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Old 04-22-08, 11:49 AM   #1
destro713
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Someone I know was killed on Sunday. Bike bloggers are idiots.

His name was Tyler, and it happened late last Saturday night (technically Sunday morning) in Chicago, on Logan Boulevard. Google it and you'll find it.

From what I gather, Tyler was in the bike lane, heading towards a yellow light. He wanted to beat the light, but also wanted to turn left. He veered in front of the path of the cars — which were, of course, also trying to beat the light, but going straight. He wasn't wearing a helmet. Died of a head injury.

I knew Tyler a little bit. I feel terrible for their family and Tyler's friends. But that's not what this post is about. What gets me about this is that Googling the incident brings up a bunch of blog entries where people are accusing the news outlets of shoddy reporting because there weren't enough questions raised about how the driver could have been at fault.

The bike community does a great disservice to everyone, drivers and bikers alike, when they pretend that bikers are never responsible for bike accidents. Again, my heart is with all those who knew this guy better than I did — especially his brother, whom I worked with for a couple years. (I can't imagine what must be going through his mind right now.) But if the news articles are even close to accurate, this incident was completely preventable by the cyclist. The bike evangelists can have their moral superiority complex, and the messenger hipsters can have their fake statistics about how helmets aren't a factor in most accidents, and helmets make drivers treat bikers more dangerously, and whatever other nonsense someone sees fit to write on the internet. But, assuming the description given by the witnesses isn't some kind of mass anti-cyclist conspiracy, the fact is that this guy was riding his bicycle in what is generally a very bike-aware city, made an illegal and extremely dangerous maneuver, and wasn't wearing a helmet, and now he is dead.

I was friends with him on Facebook. His profile on there has now become some sort of strange, internet-age tomb, frozen in time from when he last exchanged goofy messages with his friends. Goodbye, Tyler. Wish I could have known you better.

Wear your helmet. Wear your lights. Ride defensively. There is no excuse not to do any of these things. Drivers can kill you, but so can hubris. Stay safe.

-Ethan
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Old 04-22-08, 12:05 PM   #2
Geonz
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What a tragedy

Don't count on the news articles being close to accurate, though. Yes, it's possible, but there's a universal tendency to reconstruct these accidents so the one guy who can't speak for himself bears the brunt. So, they might be close to accurate, but they might not.
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Old 04-22-08, 12:11 PM   #3
Kurt Erlenbach
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Thanks for your post, Ethan, and I'm very sorry for your loss.

Please post a link to the blogs to which you refer.
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Old 04-22-08, 12:11 PM   #4
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RIP

So sad.

Let's all ride carefully and to the best of our ability...
__________________
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
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Old 04-22-08, 12:13 PM   #5
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such terrible news. condolences to his family.
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Old 04-22-08, 12:37 PM   #6
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I'm sad to hear about your loss.

Please remember that we're all people here too, blogging idiots, non-helmeted hipsters, safety nannies, and grieving alike.
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Old 04-22-08, 01:36 PM   #7
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I am deeply sorry for your loss. However I must add something.

I used to work as a personal injury attorney for insurance companies - insurance defense. I have found that an accident report by police officers does not always get to the bottom of what really happened. In the case involving your friend, the accident was most likely investigated well because it involved a death. But in doing hundreds of depositions of parties, witnesses and even a few police officers, I have sometimes found critical errors that seriously cast doubt on investigations and conclusions of reports.
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Old 04-22-08, 02:10 PM   #8
destro713
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http://www.biketraffic.org/cbfblog_c...=1527_0_19_0_C

There's an entry.

There's also a blog or two that quotes that guy, and a host of commenters on news articles and said blogs who agree with that opinion.

I know that the reported story can't be trusted blindly, but it also can't be distrusted blindly. Going on what the few news articles say and what I know of that intersection, it definitely seems like the cyclist was the one who was initially in a position he didn't have the right-of-way to be in at that moment. Of course it's impossible and senseless to really assign the blame to one party, since every accident is two-sided to some degree, and blame won't bring a person back to life. I just wish the reactions to these kinds of things could be more constructive and less reactionary. They're squandering an important opportunity to tell the bike community what they can do right, in favor of ranting about what everyone else may or may not have done wrong. That helps nobody. Bike advocacy should be about keeping bikers safe.
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Old 04-22-08, 02:22 PM   #9
zeytoun
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Quote:
Bike advocacy should be about keeping bikers safe.
+1 on an oft-forgotten but hugely important goal.

Rushing to beat a yellow light is very tempting (especially if you clip in). I know that I have to force myself not to sprint when a light turns yellow. Sobering.
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Old 04-22-08, 02:58 PM   #10
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Thank you for your post, and I'm sorry for your loss.
I'll ride a little safer on the way to work tomorrow (and resist the temptation to beat the light).
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Old 04-22-08, 02:58 PM   #11
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Sorry for your loss destro... and i know what you mean, it drives me nuts when wingnut advocates use tragic circumstance to further thier agenda.
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Old 04-22-08, 05:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geonz View Post
Don't count on the news articles being close to accurate, though. Yes, it's possible, but there's a universal tendency to reconstruct these accidents so the one guy who can't speak for himself bears the brunt. So, they might be close to accurate, but they might not.
Thanks for validating the OP.
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Old 04-22-08, 06:55 PM   #13
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This is a sad story, and I'm sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with the victim's family and friends.
I understand that you are upset, but you might want to re think making sweeping generalizations. Not all bike bloggers are idiots. Not all of them do the things you talk about.

I don't believe that "bikers are never responsible for bike accidents", but I do believe that the statements I saw in one article should be cause for concern to all cyclists.
It is a statement in a CBS2 story by a police officer.

From the story,

"The captain said this was their first cycling fatality of the season, and officers are being urged to stop cyclists who are violating traffic laws.

""I told [the officers] at roll call, 'If you see a bicyclist violating a law, stop them,'" he said, "It can save their life.""

I have no problem with police ticketing bicyclists violating the law, what I have a problem with is the captain specifically targeting them. How about instead of saying if you see a bike bicyclist violating the law, say, "if you see anyone violating a law that endangers someone else."

Too often I've had my life endangered, including getting hit, only to have the police tell me it was my fault for even being on the road. I'm not saying that's what happened here, but that's certainly the message I get from the captains statements.
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Old 04-23-08, 02:49 AM   #14
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It's not just cyclists, it's bloggers in general, gotta have all the important drama going on, or you wont get any viewers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikesafer View Post
"The captain said this was their first cycling fatality of the season, and officers are being urged to stop cyclists who are violating traffic laws.

""I told [the officers] at roll call, 'If you see a bicyclist violating a law, stop them,'" he said, "It can save their life.""

I have no problem with police ticketing bicyclists violating the law, what I have a problem with is the captain specifically targeting them. How about instead of saying if you see a bike bicyclist violating the law, say, "if you see anyone violating a law that endangers someone else."

Too often I've had my life endangered, including getting hit, only to have the police tell me it was my fault for even being on the road. I'm not saying that's what happened here, but that's certainly the message I get from the captains statements.
It's a reasonable reaction due to recent events. People always react to events, I don't know why you'd call them out this time.
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Old 04-23-08, 03:09 AM   #15
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Sincere condolences.

By all descriptions, this accident needn't have happened, making it problematic to introduce the helmet issue. If the dangerous maneuver hadn't been attempted, would a helmet have been necessary? It's like admonishing a trigger-happy gun carrier to always always wear a bulletproof vest.
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Old 04-23-08, 04:33 AM   #16
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My condolences on your personal loss in this tragedy. Thank you for posting your thoughts.
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Old 04-23-08, 10:22 PM   #17
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it is horribly disconcerting for a bike rider to lose a friend or acquaintance in a bike accident. it's particularly challenging when the accident is not as black and white as some people might like it to be. thanks for expressing yourself so clearly about this troubling event. it's always worth an occasional reminder that we are neither immortal nor flawless. we're just humans on bikes and humans are, after all, only human.

my condolences.
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