the car ever existed. The State reserves the right to deny driving privileges on a whim. If the car is freedom, it is a very fragile, undocumented freedom.
Public transportation is restrictive and unpleasant. [...] (walking and biking) are restricted by the weather
This is another core value: convenience. I suspect individualism and isolationism are motivators to this opinion as well. I don't feel that these values are as important to the issue as you do. I value community above isolationism, compromise over individualism and personal growth over comfort. Also, freedom and convenience are not the same thing.

Besides, well-funded, well managed public transportation can be a great pleasure. Think: The trains of Europe, or the Pacific Northwest's Cascades line, or the Green Tortoise. Imagine.

I was maybe being too simplistic. True driving costs are simultaneously externalized, subsidized and hidden. Individual economic actors do not usually factor in these types of costs, so the economy is distorted from the optimal. Taxes hide the true cost of automobiles and externalize the costs of roads to non-users. The environmental and resource diversion costs of private automobiles are externalized to (not-so) future generations and the world's hungry. Oil equals food. It's fertilizer. But we have enough food, we just don't have the mobilization of transportation resources to get the food where it's needed. The costs of urban sprawl and communities split apart by freeways are not within the power of individual economic actors.

Most importantly, the true cost of driving is externalized from the living to the dead. I do not believe that this is philosophically, morally, or ethically trivial. I refuse to make the ethical compromise that the majority of road-users can impose life or death costs on the minority of non-drivers. Non-drivers include, after all, every single child under the age of 16.

What part of Jose Vicens' liability insurance covered the expected lifetime contributions economically, socially, familial, and in friendship of Andre's loss to society? Ignoring just the incalculable touchy-feely stuff, Andre's expected gross income is not ever going to be paid in full, but I hope to God that there's a huge civil suit.
posted by Skwirl at 3:55 PM on May 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


A cursory glance at MySpace shows that Vicens self-identifies as Hispanic/Latino.

Not to invalidate your point, Alison; it's a good one.
posted by anjamu at 5:08 PM on May 14, 2006


Mitrovarr:
Oh, there's couple ways they can happen. Accidents due to mechanical failure. Accidents due to unpredictable environmental conditions (black ice, violent wind gusts, severe fog in places and times they couldn't reasonably be predicted.) Accidents due to medical conditions.

Good points all. I'd be interested in what proportion of collisions involve these factors, but I accept my claim regarding no-blame accidents was simplistic.

Yes, and they were low tech, generally had poor educations and medical care, and never experienced the world. Do not think there are not prices to pay for giving up transporation.

Absolutely. Much as I dislike many aspects of the 'car culture', it has brought huge lifestyle benefits to many. For example, in many places cars are the only practical way to allow women to travel safely after dark.

You can already save a HUGE amount of money by not owning a car, but how many people do? Damn few. Because owning a car is freedom; you cannot be free if you cannot freely move from place to place, and there is no satisfactory mode aside from driving.

This may be true in the USA, but it's not universal. I've lived in many towns and cities around the world and the only place where I am seriously inconvenienced by not having a car is when I visit my family in the countryside. Many of my friends are the same and generally only buy cars once they have children.

The 'necessity' for cars is a construct of a particular lifestyle, which is sometimes chosen for better (IMHO) reasons than others. The problem is that the most serious costs are placed on others, including those who don't drive.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 5:57 PM on May 14, 2006


Accidents due to mechanical failure are the fault of those who fail to maintain their cars.

Accidents due to unpredictable environmental conditions (black ice, violent wind gusts, severe fog) are the fault of those who drive in these environments foolishly.

Accidents due to medical conditions are the fault of those driving with medical conditions.

Every situation of a "blame free" accident presented is one in which I would squarely assign blame on a motorist's faulty decision making process. Not all accidents are a result of failures of driving skill. Many are caused by people driving when they ought to recognize they shouldn't be driving.

So try again, Mitrovar. Give me an example of an accident where somebody's faulty decision process is not to blame.
posted by u2604ab at 10:01 PM on May 14, 2006


A mechanical failure not due to poor maintenance; a sharp pebble blows onto the road and gives you a blowout on the interstate. Having your semi blown over and jackknifed by an unexpected gust during a surprise windstorm in the mountains. Crashing due to a seizure for a person with no previous epilepsy.

Not to mention that drivers are not perfect, so even an accident due to a mistake is not necessarily due to gross negligence or poor decision-making. Even the world's most attentive, most skilled driver has a non-zero rate of driver error.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:13 PM on May 14, 2006


It's irresponsible to claim that Jose was 'responsible' for the death simply because he was involved in the accident.

No irresponsible need to irresponsibly charge irresponsible people with the irresponsible crime of irresponsible involuntary manslaughter, then.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:38 PM on May 14, 2006


Legaly, bicycles are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities. It's irresponsible to claim that Jose was 'responsible' for the death simply because he was involved in the accident.

idunno about where you live, but where i live, anytime you rear end anyone for any reason, you are at fault. also where i live, passing on the right and speeding are illegal. this is involuntary manslaughter with aggravating factors, at a minumum. vicens should be serving time.
posted by 3.2.3 at 11:02 AM on May 15, 2006


Even the world's most attentive, most skilled driver has a non-zero rate of driver error.
This is a very good argument for the ethical necessity of limiting non-essential driving.
For example, in many places cars are the only practical way to allow women to travel safely after dark.
I personally struggle with this idea as it pertains to the women I love. I think we place a little too much emphasis on it, though. Someday I'd like to see some actuarial reasoning to support or refute this.

I think it's important to remember that one reason that the night is dangerous for women is because there is nobody on the streets who isn't in a car. I have never felt safer with my girlfriend than on Robson Street in Vancouver BC at 2am. Foot traffic creates safe neighborhoods.
posted by Skwirl at 11:44 AM on May 15, 2006


Bigger the car, bigger the asshole. I live on a busy street and sometimes I sit outside and watch-- 90% of the dangerous drivers are not just in SUVs, but in ginormous SUVs.
posted by cell divide at 12:07 PM on May 15, 2006


Skwirl: This is a very good argument for the ethical necessity of limiting non-essential driving.

Not really. Dangerous things can still be considered worthwhile. Everyone who drives knows that they are accepting a certain level of risk, both from themselves and other drivers, but nearly everyone thinks that driving is still worthwhile. Cue the philosophical argument about 'Is the life lived in a bunker worth living at all?' and all that stuff.

Not to mention that if everyone stopped driving, it'd crash the economy. Not only because of all the industries dependent on cars, but because of trucking. Not much to do about that (trains are quite dangerous too.)
posted by Mitrovarr at 2:52 PM on May 15, 2006


skwirl, I think the countless rape victims of Central Park, sometimes in daylit crowds, would disagree...
posted by nomisxid at 3:41 PM on May 15, 2006


" It's irresponsible to claim that Jose was 'responsible' for the death simply because he was involved in the accident. "

Oh, pleee-fuckin'-eeeeze.

This was a 14 year old child on a bicycle.

In front and in full view of a murderous idiot in a huge powerful truck. With fully functional brakes, and a fully functional accelerator, and a fully functional horn, any control which could have been used to allow or help the cyclist to get to a safe place before attempting to pass.

There is not one single reason for this to have happened. Not one, other than a sociopath's sense of entitlement to "pass" the cyclist, his sense of entitlement not to have to slow down, and his depraved disregard for the safety of the cyclist; a person weaker and more vulnerable than him.

He ONE HUNDRED PERCENT RESPONSIBLE for the death of this kid. End of story.

Anybody who considers this an "accident" is not emotionally mature enough to be driving.
posted by Nicholas West at 6:32 PM on May 15, 2006


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