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Old 02-04-07, 07:34 AM   #1
Slow Train
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Bicycle Hits, Kills Man Crossing NW Street [Wash. Post Article]

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By Clarence Williams and Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 4, 2007; Page C04


A man was struck by a bicycle and killed yesterday while trying to cross the street in Northwest Washington, D.C. police said.

The man, who appeared to be in his 60s, was hit about 5:30 p.m. while walking across New Hampshire Avenue in the Petworth area, police said.

Bicycle Hits, Kills Man Crossing Street
Article points out that this is a very rare event but before we chalk it up to being just a freak occurrence lets remind ourselves that most accidents have contributing factors.

Was the cyclist riding faster than prudent? In an urban environment shouldn't we ride well within the ability of the bike and our reaction times to be able to quickly stop or avoid?

I know as a cyclist I demand any vehicle do the above. Shouldn't pedestrians also have the right to expects this from cyclists as well?
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Old 02-04-07, 07:56 AM   #2
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There is some missing information here. Was the pedestrian crossing at a cross walk? Was the pedestrian crossing at an intersection? If so, was he crossing with or against the light. Was the pedestrian J-walking? Was the cyclist riding in the proper direction, i.e on the right side of the road? Did the cyclist ride through a red traffic signal? Did the cyclist fail to yield at crosswalk?

The cyclist is required to obey all traffic laws the same as the operator of a motor vehicle. With respect to the speed of the cyclist see the previuos statement. He is permitted to go as fast as he is capable provided he does not exceed the speed limit. There are no special speed restrictions for cyclists.

Without more information fault can not be determined. It may be the cyclists fault and it may be the pedestrians fault. Just because the pedestrian died as a result of this collision it does not cause the blame to fall upon the cyclist.

Furthermore, if it is found that the pedestrian is at fault as the cyclist I would be looking for compensation from the pedestrians homeowner's insurer for damages to my bicycle, medical costs, and time lost from work.
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Old 02-04-07, 09:49 AM   #3
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Regardless what caused the crash or who was at fault, the point I take away from this is that someone on a bicycle can, and does, kill pedestrians just as dead as if the pedestrian had been struck by a car.

The "......when my bike becomes as dangerous as a car......" arguement that pops up from time to time, just flew out the window, again.
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Old 02-04-07, 10:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterRun
Regardless what caused the crash or who was at fault, the point I take away from this is that someone on a bicycle can, and does, kill pedestrians just as dead as if the pedestrian had been struck by a car.

The "......when my bike becomes as dangerous as a car......" arguement that pops up from time to time, just flew out the window, again.
Right. Let me know the next time someone plows through a crowded market on their bike and kills 10 people. Or drives through someone's bedroom wall and kills someone sleeping in their bed.
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Old 02-04-07, 10:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slow Train
Was the cyclist riding faster than prudent? In an urban environment shouldn't we ride well within the ability of the bike and our reaction times to be able to quickly stop or avoid?
Only if you are riding on the sidewalk or on a MUP that has a lot of pedestrian traffic. Otherwise, the safest speed for a bike is as close to the speed of automotive traffic that you can physically muster. And that goes for riding on the shoulder or bike lane as well.
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Old 02-04-07, 10:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterRun
Regardless what caused the crash or who was at fault, the point I take away from this is that someone on a bicycle can, and does, kill pedestrians just as dead as if the pedestrian had been struck by a car.

The "......when my bike becomes as dangerous as a car......" arguement that pops up from time to time, just flew out the window, again.
A cyclist can also kill themselves.
What about the indirect dangers? Pollution noise, air, land, waste, water.
Yea Peds rule.
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Old 02-04-07, 10:58 AM   #7
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the man fell and struck his head after the collision
The leading cause of head injury is falling

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In 2005, it was reported that about 90 pedestrians or bicyclists are killed each year in the Washington area.
Funny, Google "pedestrian deaths washington dc" and you get a Washington Post article that says,

Quote:
The District had 16 pedestrian fatalities this year, up from an average of 12 annually during the past three years
Google bicyclist deaths Washington DC and I got a NHTSA document that shows Pedalcyclist Traffic Fatalities in DC are 3.

...sounds like 90 pedestrians or bicyclists in the area is a little misleading because it insinuates the problem is bigger than it is.

Last edited by closetbiker; 02-04-07 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 02-04-07, 11:07 AM   #8
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This story proves that cyclists can cause death. The incidents are thankfully rare, but that doesn't help this man's family in any way.

This story gives a perspective on the thread about buzzing pedestrians. Just don't do it.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 02-04-07 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 02-04-07, 11:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Commute
While this story proves that cyclists can cause death, the incidents are thankfully rare. But that doesn't help this man's family in any way.

This story gives a perspective on the thread about buzzing pedestrians. Just don't do it.
I was about to post the same thread link - thanks.
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Old 02-04-07, 11:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
I was about to post the same thread link - thanks.
Your welcome. The more mentions the better. We cyclists need to remember that even though we're not as dangerous as drivers of cars, and even though we'll likely hurt ourselves in any accident, we can hurt people, too.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 02-04-07 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 02-04-07, 02:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
Only if you are riding on the sidewalk or on a MUP that has a lot of pedestrian traffic. Otherwise, the safest speed for a bike is as close to the speed of automotive traffic that you can physically muster. And that goes for riding on the shoulder or bike lane as well.
I disagree. Just as it is not always safe to drive a car at the speed limit, there are many scenarios in which I think it is unsafe to ride a bike as fast as physically possible, even if other traffic is going faster. For example:

* if the asphalt is in bad condition
* if I'm going down a steep, windy hill
* if it is very dark
* if the road is icy

Not knowing the details of this incident where the pedestrian died, I can't assign fault. However, regardless of what type of vehicle you use, you must keep your speed low enough so that you can keep control of it under any reasonably anticipatable circumstances. That you were going the speed limit or that you were going the same speed as everyone else is not a valid excuse.
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Old 02-04-07, 02:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli_Damon
I disagree. Just as it is not always safe to drive a car at the speed limit, there are many scenarios in which I think it is unsafe to ride a bike as fast as physically possible, even if other traffic is going faster. For example:

* if the asphalt is in bad condition
* if I'm going down a steep, windy hill
* if it is very dark
* if the road is icy

Not knowing the details of this incident where the pedestrian died, I can't assign fault. However, regardless of what type of vehicle you use, you must keep your speed low enough so that you can keep control of it under any reasonably anticipatable circumstances. That you were going the speed limit or that you were going the same speed as everyone else is not a valid excuse.
If the asphalt is in bad condition, then your fastest speed will be lower due to rolling resistance. Remember, you are a bike, not a motorcycle and your power output is limited. Still, you must go as fast as you can.

On a steep windy hill, common sense should prevail. But if automotive traffic is going 45 down such a road, then I'm safer at 35 or 40 than I am at 20.

It it's very dark, then I should have a light that's bright enough that I can see ahead of my stopping distance. If not, I should stay on lighted roads.

And if the road is icy, Why am I out on my bike?
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Old 02-04-07, 03:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Commute
This story proves that cyclists can cause death. The incidents are thankfully rare, but that doesn't help this man's family in any way.

This story gives a perspective on the thread about buzzing pedestrians. Just don't do it.
Ok, are we are assuming it is the cyclist’s fault? If it is, then yes I feel for the pedestrian's family and compensation is due. If it turns out to be the pedestrian’s fault, then screw him for putting himself and the cyclist in danger and his family will just have to suck it up. If it turns out to be the fault of the pedestrian then my sympathies go out to the cyclist's family.
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Old 02-04-07, 03:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
Still, you must go as fast as you can.
Say what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
On a steep windy hill, common sense should prevail. But if automotive traffic is going 45 down such a road, then I'm safer at 35 or 40 than I am at 20.
Yeah, it hurts a lot less when you crash at 35 or 40.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
And if the road is icy, Why am I out on my bike?
Why not?
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Old 02-04-07, 03:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
On a steep windy hill, common sense should prevail. But if automotive traffic is going 45 down such a road, then I'm safer at 35 or 40 than I am at 20.

But the best reason is that going fast is FUN. I love the thrill of catching the slowly acclerating truck or bus at a traffic signal and then motorpacing. I have motorpaced in excess of 60 MPH. That is a rush!
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Old 02-04-07, 03:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DM4
Ok, are we are assuming it is the cyclist’s fault? If it is, then yes I feel for the pedestrian's family and compensation is due. If it turns out to be the pedestrian’s fault, then screw him for putting himself and the cyclist in danger and his family will just have to suck it up. If it turns out to be the fault of the pedestrian then my sympathies go out to the cyclist's family.
I was careful not to say who was at fault in this accident. My point was that cyclists can kill pedestrians. Regardless of whose fault this was, it proves that pedestrians can dies in cyclist-pedestrian accidents.

Someone had just started a thread about the joys of buzzing careless pedestrians. I think that's stupid, reckless, and dangerous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
If the asphalt is in bad condition, then your fastest speed will be lower due to rolling resistance. Remember, you are a bike, not a motorcycle and your power output is limited. Still, you must go as fast as you can.
Not true. If the pavement is irregular (lots of potholes and cracks, for example), rolling resistance is not what slows you down. Fear of hitting a pothole too fast and flying over your handlebars slows you down.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
On a steep windy hill, common sense should prevail. But if automotive traffic is going 45 down such a road, then I'm safer at 35 or 40 than I am at 20.
Sometimes yes, sometimes, no.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
And if the road is icy, Why am I out on my bike?
Because you were smart enough to buy the right kind of tires.
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Old 02-04-07, 03:52 PM   #17
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The only close encounter I've ever had with a ped was on the Seaside Promenade. It was not very crowded but there was a woman about eight seconds ahead of me. I gave a brief ring, just so I did not surprise her. She looked at me and moved to the edge of the pavement; but she was so involved in her telephone conversation that she must have forgot, so that she stepped into my path, with her back to me, when I was about two seconds away. I was able to avoid a collision the close encounter might have distracted her from her conversation for a moment.

Everywhere I have lived has a "basic speed law" whereby one can be cited for driving faster than is safe regardless of the posted speed limit. In my judgement, I was operating at a safe speed but I was assuming ordinary attentiveness from others who were sharing the right of way.
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Old 02-04-07, 04:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by closetbiker
...sounds like 90 pedestrians or bicyclists in the area is a little misleading because it insinuates the problem is bigger than it is.
Not to US citizens in major cities. It's always "the area", metro area, greater area. Even cities that aggressively annex development on their borders are far outpaced by development. One example, Fort Bend County near H-town, AKA First Colony (ugh) well over a million people in that suburb & they likely all consider themselves Houston. Gotta consider the "area" when it has that many people, in just one direction, even if they are 25-30 miles from the core. Houston is big, the Metro Area, is huge.
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Old 02-04-07, 04:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
you must go as fast as you can.
I have this written on my handlebar stem with a sharpie.

I *partly* agree that I feel safer under *most* conditions when I am going fast enough to significantly drop the overtaking speed of traffic, or eliminate overtaking traffic altogether. As much as it sometimes gets downplayed on BF, overtaking collisions remain the most common fatal accident type around here based on the mosr recent figures available.

But the reality is that only in the summer on my road bike can I realistically keep up with automobile traffic on suburban streets in a non-traffic jam situation. Wind, bad roads, debris, marginal lighting slow me down.

Of course in the winter it is even worse, it generally puts me at less than half the speed of cars when roads are bare.

To address the original post, I don't think it's reasonable to expect cyclists to be held to some arbitrary lower speed limit than motorists in the event of an accident. The newspaper article seemed to be playing up how "fast" the bike was going, and seemed to deliberately skimp on details of what caused the actual collision.
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Old 02-04-07, 05:02 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Commute
Someone had just started a thread about the joys of buzzing careless pedestrians. I think that's stupid, reckless, and dangerous.
Someone can be found to say all sorts of stupid things. Some of them even start dopey threads, looking for validation of their own dopey behavior. No one agreed with the OP on the joy of buzzing pedestrians, or on his rationale for such behavior either.
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Old 02-04-07, 05:22 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterRun
Regardless what caused the crash or who was at fault, the point I take away from this is that someone on a bicycle can, and does, kill pedestrians just as dead as if the pedestrian had been struck by a car.

The "......when my bike becomes as dangerous as a car......" arguement that pops up from time to time, just flew out the window, again.
+1

COBs suck.
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Old 02-04-07, 05:31 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHouston
Not to US citizens in major cities. It's always "the area", metro area, greater area. Even cities that aggressively annex development on their borders are far outpaced by development. One example, Fort Bend County near H-town, AKA First Colony (ugh) well over a million people in that suburb & they likely all consider themselves Houston. Gotta consider the "area" when it has that many people, in just one direction, even if they are 25-30 miles from the core. Houston is big, the Metro Area, is huge.
What does "the area" mean? Does it include the area north to Baltimore or south in Virginia?

When the article says this happened in Washington, D.C, and the Post previously reported an average of 12 deaths a year of pedestrians and 3 deaths are reported by the NHTSA in Washington DC, how do they come up with 90 deaths and feel it's representative of deaths in Washington DC? They coud have just as well said there were thousands of deaths and be just as informative.
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Old 02-04-07, 06:24 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by closetbiker
What does "the area" mean? Does it include the area north to Baltimore or south in Virginia?
It depends on whether you are trying to overstate the number or not. To come up with the number 90 it would probably have to be a VERY big area.
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Old 02-04-07, 06:29 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staehpj1
It depends on whether you are trying to overstate the number or not. To come up with the number 90 it would probably have to be a VERY big area.
...and to include cyclists with pedestrians is not very enlightening either.

It's often thought that cyclists run higher risks and have higher fatalities and injuries than pedestrians, but often this just isn't the case, so they package things up to make them look like they do.
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Old 02-04-07, 07:57 PM   #25
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And now over to sneakerforums.net:

Helmet Foot: If the pedestrian was at the intersection crossing with the light, clearly the cyclist was at fault. Practially speaking, the pedestrian was walking where the cyclist would be unlikely to be looking for a person (in the crosswalk). The pedestrian should have chosen a more conspicuous position, e.g. at the cross-point of an "X" drawn from all corners of the intersection and perhaps could have been paying more attention himself. Obviously pedestrian "facilities" such as crosswalks and blinking walk/don't walk lights should be eliminated and their inventor killed.

Walkologist: Jesus, HH, the man's body isn't even cool yet you a-hole. Thoughts and prayers to the family.

shbikes: Personally, I never walk unless I'm in a walkway encapsulated in bullet- and bomb-proof glass and is at least 50 yards away from the nearest bicycle.

nosebeam: It seems to me both parties paying attention and being more careful would have been prudent. That's my approach.


(OK folks....you can continue the skit....I'm out of time unfortunately)
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