Driving into cyclists the Emma way

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Last summer, a woman cyclist in Austin, Texas was gathered up in a drink driver's accident and seriously injured (the 'alleged' drink driver, ironically, was named 'Bykowski'). Earlier this month, the same woman was struck by a motorist in a hit-and-run and injured again, sustaining broken hand & finger bones. The motorist was located, arrested and charged with failure to stop and render aid. I don't know if the hit-and-run is an implied or included charge in the failure to stop but there is no mention in the linked story of the 'alleged' motorist being charged with the act of running into a bicyclist.

The story also mentions that the woman's boyfriend also has twice been struck by a motorist and seriously injured while cycling.

Cyclist recovering from crash with drunk driver injured again in hit-and-run

According to my research (might be out of date) the state of Texas does not have a 3-foot law but the city of Austin does. According to this 2013 story in the Washington Post, Austin had been actively enforcing the law. The linked story mentions that Austin police had issued 104 tickets for $167 each but doesn't mention how long a period of time that covered.

According to this story on a cycling activism website, Austin's method requires an officer on a bicycle and a pursuit vehicle, which highlights two of the glaring flaws in the 'minimum separation' laws. First, they aren't making any effort to enforce the law when violators fail to give minimum separation to a "real" cyclist, only to their police decoy. Second, unless the bicycle copper is the Manx Missile, the operation will always require (at minimum) a second officer in an automobile to chase down and apprehend the offender. And I have to question how many jurisdictions are sufficiently concerned with the safety of such a small segment of the population to remove two coppers from "real" police work -- which is how I am certain many (if not most) 'cagers' will view it -- and put them to protecting a bunch of scofflaws in spandex.

The latter linked story also mentions that the Austin model doesn't use electronic measurement but involves training the bicycle officers to use visual cues to recognise when their three foot halo is being violated. But it gives them the discretion to have a warning ticket issued if they aren't convinced a violation has occurred. Which sounds to me to be a better plan than electronic enforcement because it somewhat reduces the gross cost of the enforcement program by avoiding the expense of the ultrasonic distance measuring device. And it allows the officer to enforce what is basically a "stop-and-go penalty" (to borrow a motor racing term) if there is any doubt that the letter of the law was violated.

The only two places I have heard tell of that could be bothered to spend for the bike-mounted "sonar" were Chattanooga, Tennessee and Ottawa, Canada. Chattanooga is home to Litespeed and Merlin, so they obviously have a vested interest in protecting cyclists, but I don't know why Ottawa would be so kindly disposed toward us.

What I like least about the minimum separation laws is that none of them (AFAIK) obligates the motorists (when practicable) to cede the entire lane to the cyclist. That failing creates three further problems, the first being one of enforcement. It is much 'fiddlier' to determine (to a reasonable certainty) whether the motorist has left one metre/three feet separation to the cyclist than to determine whether the motor vehicle has vacated the entire lane (at least in cases when a centreline is present).

The second problem is it effectively codifies the motorist's unilateral right to share the cyclist's lane. Which also necessarily is a codification that the cyclist has no right to the greater lane.

Thirdly, it ignores the fact that sheer common sense dictates that mandatory separation distance should increase with motor vehicle speed. So chapeau to the Irish for getting that bit right (the first place I have seen that incorporated).

Ideally, I would prefer the statutes read something like,

Whenever practicable, the motorist must vacate the entire lane and overtake the bicyclist(s) while entirely within the oncoming lane (as determined by the position of the vehicle's near-side tyres relative to the centreline stripe). When no centreline stripe is present, or when the entire roadway is less than two full lanes in width [which will be the case in many country lanes in the UK and parts of the continent], the motorist shall drive as far to the opposite side of the roadway as is practicable, but in no case violating the minimum separation distance and overtaking speed as set forth in the following clause.

Only when opposing traffic or roadway conditions makes using the oncoming lane impractical may the motorist share the cyclist's/cyclists' lane, and then only after slowing to an overtaking speed relative to the cyclist(s) of no faster than a brisk walk (approximately 8 kph/5 mph), always maintaining a safe distance between the motor vehicle and bicycle(s) of not less than one metre/three feet, and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle(s).
It's wordy to enunciate but the concept is simple. Give the cyclist ALL THE ROOM you are able. If circumstances compel you to share THE CYCLIST'S LANE, slow the FLIP down.

This would give police a much more workable tool for enforcement, it only requires half as many police be involved, all motor vehicle-mounted police can participate in enforcement, and enforcement extends to ALL cyclists, not just the police's decoy. Furthermore, it codifies the cyclist's 'right' to the entire lane, and it requires motorists to slow down if they're sharing the cyclist's lane. I would sooner a car only leave me half a metre but slow appreciably than give me the full metre, even a metre and half and still going 80 kph.

I also think fines for violating the minimum separation law needs to be comparable to drink driving costs. Which in much of the developed world is well into four figures pounds/Euros/dollars. First of all, drink driving law is about punishing a driver for acts that potentially could but did not necessarily threaten human safety. The threat to safety posed by minimum separation violators is at least as material (I would argue more) than a driver cited for drink driving who didn't cause an accident or wasn't observed driving erratically (e.g., caught at a police checkpoint). I see no logical reason why the penalty applied should not be as great.

EDIT:
It obviously is going to require a rather sharp jolt to make motorists wake up and respect cyclists' presence on the road, and I reckon a fine of 2500 € just might be the ticket.
 
Re:

StyrbjornSterki said:
Last summer, a woman cyclist in Austin, Texas was gathered up in a drink driver's accident and seriously injured (the 'alleged' drink driver, ironically, was named 'Bykowski'). Earlier this month, the same woman was struck by a motorist in a hit-and-run and injured again, sustaining broken hand & finger bones. The motorist was located, arrested and charged with failure to stop and render aid. I don't know if the hit-and-run is an implied or included charge in the failure to stop but there is no mention in the linked story of the 'alleged' motorist being charged with the act of running into a bicyclist.

The story also mentions that the woman's boyfriend also has twice been struck by a motorist and seriously injured while cycling.

Cyclist recovering from crash with drunk driver injured again in hit-and-run

According to my research (might be out of date) the state of Texas does not have a 3-foot law but the city of Austin does. According to this 2013 story in the Washington Post, Austin had been actively enforcing the law. The linked story mentions that Austin police had issued 104 tickets for $167 each but doesn't mention how long a period of time that covered.

According to this story on a cycling activism website, Austin's method requires an officer on a bicycle and a pursuit vehicle, which highlights two of the glaring flaws in the 'minimum separation' laws. First, they aren't making any effort to enforce the law when violators fail to give minimum separation to a "real" cyclist, only to their police decoy. Second, unless the bicycle copper is the Manx Missile, the operation will always require (at minimum) a second officer in an automobile to chase down and apprehend the offender. And I have to question how many jurisdictions are sufficiently concerned with the safety of such a small segment of the population to remove two coppers from "real" police work -- which is how I am certain many (if not most) 'cagers' will view it -- and put them to protecting a bunch of scofflaws in spandex.

The latter linked story also mentions that the Austin model doesn't use electronic measurement but involves training the bicycle officers to use visual cues to recognise when their three foot halo is being violated. But it gives them the discretion to have a warning ticket issued if they aren't convinced a violation has occurred. Which sounds to me to be a better plan than electronic enforcement because it somewhat reduces the gross cost of the enforcement program by avoiding the expense of the ultrasonic distance measuring device. And it allows the officer to enforce what is basically a "stop-and-go penalty" (to borrow a motor racing term) if there is any doubt that the letter of the law was violated.

The only two places I have heard tell of that could be bothered to spend for the bike-mounted "sonar" were Chattanooga, Tennessee and Ottawa, Canada. Chattanooga is home to Litespeed and Merlin, so they obviously have a vested interest in protecting cyclists, but I don't know why Ottawa would be so kindly disposed toward us.

What I like least about the minimum separation laws is that none of them (AFAIK) obligates the motorists (when practicable) to cede the entire lane to the cyclist. That failing creates three further problems, the first being one of enforcement. It is much 'fiddlier' to determine (to a reasonable certainty) whether the motorist has left one metre/three feet separation to the cyclist than to determine whether the motor vehicle has vacated the entire lane (at least in cases when a centreline is present).

The second problem is it effectively codifies the motorist's unilateral right to share the cyclist's lane. Which also necessarily is a codification that the cyclist has no right to the greater lane.

Thirdly, it ignores the fact that sheer common sense dictates that mandatory separation distance should increase with motor vehicle speed. So chapeau to the Irish for getting that bit right (the first place I have seen that incorporated).

Ideally, I would prefer the statutes read something like,

Whenever practicable, the motorist must vacate the entire lane and overtake the bicyclist(s) while entirely within the oncoming lane (as determined by the position of the vehicle's near-side tyres relative to the centreline stripe). When no centreline stripe is present, or when the entire roadway is less than two full lanes in width [which will be the case in many country lanes in the UK and parts of the continent], the motorist shall drive as far to the opposite side of the roadway as is practicable, but in no case violating the minimum separation distance and overtaking speed as set forth in the following clause.

Only when opposing traffic or roadway conditions makes using the oncoming lane impractical may the motorist share the cyclist's/cyclists' lane, and then only after slowing to an overtaking speed relative to the cyclist(s) of no faster than a brisk walk (approximately 8 kph/5 mph), always maintaining a safe distance between the motor vehicle and bicycle(s) of not less than one metre/three feet, and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle(s).
It's wordy to enunciate but the concept is simple. Give the cyclist ALL THE ROOM you are able. If circumstances compel you to share THE CYCLIST'S LANE, slow the FLIP down.

This would give police a much more workable tool for enforcement, it only requires half as many police be involved, all motor vehicle-mounted police can participate in enforcement, and enforcement extends to ALL cyclists, not just the police's decoy. Furthermore, it codifies the cyclist's 'right' to the entire lane, and it requires motorists to slow down if they're sharing the cyclist's lane. I would sooner a car only leave me half a metre but slow appreciably than give me the full metre, even a metre and half and still going 80 kph.

I also think fines for violating the minimum separation law needs to be comparable to drink driving costs. Which in much of the developed world is well into four figures pounds/Euros/dollars. First of all, drink driving law is about punishing a driver for acts that potentially could but did not necessarily threaten human safety. The threat to safety posed by minimum separation violators is at least as material (I would argue more) than a driver cited for drink driving who didn't cause an accident or wasn't observed driving erratically (e.g., caught at a police checkpoint). I see no logical reason why the penalty applied should not be as great.

EDIT:
It obviously is going to require a rather sharp jolt to make motorists wake up and respect cyclists' presence on the road, and I reckon a fine of 2500 € just might be the ticket.
This weekend a driver honked as he came up behind me on a winding street that was about to open onto a major intersection as if I needed to cede the space and get pressed against parked cars. When I motioned with my hand for him to calm down (it wasn’t a profane gesture) he became more distressed. I told him “don’t honk at me; just don’t hit me.” To which he replied “it’s my horn; next time I’ll hit you.”

The notion of car as extension of self is getting greater rather than less with many people and this would have to be combatted as well. The laws you describe above exist in some places but they’re minimally enforced; it’s nnot just the fines there would need to be a greater culture of criminalization to make a real difference with some sectors of the population.
 
Re: Re:

aphronesis said:
StyrbjornSterki said:
Last summer, ...
This weekend a driver honked as he came up behind me on a winding street that was about to open onto a major intersection as if I needed to cede the space and get pressed against parked cars. When I motioned with my hand for him to calm down (it wasn’t a profane gesture) he became more distressed. I told him “don’t honk at me; just don’t hit me.” To which he replied “it’s my horn; next time I’ll hit you.”

The notion of car as extension of self is getting greater rather than less with many people and this would have to be combatted as well. The laws you describe above exist in some places but they’re minimally enforced; it’s nnot just the fines there would need to be a greater culture of criminalization to make a real difference with some sectors of the population.
the thing to address is the attitude of drivers - making more laws and fining people just adds fuel to the fire, and doesn't get to the proximate cause/issue
 
Yeah, I ultimately feel that way as well, but in parts of the US it’s hard to reach certain sectors of the population in terms of attitude change; the demographics and lives are simply too heterogenous to reach everyone. Ultimately, I would much rather take on driving culture, but that’s a big task and the resentment is already there for some. May as well put some criminalized fear in them. But then I live in an area where “liberals” count it it a victory if they persuade the city to paint white lines in the street and call it a bike lane.

Far more stringent requirements for a drivers’ license: laws of the road and some civic comprehension could be one approach I suppose.
 
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Not a good day for pros - two stories on the front page today -

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/young-french-rider-shot-by-gunman-in-passing-car/
A young French rider was shot on Tuesday evening while out training in Toulouse.

Clément Delcros, who rides with the AVC Aix-en-Provence team, took a bullet to the shoulder from a gunman in a passing car before riding to the nearest hospital for treatment.
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/haller-struck-by-car-while-training/
Haller struck by car while training

"I was riding with Bernie Eisel and was sitting in his wheel in a slight downhill, when suddenly a car, ignoring the stop sign, came at us from the right. Bernie just managed to escape him, but I could not do that and hit the driver's door at full speed. My bike was completely destroyed and my knee as well."
 
Hit-and-Run Fatalities Soar as More People Bike to Work
Report finds close to 70% of fatalities are cyclists or pedestrians

By Scott Calvert
April 26, 2018 5:30 a.m. ET

Hit-and-run crash deaths are rising nationwide, and pedestrians and bicyclists account for close to 70% of the victims, according to a new report, as more people cycle to work and motor-vehicle fatalities are at a near-decade-high level.

The number of hit-and-run fatalities jumped 61% from 2009 to 2016, the most recent year for which data are available, according to the report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

About 68% of fatal hit-and-run victims in 2016 were pedestrians or cyclists, compared with 61% a decade earlier, according to federal data cited in the report.

In 2016, 1,980 fatal hit-and-run crashes across the U.S. resulted in 2,049 deaths—both record highs in the roughly four decades that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has tracked such data, the report said.

“On the one hand, these statistics are a bit deflating. On the other hand, we can hope they serve as a wake-up call,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research.

A big reason for the rise in fatal hit-and-run crashes is that deadly car crashes are up overall, the foundation said. Traffic-related fatalities surpassed 40,000 last year, the second year in a row, according to the National Safety Council.

Mr. Nelson said one possible reason those deaths have risen is growing distraction in the smartphone era. A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association said texting by drivers and pedestrians alike may help explain why pedestrian deaths have hit their highest levels in decades.

Another potential factor Mr. Nelson cited is the push by public health officials to encourage people to walk and bike more. The downside, he said, is those activities make people more vulnerable in the event of a crash involving a car or truck.

The number of bike commuters nationwide has ebbed in recent years, but rose nearly 40% from 2006 to 2016, when 864,000 rode to work, according to the Census Bureau.

To improve safety, he said, pedestrians and cyclists need physical barriers like protected bike lanes—an idea gaining popularity around the U.S. but also causing fights in some places over reduced parking or travel lanes.

The AAA report says state legislatures are cracking down on hit-and-run drivers. In every state it is illegal for a driver involved in a crash to flee. Over the past five years, more than a dozen states have passed new laws typically boosting jail time, fines and the length of a driver’s license suspension. But the report said researchers have found legal sanctions don’t appear to have a deterrent effect.

Mr. Nelson said motorists should know that staying at the scene isn’t only the law, it can help ensure victims get prompt medical care.

The ultimate aim is to prevent crashes, he said, and his message for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists is: “Just pay attention, open your eyes, keep your head up and focus on what you’re doing.”
 
The judge said Collier's case was at the lower end of the scale of carelessness and the penalty should reflect this.
What. The. Actual. ***? :mad:

Yes, I know that in that type of situations cyclists have a responsibility too, making sure they aren't in the blindspot. However...

1: We don't know if Den Ouden had done everything he could to make sure he wasn't in the blindspot.
2: The least the driver could have done was stop his damn vehicle and check what he'd hit. Especially considering that fact that I'd imagine hitting a person would be quite different from hitting a pot hole or a cone...
 
Re: Truck driver who killed Napier cyclist to pay $1500 repa

JackRabbitSlims said:
From my home town of Napier, NZ.

Truck driver runs over Cyclist, drags him 100m, kills him......then drives home thinking he hit a pot hole or a cone!!??

Only has to pay $1500 reparation :mad:

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12042362
The legal system is a game. Plead guilty and get off lightly. He drove across the cycle lane...........
 
Pity. I was so looking forward to the spectacle of a trial by jury, followed by public execution. Or at least a pillorying. The end of a saga I've been following news of since I was alerted to it last September. And chapeau to the son of the cager, who likely was the only reason police were able to discover the driver's identity.

Franklin man pleads guilty to federal charges in Natchez Trace hit and run
Staff Reports • May 21, 2018 at 4:17 PM

Marshall Neely III, 59, of Franklin, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to reckless aggravated assault, lying to a federal agent and obstruction of justice.

Neely was indicted July 28 after he hit and injured a bicyclist with his vehicle July 8, 2017 while he drove on the Natchez Trace Parkway. After he hit the bicyclist, Neely failed to stop and fled the scene.

According to court documents, on the morning of July 8, 2017, two people were riding their bicycles on the Natchez Trace Parkway when a black Volvo sport-utility vehicle hit one from behind. The impact knocked the rider to the ground and destroyed the bicycle. The cyclist was injured and taken to Williamson County Medical Center by ambulance. The other cyclist had a helmet-mounted camera, which recorded the collision, as well as the Volvo driving away from the scene. The video of the incident was later posted online and contained a visible license plate and other decals, which led to the identification of Neely.

The same evening, law enforcement officials arrived at Neely’s house and found him unconscious on the floor. Neely later admitted he was driving on the Natchez Trace Parkway earlier in the day and claimed someone threw a bicycle at his car. He also admitted after seeing the video posted online, he removed the decals from the rear window of his car because he knew they would lead to his identification.

According to the plea agreement, Neely agreed to accept a term of imprisonment of 10 months, to be followed by three years of supervised release, when he is sentenced Aug. 17. The agreement also calls for Neely to pay $1,210 in restitution to the victim.
 
Interesting read on cars, bikes, people & citites -
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/14/canada-toronto-cycling-pedestrian-deaths-cars
After 100 years of marketing, we have continued to believe – and want to believe – that the car gives us unfettered personal liberty.

So we designed our cities and our streets for them. And the two-hour commute has become normalized to a public that spends the equivalent of 22 days a year just getting to and from work. Meanwhile, others are seeking a new way to live. It doesn’t take long to expose the environmental, social and health costs of sitting in traffic. It is nothing like freedom. But the power of the idea that cars bring us freedom – despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary – is so pervasive that active resistance to change is fierce.
...
the tragic rise of cycling and pedestrian deaths in a city such as Toronto, the biggest city in one of the world’s most progressive countries, demonstrates that we are caught in the transition. We are adding density and pedestrians and cyclists without transforming the design of our streets, and in many cases refusing even to lower speeds limits, which tends to reduce deaths dramatically.
 
Re:

claude cat said:
https://cyclingtips.com/2018/08/finding-mr-x/
One of the best pieces I’ve seen in cycling journalism. It’s bizarre how someone who was once quite prominent in their local cycling scene can ostracise themselves so quickly and completely. To go from being a well known and respected former NRS racer to a dangerous lunatic and eventually an anti cycling campaigner would be too far fetched for me to believe if I didn’t already know a good part of the story.

I hope Ivan seeks help, but I doubt he will. He was even messing around trying to cause trouble in the comments on CTs Facebook page under his own name for a few laughs.
 
Re:

42x16ss said:
Pretty sure that around here you'd be hit with additional punishment for stuff like that. "You hit a person, and you didn't make sure your vehicle was actually safe to operate!"
But, no... according that the court it's "an error anyone could make", guess don't checking if your brakes work is " an error" too. :rolleyes:
 
Re:

movingtarget said:
I've been saying for years that the proximate cause that needs dealing with is driver/road user attitude.
Unfortunately, Australian motorists seem proud of their poor attitude and hatred towards cyclists...
You only need to read comments attaching to any cycling article in any news platform in Aust to see this.
 

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