Killed While Cycling: Why So Few Fatal Bike Crashes Lead to Arrest in NYC | Transportation Nation

Killed While Cycling: Why So Few Fatal Bike Crashes Lead to Arrest in NYC | Transportation Nation.

We as a society have chosen to drive these  big cars. And we also as a society have chosen not to criminalize every single small mistake that just has a dramatic consequence because your driving a car. […] There are times where the factual situation that is presented to us doesn’t rise to a crime. And it’s important to realize that the reason it doesn’t rise to a crime is that society has made that decision that it doesn’t want it to be a crime.”

Joe McCormack, assistant District Attorney for the Bronx, whose job it is to prosecute traffic crimes

Read the complete story here: “Killed While Cycling: Why So Few Fatal Bike Crashes Lead to Arrest in NYC”

2 Comments

Filed under bicycling, bicycling & politics, Cities, in the news, laws & ordinances, legislation, New York, police, safety

2 responses to “Killed While Cycling: Why So Few Fatal Bike Crashes Lead to Arrest in NYC | Transportation Nation

  1. Several things came to mind in reading the quotes in Pit’s post.

    First, getting squashed by a Prius is just as deadly as getting squashed by my Dodge diesel 4×4 so the nonsense trying to point this at our cars is silly, at best.

    Second, it was refreshing to read a law enforcement official who does still grasp that not every accident in life is a crime, regardless of how tragic the outcome. Was the accident the result of willful risk taking ( texting while driving or deciding to squueze past a cyclist or example )? Or was it a reasonably umforeseeable sequence of events? Did the cyclist behave in a way which invited the outcome (turning into the motor vehicle, failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign or during a “right on red after a complete stop”, or riding in the very edge of the lane thereby inviting a “squeeze-past”).

    I suspect that the majority of fatal and serious accidentsinvolve a Squeeze-past scenario of some sort. Those would be disambiguated if the law required that motor vehicles maintain a specific separation from cyclists (and motorcycles) which should be at least 3 and possible 4 feet. The opportunity for a clear difference between a tragic “awshit” and a willful act of negligence would be less ambiguous then.

    • Pit

      Hi Don,
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I do not completely agree with you. It certainly IS the car – whether it is a Smart or an 18-wheeler – that kills. It’s not the bicyclist who kills himself. That being said, I agree that we – bicyclists and drivers – have to share the road and respect each other and that sometimes it’s the bicyclist that is responsible for the accident.
      Your interpretation of the quotations is certainly right when you say that not every accident is a crime – definitely not. But accidents don’t happen out of the blue: they’re caused. And this indifferent attitude of law enforcement in particular and society in general, to take accidents as something God given, like a natural desaster, prevents an investigation in the causes of accidents and thus in turn prevents learning how to avoid these accidents. It is dedidedly nonsense only to investigate accidents that leave someone dead or in danger of dying. And it is absolute nonsense that no charges can be filed unless a law enforcemenht officer has been watching the accident.
      As to that quotation again: it can also be seen as the callous statement, “Neither society nor I care if a bicyclist is hurt in an accident.”
      And re safe passing: I agree that’s very important. As is forbidding texting while driving as a cause of accidents. But again, to use the quotation, “Society has chosen not to.” Cold comfort to a friend of mine who, while riding his bicyle on the shoulder of Hwy 181 here, was nearly run over by a driver apparently texting, drifting over onto the shoulder and never even realizing he had nearly run over a bicyclist. As a conysequence of this experience, btw, my friend has given up bicycling as there’s no safe road around here. And I must admit, I am seriously considering that, too.
      Take care, afe bicycling to you, and never ever a close encounter with a car,
      Pit

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