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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: Should cyclists face the same consequences as drivers?
Yes 25 89.29%
No 3 10.71%
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Old 07-12-02, 03:09 PM   #1
presfoxm
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Do the same rules apply

I am curious by the Death in Cambridge thread so I figured I would ask this question. Especially to those who want the driver to serve a jail term (or to be lynched--which was as offensive as the idea that Hitler anywhere or on anything is a good thing), do you feel that if a cyclist causes a death or severe bodily harm they should also be prosecuted and serve a jail term? I mean we have all seen cyclists who take corners too quickly or seen cyclists serve into traffic.

Examples, a cyclist comes around a blind corner while descending at 30-35 mph and runs into someone. The other person falls and hits their head on the pavement and sustains brain injury. Or if a driver swerves to avoid a cyclist who is making a u-turn and hits a telephone pole and dies. (p.s. to the person who had the u-turn accident I hope you and the bike are feeling better.) Should the cyclists be held to the same standards as a driver for negligence, inattention, and poor/dangerous riding?

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Old 07-12-02, 03:23 PM   #2
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The answer is that yes, of course they should. If you negilgently break the law and kill another person doing so, a jail term should result irrespective of the vehicle you are using at the time.
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Old 07-12-02, 03:29 PM   #3
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Are there any circumstances under which a vehicle (no matter the kind) kills someone that they should not be prosecuted?
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Old 07-12-02, 03:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by presfoxm
Are there any circumstances under which a vehicle (no matter the kind) kills someone that they should not be prosecuted?
In some countries of the world, there is a system whereby the larger vehicle in any situation is always held accountable unless they can prove the other party was responsible. I think the key issue here is the laws of the road. If the smaller vehicle or the 'victim' has broken a law (say, running a red light) or is swerving all over the road unpredictably, they should have to take responsibility for that.

However, if they are acting in a law abiding and predictable manner, it then becomes the responsibility of the larger vehicle not to run them down. Funnily enough, they seem to be parts of the world that have fewer problems with 'road rage' and generally fewer traffic fatalities. I wonder if there is a link?
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Old 07-12-02, 05:31 PM   #5
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Pedestrians have rights, too. But one of them is not crossing a busy street away from an intersection, or against the lights. This deals with the culpability question.

The moral question is quite different.
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Old 07-12-02, 06:27 PM   #6
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What we really need is individual accountability for our actions.
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Old 07-13-02, 07:19 AM   #7
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Just curious ... what should be the punishment for a drunk bicyclist? Can't take his license away. If the drunk swerves into traffic and gets killed, does the car driver get prosecuted?
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Old 07-13-02, 10:12 AM   #8
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Stor Mand,
Take his car liscence away, suspend him and in lueu of that possibly charge with a criminal offence if no liscence exists.
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Old 07-13-02, 11:45 AM   #9
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A cyclist who is operating his bike with intoxicated could/would be cited for public drunkeness. A summary offense.
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Old 07-13-02, 05:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by grego262
A cyclist who is operating his bike with intoxicated could/would be cited for public drunkeness. A summary offense.
Yes, I have heard of this happening. This sounds appropriate.
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Old 07-13-02, 06:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Stor Mand
Just curious ... what should be the punishment for a drunk bicyclist? Can't take his license away.
You can, however, take his bike away and fine him.
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Old 07-13-02, 07:08 PM   #12
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Here in Fla. they have gone after a drunk cyclist's drivers license. I have mixed feelings. The guy was drunk but made a, I believe, good decision to attempt to get home by bike rather than the car he drove to the party. Public drunkeness would seem to be appropriate.

The issue in the other thread is negligence leading to another person's death. Of course, the vehicle is irrelevant. Are there circumstances of truly accidntal deaths. Of course. Blow outs leading to loss of control are not the driver's fault. Weather conditions can lead to accidents. True accidents even tragic ones can and do happen. My position in calling for jailtime is not b/c a cyclist was killed by a car driver but b/c a lady was killed by an action that was negligent.
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Old 07-14-02, 09:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by presfoxm
Are there any circumstances under which a vehicle (no matter the kind) kills someone that they should not be prosecuted?
Yes, if the driver becomes, suddenly when driving, very ill, having a heartattac or so. Then he canīt be blamed, because he couldenīt help the situation that he was in. But if someone takes the car to hospital and when he decides to take the car, knowing heīs very sick, he makes the decition that he is willing to risk other peoples life to save his own. Then he must take the consequence if someone gets hurt or worse, killed.

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Old 07-14-02, 11:48 PM   #14
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I live in the United States, and here's the State of Washington's answer to the drunk-cyclist question, from the Revised Code of Washington 46.61.790:

Quote:
Intoxicated bicyclists.
(1) A law enforcement officer may offer to transport a bicycle rider who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or any drug and who is walking or moving along or within the right of way of a public roadway, unless the bicycle rider is to be taken into protective custody under RCW 70.96A.120. The law enforcement officer offering to transport an intoxicated bicycle rider under this section shall:
(a) Transport the intoxicated bicycle rider to a safe place; or

(b) Release the intoxicated bicycle rider to a competent person.

(2) The law enforcement officer shall not provide the assistance offered if the bicycle rider refuses to accept it. No suit or action may be commenced or prosecuted against the law enforcement officer, law enforcement agency, the state of Washington, or any political subdivision of the state for any act resulting from the refusal of the bicycle rider to accept this assistance.

(3) The law enforcement officer may impound the bicycle operated by an intoxicated bicycle rider if the officer determines that impoundment is necessary to reduce a threat to public safety, and there are no reasonable alternatives to impoundment. The bicyclist will be given a written notice of when and where the impounded bicycle may be reclaimed. The bicycle may be reclaimed by the bicycle rider when the bicycle rider no longer appears to be intoxicated, or by an individual who can establish ownership of the bicycle. The bicycle must be returned without payment of a fee. If the bicycle is not reclaimed within thirty days, it will be subject to sale or disposal consistent with agency procedures.
As for the original question, the person would be subject to the same obligations whether driving a bicycle or an automobile, in the State of Washington at least, as per RCW 46.61.755.
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Old 07-15-02, 02:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris L
The answer is that yes, of course they should. If you negilgently break the law and kill another person doing so, a jail term should result irrespective of the vehicle you are using at the time.
Ditto
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Old 07-15-02, 06:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Stor Mand
Just curious ... what should be the punishment for a drunk bicyclist? Can't take his license away. If the drunk swerves into traffic and gets killed, does the car driver get prosecuted?
I think in Uk they can as a bicycle is a road vehicle.
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Old 07-16-02, 06:26 AM   #17
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I voted yes.

The issue is really recklessness or negligence. It doesn't make much practical difference if you kill someone with a bicycle, or use an automobile. They are just as dead in either case.
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Old 07-16-02, 06:42 AM   #18
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yes. in general people should be held accountable for their actions.

there are still some differences between bikes and cars and so in certain cases, bicycle cases may be handled differently, but more due to individual circumstances - for exmaple, cases where say a cyclist is on a bike path and someone with a dog has the leash across the path (it's happened to me, not the death part, just the accident) and then doesn't see the thin leash line, so crashes and then out of control strikes and kills someone - obviously this is different than if a car were being operated on a bike path...

but a precedent has already been set in this direction with the decision i think in 2000 that a skier in Colorado who lost control, struck and killed a woman was found guilty (of negligent homicide or something) and i think sentenced to 2 years - not so sure of the details. This is even more significant b/c it occurred not on public roadways but on a ski slope.
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Old 07-16-02, 09:57 AM   #19
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If everyone above is stating that if the death or injury was a result of a bicyclist breaking the law, then I agree.

However, I do have a problem with the "the responsibility of the larger vehicle not to run them down" comment. Do you mean if both are law abiding? I was once riding on a flat area just after coming down a hill. I had taken one of the two lanes and was doing ~32MPH when a person stepped off of a curb right in front of me. Lucky for both me and him, he looked up just in time to step back. If I had hit him, would the responsibility for the incident lay on me or him?

btw, there was an injury as a result of the above incident. I got out of the aero bars so fast and hit the brakes so hard I sprained my right hand and wrist for a few days.
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Old 07-16-02, 09:57 AM   #20
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I voted yes, but I would like to make clear that the cyclist would have to be found negligent in order to recieve repurcusions. The number of cyclists who are cyclist along and not really paying attention is really not that high.
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