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Old 12-16-05, 04:05 PM   #1
Marge
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Bicycle Commuter Left for Dead

Bicycle commuter left for dead: Wife comes across scene of hit-and-run right after it happens
2005-12-16
by David A. Grant
Journal Reporter

After a hit-and-run driver slammed into his bicycle and left him for dead by the side of the road, Ed Schmidt is taking some time to decide whether he'll resume his 26-mile round-trip commute from his south Bellevue home to downtown Seattle.

Schmidt was resting at his home Thursday, still suffering from nausea and vertigo after the accident Tuesday at 5:12 p.m. in the 5400 block of Forest Drive Southeast, not far from his home.

He suffered a broken collarbone, a concussion and cuts and bruises, leading to mixed emotions.

``I'm just grateful to be alive,'' Schmidt said. ``I feel horrible.''

He estimates he was going about 5 mph and the car was moving at more than 30 mph.

``So many things could have gone wrong. I must be living right.''

Wife came upon accident

Schmidt's deliberation about continuing his bike commute probably will be appreciated by his wife, Lisa, who is also an avid cyclist and by coincidence came upon the accident scene just moments after it happened.

She knew immediately it was her husband because the location was close to their home and because of his large commuter-type bike with its distinct rack. Other motorists already had stopped to help.

``I went `Oh, my God.' It was a nightmare it was him,'' she said. ``I spoke to myself out loud, saying `Don't freak out. Keep calm.'''

He had blood all over his face, Lisa Schmidt said, but the wounds turned out to be superficial. After the medics took her husband to Overlake Hospital, her unruffled exterior collapsed.

``I came completely unglued and was shaking,'' she said. ``My son arrived shortly after that. He helped get me together.''

Woman stops to help bicyclist

Meanwhile, the last thing Ed Schmidt remembered was riding up a hill in a well-marked bike lane, the same as he'd done several hundred times before during the commute he makes about three times a week on average.

The next thing he remembers, Schmidt was lying on the ground with a people around him.

``I had no idea where I was,'' said Schmidt, who supervises audits at the office of the inspector general with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. ``I'm a very safety conscious rider, but I had no chance here.''

It turned out a woman in the car behind the one that struck him stopped to help rather than chasing after the hit-and-run driver, a decision for which Schmidt is grateful.

``I don't understand why anyone would do that,'' he said of the hit-and-run driver. ``It's illogical and immoral to leave someone hurt. I would never hesitate to help someone.''

Wife appeals to hit-and-run drivers

Lisa Schmidt appealed to the driver who ran her husband off the road to ``come forward and do the right thing; learn from the mistake.''

She also wants motorists to be more patient and to slow down because, like her husband, ``A driver's life can change in an instant.''

``We're just so blessed there were people there,'' Lisa Schmidt said. ``It makes me feel good about living here, people wanting the right thing to happen.''

Well at least the cops are trying to nab the suspects.
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Old 12-20-05, 12:26 AM   #2
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That sucks! Although it takes only 5-seconds to speed up, get a license-plate number, then turn around. I'm seriously thinking twice about taking a tour up in that area this summer...
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Old 12-20-05, 12:45 AM   #3
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I was hoping since the first time I saw this story that they would have caught the person by now.
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Old 12-20-05, 12:58 AM   #4
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Somehoe I doubt that anyone would come forward and confess It was probably a distracted driver swerving off the lane and into the bike lane
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Old 12-20-05, 10:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peregrine
Somehoe I doubt that anyone would come forward and confess It was probably a distracted driver swerving off the lane and into the bike lane
More likely a drunk. If you mearly make a mistake driving and hurt someone, the consequence of stopping and owning up is not that great. However if you run and get caught you're starting to talk felony. Thus it's a hugely irrational decision to run.

If you're drunk, and maybe have a history of DUI, stopping is already likely to lead to a criminal conviction, loss of license and jail time. Thus it is a slightly less irrational decision to run. Still illegal, and morally reprehensible, but one where the cost / benefit calculation may make running tempting.
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Old 12-20-05, 08:48 PM   #6
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That does sound more reasonable. But still some people could just panic and not necessarily make the most rational decision.

whatever the case, I hope they find that driver soon
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Old 12-20-05, 09:08 PM   #7
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That's why hit & run needs to be a far more serious violation of the law than DUI. As long as it's the lesser of two evils, drivers will continue to make the rational choice.
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Old 12-20-05, 09:10 PM   #8
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Whatever happened to Helmet Head? He would have blamed the cyclist for riding in the bike lane.

I hope that never happens to me. I do the best I can to be safe. All these stories, it's like you're just minding your own business and suddenly you wake up in the street covered in blood. It's scary. I hope it never happens to me. I love riding my bike to work so much I'd be so sad if I couldn't do it.
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Old 12-20-05, 11:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
Whatever happened to Helmet Head? He would have blamed the cyclist for riding in the bike lane.
HH hasn't posted in a couple of days ... I'm not even sure he would blame the cyclist.
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Old 12-21-05, 01:18 PM   #10
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I hope that never happens to me. ... All these stories, it's like you're just minding your own business and suddenly you wake up in the street covered in blood. It's scary.
The way I look at it, you can die anywhere with no warning. You could choke to death alone while watching a WalMart commercial, or you can die doing something you love and setting a positive example for the entire world. Personally, I'd rather die doing something I love. No matter how it happens, death comes. Let's enjoy life to the last breath.

Fortunately this guy didn't die. I hope he's able to get back on his bike. It would be sad if he gets to live, but with the joy removed for the rest of his life.
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Old 12-24-05, 12:37 AM   #11
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riding slow can be very dangerous
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Old 12-24-05, 04:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
More likely a drunk. If you mearly make a mistake driving and hurt someone, the consequence of stopping and owning up is not that great. However if you run and get caught you're starting to talk felony. Thus it's a hugely irrational decision to run.

If you're drunk, and maybe have a history of DUI, stopping is already likely to lead to a criminal conviction, loss of license and jail time. Thus it is a slightly less irrational decision to run. Still illegal, and morally reprehensible, but one where the cost / benefit calculation may make running tempting.
Agreed. Hit and run should have a VERY hefty penalty. I mean, honestly, one can argue that when one decides to DUI, they're doing it without great reasoning ability there. But, hit and run, you're making a clear and conscious choice to leave a person you just hit. Very bad. Up there with texting on your cell phone and hitting someone.
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Old 12-24-05, 04:44 AM   #13
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Even though, a lotta people are against traffic cameras since they are controlled by the police state of america, one benefit would be the ability to catch scumbags like that hit and run driver.
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Old 12-24-05, 04:46 AM   #14
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seriously, when the day comes when nanotechnology and digital cameras fuse. I want to record every second of my life so I can get sucker like that scumbag.
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Old 12-24-05, 07:12 AM   #15
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I feel for the victim, and hope he is able to bike again...I hate to think this would be a deliberate act, but with the road rage idiocy I see by (a very few) drivers around Seattle, it would not suprise me if a raged commuter tagged a bicyclist as a way of playing 'educate the bicyclist.' Being drunk would make it easier for a driver to act, spurred on, perhaps, by the ridiculous anti-bike rants aired by some radio shock jockeys .


Quote:
Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
HH hasn't posted in a couple of days ... I'm not even sure he would blame the cyclist.

However unfortunate, (in this forum) HH has blamed cyclists hit from behind for failing to ride using his D.L.L.P.-C.L.A.P.P.E.R. lane positioning, Brian.
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Old 12-24-05, 09:48 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
HH hasn't posted in a couple of days ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
However unfortunate, (in this forum) HH has blamed cyclists hit from behind for failing to ride using his D.L.L.P.-C.L.A.P.P.E.R. lane positioning, Brian.
In the Holiday Spirit let us pray that HH's uncharacteristic silence isn't the result of his finding out the hard way about the idiocy of practicing his D.L.L.P.-C.L.A.P.P.E.R. lane positioning theories in the real world of high speed traffic.
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