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Old 04-22-10, 10:42 AM   #1
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Cop hits cyclist- not "really serious"

From The Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/22/10:

Lower Merion cruiser injures bicyclist

By Bonnie L. Cook

Inquirer Staff Writer
A bicyclist was struck and injured Wednesday morning by a Lower Merion police cruiser on East Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore.
The cruiser, headed to an emergency, was pulling out of a parking place in front of the Toyota dealership near where Chatham Road meets East Lancaster when it hit the westbound cyclist just before 9 a.m., said Sgt. Gene Pasternak of the Lower Merion police traffic safety unit.

Brad Paul, owner of the dealership, said the man on the bike was a Toyota employee but he would not identify him because his family had not yet been notified.
The man was flown to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, but his condition was not known. Pasternak said he did not believe the injuries were life-threatening.

The Lower Merion department is investigating. Police were trying to determine whether any surveillance cameras had captured the accident, Pasternak said.
The officer involved, whose name was not released, was not removed from patrol duty.

"We wouldn't take an officer off the street unless it was something really serious," Pasternak said.

Great attitude, there. Explains a lot about most cops' reactions to bike crashes.
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Old 04-22-10, 11:03 AM   #2
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My guess is that what they probably meant by "[not] something really serious" is that the officer obviously didn't intend to hit the cyclist. Mistakes can and will happen, and some negligence may even have been involved - or may not. We really don't know at this point. The officer was on his or her way to some emergency situation and likely in a hurry. Possibly even a bit distracted merging into traffic. And was the cause of an accident.

Contrast this with the NYPD officer whose trial began this week, for assaulting a moving cyclist, knocking him off his bike, and then framing the man for a crime he didn't commit. That puts questions about things that are serious enough to remove a police officer from active duty in a whole new light, and makes the quote a lot more understandable.
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Old 04-22-10, 11:21 AM   #3
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I agree that this hardly rises to the same level of the NYC incident, but it does reveal a certain attitude.
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Old 04-22-10, 11:25 AM   #4
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curious what the "emergency" was ...
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Old 04-22-10, 11:43 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by MTBLover View Post
"We wouldn't take an officer off the street unless it was something really serious," Pasternak said.
Wait ... you want the officer put on desk duty because he was involved in a traffic collision?

Have you ever had a traffic collision of sort? How would you like it if you were sent home (and not permitted to do your job) until the investigation was complete about who was at fault?

If the cyclist was killed, perhaps, but he wasn't ...
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Old 04-22-10, 12:00 PM   #6
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I agree that this hardly rises to the same level of the NYC incident, but it does reveal a certain attitude.
The fact that there was a collision, or the words that were quoted in the paper?
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Old 04-22-10, 12:05 PM   #7
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curious what the "emergency" was ...
Someone from the future called in and reported a bicyclist would be hit outside the Toyota dealership.
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Old 04-22-10, 12:09 PM   #8
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Wait ... you want the officer put on desk duty because he was involved in a traffic collision?

Have you ever had a traffic collision of sort? How would you like it if you were sent home (and not permitted to do your job) until the investigation was complete about who was at fault?

If the cyclist was killed, perhaps, but he wasn't ...
Ummm yes? I went out with this chick once that drove an ambulance. She was taken off driving duty for a week while they concluded their investigation. They didn't want unsafe drivers, and they didn't want potentially unsafe drivers on the road.

How would you like it if you were run into by a cop that could have been taken off the street the FIRST time he did it. The door swings both ways.

I feel he should ride a desk or ride shotgun with someone until the investigation either clears him, or has him repeat cop driving education again.
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Old 04-22-10, 12:38 PM   #9
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How would you like it if you were run into by a cop that could have been taken off the street the FIRST time he did it. The door swings both ways..
Yes, if that door is opened, it should swing both ways.

So if the cop hits you, you should be taken off the street too. (Let's assume that your job involves driving or riding somehow -- a messenger, delivery person, etc. It doesn't really matter if the vehicle is bike or car, the rules ought to be the same. Though really, this could be extended to all drivers/riders, whether they drive/ride as a part of their work or not -- you lose your right to drive/ride until the investigation is over after any accident [or perhaps only accidents where somebody was hurt].)
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Old 04-22-10, 02:08 PM   #10
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curious what the "emergency" was ...
That is an interesting point. What is excessive haste in responding to one 'emergency' might no tbe for another.
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Old 04-22-10, 02:31 PM   #11
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According to thsi source (which may or might not require registration) http://dailyme.com/story/20100421000...t-ardmore.html
The crusier was not responding to an emergency. It also indicates the cruiser was facing North and the cyclist was facing west.

So it seems this is a situation where the parking is where the cars (normally) face the curb. If I have things right this means either the officer was backing out or the cyclist was going against traffic.

I personally would avoid that kind of street if possible, it is an accident waiting to happen. But the cyclist was an employee of the dealership so he woul dpretty much have to, at least for a little while.

It does raise a good chance that the car was not going very fast and the injuries could turn out to be minor.
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Old 04-22-10, 02:36 PM   #12
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curious what the "emergency" was ...
<Sarcasm>
"Dunkin' Donuts" was having a sale on all donuts?
</Sarcasm>
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Old 04-22-10, 03:47 PM   #13
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http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...02285&t=k&z=18


Based on the discription (cyclist headed westbound) and aerial photo, looks like the cyclist was riding on the proper side of the road. Cop had to be backed into the parking space if his car was facing north.

Last edited by CB HI; 04-22-10 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 04-22-10, 09:52 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
Yes, if that door is opened, it should swing both ways.

So if the cop hits you, you should be taken off the street too. (Let's assume that your job involves driving or riding somehow -- a messenger, delivery person, etc. It doesn't really matter if the vehicle is bike or car, the rules ought to be the same. Though really, this could be extended to all drivers/riders, whether they drive/ride as a part of their work or not -- you lose your right to drive/ride until the investigation is over after any accident [or perhaps only accidents where somebody was hurt].)
And if I'm a messenger, hell, if I deliver pizza, and it needs to be there yesterday, can i put lights and sirens on and run through red lights? My point is that police aren't like everyone else. I feel totally justified in holding emergency personnel to a much higher standard.
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Old 04-23-10, 11:47 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...02285&t=k&z=18


Based on the discription (cyclist headed westbound) and aerial photo, looks like the cyclist was riding on the proper side of the road. Cop had to be backed into the parking space if his car was facing north.
It is so rare to find that kind of parking on just one side of tjhe street that I never thought of being ablr to tell from an aerial photo. AND I've never seen things like that on a street with more than one lane each way.

But it does clear things up, immediate blame seems to fall clearly on the cop. (excluding possibly the instance of a cyclist who is flying and runs into a partially backed out car). But there is plenty of blame left for whoever designed that parking.

EDIT:

Oops as others have pointed out the cyclist was going the wrong way. Blame is now clearly on the cyclist.

Last edited by Keith99; 04-26-10 at 10:34 AM. Reason: I'm wrong
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Old 04-23-10, 12:02 PM   #16
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Yeah, having seen the satellite map, it does seem that the accident was the officer's fault. But again, if the injuries are minor, and this was simply a bad move on the officer's part, ie a momentary lack of common sense, rather than outright malice, I think removing the guy from active duty is a bit extreme, and I don't think "not really serious" is an offensive way for the police to have put it ( or for the newspaper to have rendered the quote ).

And again I'll point to the NYC case. The cyclist was deliberately attacked, and would be in jail right now for it if some bystander hadn't caught the whole thing on video. That's "really serious" and reminds me a bit of Rodney King, who was also saved by a video camera. This is a case of stupidity, and likely a little bit of negligence to boot. But we've all done something stupid at some point; to err is human.

Poetic justice would be to have the cop spend the next year on bike duty, though.
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Old 04-23-10, 12:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...02285&t=k&z=18


Based on the discription (cyclist headed westbound) and aerial photo, looks like the cyclist was riding on the proper side of the road. Cop had to be backed into the parking space if his car was facing north.
Actually, since the parking is across from the dealer, the officer either hit the cyclist across four lanes of traffic as he was pulling onto the street to head west, or the officer was pulling out of his parking space and the cyclist, heading west, would have been riding against the direction of traffic.
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Old 04-23-10, 01:17 PM   #18
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Actually, since the parking is across from the dealer, the officer either hit the cyclist across four lanes of traffic as he was pulling onto the street to head west, or the officer was pulling out of his parking space and the cyclist, heading west, would have been riding against the direction of traffic.
You are correct.
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...,124.5,,0,9.29
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Old 04-23-10, 01:23 PM   #19
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I agree that this hardly rises to the same level of the NYC incident, but it does reveal a certain attitude.
Maybe. Again, we have to know the extent of the bicyclist's injuries. Are we talking about some scrapes and cuts here, or something a bit more serious?
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Old 04-23-10, 04:11 PM   #20
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The police officer quoted worded his comment in an unfortunate way, and it would be nice if someone pointed that out to him, but the department acted correctly. There is no evidence of malice, or even negligence. We'll wait and see, but unless I see something more, I'm siding with the police officer on this one.
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Old 04-23-10, 04:42 PM   #21
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I'm guessing the cyclist was not riding in the roadway, and was somewhere right of the white line, possibly very close to the cars. While this doesn't absolve the policeman, it makes an extremely dangerous situation worse for cyclists. Add to that the likely presence of vans and suvs blocking the view, and it's almost impossible to pull out of those parking spaces safely. My thought is that head-in parking just isn't worth it and I give parked cars a wide berth in that situation. Evidence suggests that most cyclists are cowed into riding closer to the cars than their safety requires.
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Old 04-26-10, 04:59 PM   #22
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Maybe. Again, we have to know the extent of the bicyclist's injuries. Are we talking about some scrapes and cuts here, or something a bit more serious?
Serious enough that a medical helicopter is involved. I guess I've been running on the assumption it was serious.

For the record, I understand you position Seattle. The police risk life and limb protecting us. And yes, bike duty or walking a beat would be very poetic. But I'm only talking about how long it takes to conclude an investigation and meter out any needed corrective action. That shouldn't take more then a week. And if the cyclist was at fault, they just send him back out.
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Old 05-06-10, 06:38 AM   #23
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Sorry about the beaten deceased horse, but did anyone see a follow up to this? I haven't read or heard anything since it happened and I'd really like to know what the investigation found.
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Old 05-06-10, 06:45 AM   #24
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<Sarcasm>
"Dunkin' Donuts" was having a sale on all donuts?
</Sarcasm>
I thought maybe the Hot Donuts sign went on at Krispy Kreme
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 05-06-10, 07:27 AM   #25
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Krispy Kreme tried expanding here and got their posteriors handed to them. Dunkin Donuts sent them packing in about 2 years.
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