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Old 09-16-07, 10:14 AM   #1
Wordbiker
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Bicyclist killed in Tijeras

I just read this article, got a little upset and decided to post it here.

Beyond the tragic loss of a human being and fellow cyclist, what upsets me is the implication that bicycles somehow don't belong on the road...by a police officer that should know the law!

Read the details:

-The couple that were hit were riding in a wide shoulder.
-They were riding with cyclists in front of and behind them.
-This is a common route for local cyclists.
-The name of the driver is withheld. Why?
-The article states that no charges have been filed against the driver, implying the driver was without doubt at fault, yet not cited. Intentionally?

“This is a high speed roadway,” a deputy said. “People travel in excess of 50 miles an hour all the time, so any time you mix bicyclists with motor vehicles there’s defiantly a potential for some kind of hazard",
implying that it's stupid to drive a car where bicyclists ride or the inverse? Bikes can't do 50MPH, so I can guess. Oh, and the reporter strikes one of my peeves, using "defiantly" in place of "definitely". Get another job if you can't spell.

I'm really at a loss as to why that statement would be made. Are the police discouraging cycling or using the incident to make motorists more aware that they must watch out for bicycles on this stretch of old Route 66 that is a secondary route to Interstate 40 where bicycles are not allowed?

The way this was handled makes me think that if you wished to plan the perfect murder of a cyclist, just find out when they're riding and hit them with a car. It's quite likely you won't even receive a ticket. You may even get some sympathy from the police for sharing the road with such a foolish person that they dove underneath your wheels.
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Old 09-16-07, 10:58 AM   #2
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As we have discovered here in Oregon over the last couple years, "ordinary negligence" is not considered criminal according to the laws on the books. Perhaps that is also true in New Mexico. Do you have a state bicycle advocacy organization? It may be time to start writing or calling.
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Old 09-16-07, 11:24 AM   #3
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I know Donna, I'm just venting a bit here. I don't live in New mexico, but my wife is from there and we live only 50 miles from the border in CO.

To me the tragedy is more than the loss of life, it is the disregard for the value of that life displayed by the media and law enforcement's downplaying of the event due to the "poor choice" of riding a bicycle versus driving a car. I can understand if by law there's nothing the police can do, but making asinine statements to the news instead of showing some sympathy to the bereaved survivor or offering condolences to the families involved would show much better judgement.
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Old 09-16-07, 02:21 PM   #4
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stinkin auto drivers

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I know Donna, I'm just venting a bit here. I don't live in New mexico, but my wife is from there and we live only 50 miles from the border in CO.

To me the tragedy is more than the loss of life, it is the disregard for the value of that life displayed by the media and law enforcement's downplaying of the event due to the "poor choice" of riding a bicycle versus driving a car. I can understand if by law there's nothing the police can do, but making asinine statements to the news instead of showing some sympathy to the bereaved survivor or offering condolences to the families involved would show much better judgement.
+1 on that...........The fact is, there are quite a few instances where auto drivers are not attentive or driving defensively. They are often on a cell phone, hung over, going too fast or otherwise not in control of their vehicle. I have experienced many instances where auto drivers have disregarded my safety and simply dismiss my presence on the road. Passing me and turning in front of me, making left turns when I have the right of way, pulling out in front of me and passing too close are the most frequent offenses. Motor homes and trucks hauling horse trailers are the worst offenders, in my experience , as are upper class females driving SUV's, while putting on makeup and talking on their cell phones. I nearly always wear a highly visible orange or yellow shirt and frequently use a flashing LED taillight and headlight so I know they see me, in fact I use my rear view mirror and I see that they see me and still they cut me off, all the while yakking on their cell phones. The fact is, it is usually the auto drivers fault in most cases......I have been fortunate so far. Its often the same for motorcyclists, auto drivers look right through you as if you were not there at all and since you pose no threat to them personally, they mentally dismiss the consequences of their negligence. If a large slow moving truck or tractor were on the side of the road do you think auto drivers would see the threat and take the appropriate action? Many people should not be allowed to drive.........I think one appropriate punishment for auto drivers who hit bicyclists should be that they are required to ride with traffic on a bicycle, for a certain distance to work every day. This is of course if the accident is truly judged an accident and not negligent homicide. I don't think auto drivers take seriously their responsibility and often think they own the road and refuse to get out of their bubble of un-awareness.
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Old 09-16-07, 03:29 PM   #5
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two thirteen year old bicyclists were critically injured, rammed from behind this week in the greater Seattle area (actually Snohomish county, not King Co, my correction) by a driver distracted by her pet in her vehicle. No charges have been filed in this case either.

What's criminal in this country is the flippant disregard law enforcement and the courts have for drivers that negligently injure or kill pedestrians and bicyclists.

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Old 09-16-07, 08:15 PM   #6
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two thirteen year old bicyclists were critically injured, rammed from behind this week in King County by a driver distracted by her pet in her vehicle. No charges have been filed in this case either.

What's criminal in this country is the flippant disregard law enforcement and the courts have for drivers that negligently injure or kill pedestrians and bicyclists.
I couldn't agree more. Here's another. Amazing how they'll always state whether the bicyclist was wearing a helmet or not, but don't mention if the dumptruck driver was wearing a seatbelt.

I just wonder...if that same dumptruck had hit a car instead of a bicycle, would charges have been filed?
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Old 09-17-07, 06:16 PM   #7
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I couldn't agree more. Here's another. Amazing how they'll always state whether the bicyclist was wearing a helmet or not, but don't mention if the dumptruck driver was wearing a seatbelt.

I just wonder...if that same dumptruck had hit a car instead of a bicycle, would charges have been filed?

In the case in your original post, the question might be would charges be filed if the driver had hit and killed a police officer that was pulled over on the shoulder doing something?
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Old 09-18-07, 05:15 AM   #8
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Seems to me we always take the bait and get worked up when there may not be anything to get worked up about. The loss of life is tragic in this incident, but just because the driver's name wasn't released or because charges have not yet been filed is, in my opinion, nothing to get worked up about. Especially in an accident where loss of life is involved, the cops need to move slowly enough to get all the details correct. I am no attorney (nor am I a police officer), but, I imagine it is far tougher to upgrade charges if you make a mistake, and, I'm certain you would want to make certain of the potential defendant's correct personal details. It could be that there are some areas of his/her personal information that are not totally clear, so, not being required to share every little detail publicly, the cops just hold off on releasing anything more than the most basic outline of what happened.

It is not unusual for a few days or even more to pass before formal charges are filed.

The cop is certainly correct in his statement that the potential for the sort of accident that occurred is present whenever you mix traffic of widely varying speeds. If he has attended many accidents of this nature, he may sincerely wish that such a mix didn't exist. I, personally, don't take those statements as I read them above, to be anti-cyclist. You may read into them anything more as you see fit.

I'm not certain why so many in this forum feel the need to grab onto a story and just rant about it before we even know how the details will develop - that's why, while you'll see me rant about many things, you won't catch me ranting on this topic, even though I regularly assert my rights as a cyclist where it is safe and effective to do so.

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Old 09-18-07, 09:01 AM   #9
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Especially in an accident. . .
-Caruso

While I agree with your sentiment regarding a rush to judgment, words have meaning. . .and the initial reports in the Albuquerque press termed this an "accident." As noted in the movie Hot Fuzz -- they are collisions until a determination is made.

Why should a comedy movie point out this subtle truth?
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Old 09-18-07, 09:13 AM   #10
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I couldn't agree more. Here's another. Amazing how they'll always state whether the bicyclist was wearing a helmet or not, but don't mention if the dumptruck driver was wearing a seatbelt.

I just wonder...if that same dumptruck had hit a car instead of a bicycle, would charges have been filed?
For the record, Dumptrucks, and any vehicle over 10,000 pounds weight, do not require seatbelts. That's why there's no seatbelts on buses.
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Old 09-18-07, 09:44 AM   #11
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More of a sign that the US needs to lose an oil war in the Mideast--our country's car culture deserves a gigantic cosmic crack over the head.
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Old 09-18-07, 10:42 AM   #12
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More of a sign that the US needs to lose an oil war in the Mideast--our country's car culture deserves a gigantic cosmic crack over the head.
I'm not disagreeing with you exactly, but are you sure it's "car culture" or could it just be the dark side of amoral human nature (me first!)? We're experiencing a tremendous growth in the number of cyclists on the road where I live, and unfortunately the number of selfish jerks on bikes seems to be increasing as well.
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Old 09-25-07, 01:17 PM   #13
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For everyone's information: Got this from the wifey:

The guy killed on his bike in Tijeras was a first-year law student and
the Sheriff's Dept. has decided that the motorist was not at fault, thus
outraging the bike community. So there's a meeting:
BikeABQ is having a special meeting regarding this incident.

Date: Tuesday 25 September (tonight)
Time: 7pm - 8:30
Place: UNM Law School (1117 Stanford), room 2402

Bernalillo County Sheriff White will be in attendance to speak to what
happened and to help us organize a memorial ride.

Details at http://www.bikeabq.org
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Old 09-25-07, 10:30 PM   #14
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For the record, Dumptrucks, and any vehicle over 10,000 pounds weight, do not require seatbelts. That's why there's no seatbelts on buses.
Interstate commercial vehicle operators are required (Federal law) to wear seatbelts at all times while their vehicle is moving. Truck drivers can be (and have been) stopped and cited for this.
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Old 09-25-07, 11:08 PM   #15
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Especially in an accident. . .
-Caruso

While I agree with your sentiment regarding a rush to judgment, words have meaning. . .and the initial reports in the Albuquerque press termed this an "accident." As noted in the movie Hot Fuzz -- they are collisions until a determination is made.

Why should a comedy movie point out this subtle truth?
In American English, the term "accident" can be used as a synonym for a collision, particularly when involving automobiles.

But even if you want to play semantic games and insist on using the primary meaning of "accident", the usage is accurate unless you believe the collision may have been expected or intentional.
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Old 09-28-07, 10:34 AM   #16
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". . . the usage is accurate . . . "

I'm not sure if you have missed my point or if you are merely reinforcing it. . .

It's not a "semantic game" but an interest in seeing the language usage evolve. . .

As evidenced in the (British) movie, it is possible for usage to alter which words are chosen. Suppose you and I and others on this forum and the folks at MADD all started pushing for the use of "collision."

Any how, I'm late for a spin on my velocipede. . .
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Old 09-29-07, 05:08 AM   #17
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Plausable deniability? I guess that there are witnesses to support this--

http://www.koat.com/news/14123923/detail.html
"A preliminary investigation found a driver crested a hill and swerved to miss an on-coming car. That's when deputies believe the car hit Quinn and his wife. "


http://www.platewire.com/viewblog.aspx?bid=3024
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Old 09-29-07, 09:08 AM   #18
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two thirteen year old bicyclists were critically injured, rammed from behind this week in the greater Seattle area (actually Snohomish county, not King Co, my correction) by a driver distracted by her pet in her vehicle. No charges have been filed in this case either.

What's criminal in this country is the flippant disregard law enforcement and the courts have for drivers that negligently injure or kill pedestrians and bicyclists.
i find it... staggering that in North America killing somone with a gun gets you serious jailtime, but doing the same with a car? - meh.
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Old 09-29-07, 09:50 AM   #19
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The way this was handled makes me think that if you wished to plan the perfect murder of a cyclist, just find out when they're riding and hit them with a car. It's quite likely you won't even receive a ticket. You may even get some sympathy from the police for sharing the road with such a foolish person that they dove underneath your wheels.

Or the murder of any one else. Vehicular homicide is an almost unbeatable crime, which the Russians know and have imported to the US. The Senior Senator from Massachusetts can also clue you in on it.

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Old 10-12-07, 11:24 AM   #20
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http://www.alibi.com/index.php?story=20740&scn=news

The Real Side
A Cyclist Died Here
Remembering the fallen
By Jim Scarantino

Old Route 66 through Tijeras Canyon runs straight at mile marker 5. There are plenty of inherently dangerous places to ride a bicycle around Albuquerque. This isn’t one of them.

But here, on the guardrail, a hand-written sign has been left in memory of a cyclist killed Sept. 13, 2007.

James Quinn and his wife, Ashley, were riding the shoulder, a designated bike route. The signs begin back in the city at the Smith’s on Tramway. Many people ride this route every day, most for recreation, some commuting from homes in the East Mountains.

James Quinn was a law student and, according to the sign left by his sister, he died doing what he loved.

I pedaled out to the spot of this tragedy with Jon Knudsen, one of Albuquerque’s oracles of cycling, known to readers of local blogs as “Johnny Mango.” We wanted to see if there was any obvious explanation for the accident. We didn’t find it.

Visibility is unobstructed. Drivers can clearly see the frequent cyclists using the shoulder. This is not a place where a driver would come suddenly upon a cyclist or be confronted with oncoming vehicles quickly cresting a hill or rounding a curve. You can see for nearly half a mile on this straightaway.

What we saw didn’t fit the explanation offered by the driver involved in the accident, or the from-the-hip pronouncements of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO).

According to BCSO spokesperson Erin Kinnard Thompsom, the driver was passing a group of cyclists going up a hill. “Then the driver saw oncoming traffic and had no choice but to swerve back—I’m not sure I would even call it a swerve—and that’s when the cyclists were hit.” She said it did not appear the driver was at fault. Responding to complaints that BCSO was not taking this accident seriously, she said, “We consider this accident a tragedy, and we will do a complete and thorough investigation.”

If she meant what she said about “a complete and thorough investigation,” Thompson should not have instantly absolved the driver of responsibility for killing someone. Thompson might also want to take a closer look at the roadway before firing off quick opinions. Passing is not permitted on the hills through the two-lane stretch in this area. If the driver had been passing on a hill, she was passing illegally. Thompson also has some explaining to do on how and why the driver put herself into a situation where she had “no choice” but to kill someone.

BCSO has yet to release the accident report. The name of the driver who chose to drive into James and Ashley Quinn remains undisclosed. Johnny Mango smelled cover-up and conspiracy. His anger over the killing of another cyclist plugged the gaps in our information. I told him it might be a good sign the Sheriff was taking time with the report, hopefully getting it right so it couldn’t be ripped to shreds by a defense lawyer.

We stopped for coffee at the Just Imagine Gallery in Tijeras. Johnny knew the owner. (I believe he knows everyone around Burque.) We mentioned the accident. She remembered a man asking directions, then breaking into tears. It was James Quinn’s father, come to see where his son had lost his life.

In Seattle, they stencil “A cyclist died here” on roadways where people are killed by cars and trucks. Across the globe, in 20 countries and 70 cities, World Naked Bike Ride protests by exposing bare, vulnerable human bodies to the traffic that kills cyclists.

Here, we have named the south loop of the Bosque Trail after Chris Chavez, a firefighter killed biking to work on June 30, 1999. We have named a race in Torrance County after Pamela Lee Higgins, killed last year in broad daylight riding a designated bike lane in Albuquerque.

But we don’t honor all the cyclists killed in our community. Like James Warden, killed June 12, 2007, while riding on the shoulder along U.S. 550, or Ron Martinez, killed May 21, 2007, on the I-25 frontage road near Comanche.

Sheriff Darren White is taking the death of James Quinn much more seriously than some of his people. At a recent meeting with cycling activists he shared that he, too, had been hit while cycling. He has pledged a genuinely thorough investigation. In addition, sheriff’s deputies will escort a memorial ride past the site where Quinn died. On Oct. 13, cyclists wearing black mourners’ armbands will leave from UNM Law School and head to the Smith’s at Tramway and Central. From there, at 9 a.m., the ride will proceed in silence, in memory of James Quinn and all those who have been killed doing what they love.
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