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Old 09-23-05, 06:37 AM   #1
Bikepacker67
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Hit by truck, bicyclist killed ("I didn't see her")

NORTHAMPTON - A 23-year-old woman who had devoted her life to helping others after her parents died of AIDS when she was 9 was killed yesterday morning when she was struck by a truck as she rode her bike past Smith College.

Margaret "Meg" Alene Sanders, of 3 Hill Ave., Easthampton, who for the last two summers had participated in the Mass. Red Ribbon Ride to raise money for agencies that work with people with AIDS, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 9:08 a.m. accident on Elm Street.

Sanders was struck by a 26,000-pound armored truck owned by AT Security Systems and driven by Rafael Sevilla, 25, of 40 Oak Ridge St., Indian Orchard, who told police he did not see Sanders.

Sevilla, visibly distraught after the accident, was treated and released from Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

Sgt. Andrew Trushaw said police have not yet determined whether charges will be brought and are looking for anyone who might have witnessed the accident. Anyone with information should call police at (413) 587-1105 and ask for Trushaw or Officer Robert Powers, the lead investigator.

Although Sanders was wearing a helmet, she suffered severe head injuries, police said. She was traveling east on Elm Street in front of the Brown Fine Arts Center when the truck turned into a small lane into the college between the Center and College Hall, police said.

After the accident, Sevilla had to remain in the truck with his foot on the brake until authorities could place "chock blocks" behind the wheels to ensure the vehicle did not roll backward, police said. He was visibly shaking and crying, before being helped from the truck.

In an interview with The Republican earlier this year, Sanders said she loved cycling and didn't even own a car.

"I lost my parents to AIDS when I was 9. Combine that with my passion for cycling and I couldn't resist joining the (Mass. Red Ribbon) Ride," Sanders said.

Friends and colleagues of Sanders, who attended Hampshire College and worked part-time at Safe Passage, recalled her as a safe and motivated rider and volunteer.

"She was an absolute inspiration. I know she rode for her parents. She was a very good rider. That's why I'm so completely shocked," said Monica A. Rose, communications director for Tapestry Health who rode with Sanders the last two years.

Andy Genser, a spokeswoman for the Red Ribbon Ride, said her organization is "devastated" to hear of Sanders' death.

"Meg was a shining light and epitomized what we are trying to do with our bike ride. She worked hard to get others to ride and spread the word. She's an amazing young woman who really tried to make the world a better place," Genser said.
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Old 09-23-05, 06:39 AM   #2
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Do these idiots even LOOK where they're going?
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Old 09-23-05, 06:51 AM   #3
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the prospect of actually getting hurt yourself makes you more careful- once you think that the worst that can happen is dented bodywork then the need to look out reduces considerably
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Old 09-23-05, 07:00 AM   #4
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why are they "considering" charges will be brought? The guy killed her. At least Man Slaughter.

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Old 09-23-05, 07:03 AM   #5
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why are they "considering" is charges will be brought? The guy killed her. At least Man Slaughter.
but your honor, he felt reeeeealy bad about it.
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Old 09-23-05, 07:26 AM   #6
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To those of you ready to lynch the driver:

Maybe he really didn't see her... seriously. Try placing yourself in the drivers shoes, what if you honestly didn't see someone that you accidentally killed?
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Old 09-23-05, 07:40 AM   #7
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I find it hard to believe that he was paying attention to the road and still didn't see her. Unless there was an obstruction of sorts, he's at fault. I have a feeling he wasn't paying attention and simply turned right into her.
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Old 09-23-05, 08:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdtschida
To those of you ready to lynch the driver:

Maybe he really didn't see her... seriously. Try placing yourself in the drivers shoes, what if you honestly didn't see someone that you accidentally killed?
If a driver has two drinks in less than an hour, and pulls this move, would we question bringing charges? Yet, when a stone cold sober driver does EXACTLY the same thing, our society says that it's different.
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Old 09-23-05, 08:55 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by jdtschida
Try placing yourself in the drivers shoes, what if you honestly didn't see someone that you accidentally killed?
I would man up, admit fault; beg the family, friends and community to forgive me, and let the justice system have its pound of flesh.
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Old 09-23-05, 09:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdtschida
To those of you ready to lynch the driver:

Maybe he really didn't see her... seriously. Try placing yourself in the drivers shoes, what if you honestly didn't see someone that you accidentally killed?
Then I should have been looking where I was driving.
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Old 09-23-05, 09:10 AM   #11
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Until they've thoroughly investigate, they'll ALWAYS say the haven't decided. If there's no witness, how are they to prove it?
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Old 09-23-05, 09:11 AM   #12
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Every time something like this gets posted, a number of people make the same two assumptions:

a) the motorist is an idiot and should be brought up on charges

b) the cyclist couldn't possibly have done anything wrong

While it's always sad when a cyclist gets killed, there is nothing in the story as posted that supports either of the above assumptions. I realize that the anti-car sentiment runs deep in the advocacy forum, but I fail to see the benefit in letting a personal bias get in the way of any objectivity one might otherwise have. Just because someone rides a bike does not make them perfect. Cyclists are people, and are therefore just as capable of screwing up as anyone else - even motorists.

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Old 09-23-05, 09:11 AM   #13
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I'm sorry, I just don't buy this "I didn't see her" crap.

If you can't see where you're going, you have NO BUSINESS stepping on the accelerator and going anyway.
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Old 09-23-05, 09:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMX
there is nothing in the story as posted that supports either of the above assumptions.

-B
Nonsense.
He TURNED into her (either left or right cross) so he was COMPLETELY at fault for not paying attention.
Like I said, if he couldn't see where he was going, he had no business GOING.
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Old 09-23-05, 09:22 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
Nonsense.
He TURNED into her (either left or right cross) so he was COMPLETELY at fault for not paying attention.
Like I said, if he couldn't see where he was going, he had no business GOING.
Editting... I reread! Deleted comments
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Old 09-23-05, 09:23 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
Nonsense.
He TURNED into her (either left or right cross) so he was COMPLETELY at fault for not paying attention.
Like I said, if he couldn't see where he was going, he had no business GOING.
The article doesn't say that he "TURNED into her". It says "She was traveling east on Elm Street in front of the Brown Fine Arts Center when the truck turned into a small lane into the college between the Center and College Hall, police said."

That could mean anything - that she was already in the street and he did in fact turn into her, or that he was in the middle of his turn and she shot out in front of him. I don't know, and neither do you.

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Old 09-23-05, 09:25 AM   #17
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I make a two different assumptions, which I naturally think are more reasonable and realistic than those two:

a) Someone in charge of a lethal weapon has a duty not to hit anyone with it.
b) A vulnerable cyclist, particularly adult & experienced, will try very hard to avoid being hit, especially by a truck.

I think it is pretty reasonable to make an initial presumption of fault on the driver's part in any driver/cycle (or pedestrian) conflict. A legal presumption like that might make drivers pay more attention.

In the UK there are frequent cases of dead cyclists where the driver is blatantly at fault but gets away with a vey light sentence as 'it was an accident'. I go with cheebahmunkey - manslaughter.
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Old 09-23-05, 09:31 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdtschida
To those of you ready to lynch the driver:

Maybe he really didn't see her... seriously. Try placing yourself in the drivers shoes, what if you honestly didn't see someone that you accidentally killed?
He knew damn well he was getting behind the wheel of a deadly weapon when he started his day - or he should have - and he would have been wise to behave accordingly, which would require extreme vigilance. If he didn't see her, it's because he wasn't looking hard enough. How do I know? Well, if he'd been paying enough attention to not kill anybody, he wouldn't have killed anybody. QED.
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Old 09-23-05, 09:41 AM   #19
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We have virtually no information on this one. What we do have is consistent with the cyclist hitting the side of the truck. If that is the case whose fault is it? Still the truck drivers?

Of course the little we have is also consistent with many other things, many of which put the driver at fault.

One thing I find interesting on this one is that it seems the guy did all the right things after the fact and people still want to lynch him. They are looking for witnesses, yet he waited with his foot on the brakes to prevent the truck from rolling back over her until the wheels could be chocked. Just how long did that take? Who called the police and ambulance? Could it have been the driver?
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Old 09-23-05, 09:56 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmilne
I make a two different assumptions, which I naturally think are more reasonable and realistic than those two:

a) Someone in charge of a lethal weapon has a duty not to hit anyone with it.
b) A vulnerable cyclist, particularly adult & experienced, will try very hard to avoid being hit, especially by a truck.
I understand what you're trying to get at, but it still carries the same cyclist=good motorist=evil spin. I'm sure the driver, especially being a professional, tries very hard not to hit people.

I've never counted, but I'll bet there's at least one post per day to these forums by someone complaining about the stupid, dangerous and unthinking things they've seen other cyclists do during the course of their day. From time to time you'll also see a post from someone expressing disbeleif at the stupid thing they themselves did while riding. I think it's disingenuous, at best, to then turn around when the situation suits us and act like bikers are perennial victims.

I didn't get a halo when I bought my ride, and I don't think anyone else here did either. Maybe I need a new LBS?

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Old 09-23-05, 10:04 AM   #21
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Not to stick up for anyone but an armored truck has less than optimum visibility and many more blind spots than any car.
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Old 09-23-05, 10:06 AM   #22
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Not to stick up for anyone but an armored truck has less than optimum visibility and many more blind spots than any car.
Are you suggesting that the manufacturer is culpable?
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Old 09-23-05, 10:16 AM   #23
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I like pmilne's view of both sides of the issue.

I remember when I was an absolute newbie rider, I was so aware of traffic that I made a lot of stops. Of course it took longer, but now that I'm more used to the traffic, I find myself dismissing things that I would have considered dangerous as a newbie.

We can never be too cautious as cyclists sharing the road.
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Old 09-23-05, 10:29 AM   #24
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I know that area, and people jet in and out of those side streets like crazy. I can't recall an image of that specific spot where it happened, so I can't comment on any obstructions.

The man probably knew he was at fault because of his distraught state. We'll probably never know all the details, but theres a good chance he is very much in the wrong and should get what he deserves. When you're driving a big ass vehicle like that, you have to be especially careful because those things don't stop on a dime.
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Old 09-23-05, 10:40 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recursive
Are you suggesting that the manufacturer is culpable?
- actually, that's kind of insightful...

- i shop at a supermarket about a block or so around the corner... a main thoroughfare is a 90-degree turn around a corner... a line of trees blocks left exiting drivers' view to the right, where motorists coming off a 50mph road have turned right (and frequently exceed the 25mph speed limit by 10mph or more)

- poor landscaping, bad landscape architecture, and a ******** physical geography have been combined by the shopping center designer/owner to create a perfect recipe for pedestrian, cyclists, handicapped, and vehicular accidents...

- hell yes, there is culpability if views are blocked or impeded by structure, etc.
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