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  1. #1
    Senior Member Kurt Erlenbach's Avatar
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    Who gets more hate - Dead cyclist, or elderly killer driver?

    84-year older driver drifts off the road onto the shoulder and kills a cyclist. Who is more disliked - elderly crash-causing drivers, or the cyclists they kill?

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    The comments in the link appear to be about evenly divided between bike-hate and murderer-hate. It's pretty sad when the victim is blamed for obeying the law and the killer is excused from responsibility because the victim belongs to a hated group. We've seen this play before, I just wish we could skip to Act III.

  3. #3
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    I remember a TV magazine show on elderly drivers. They interviewed an elderly Florida women who have just killed her third pedestrian. They asked if she would now give up driving and her response was "Oh no, I will never give up driving, that would just kill me".
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

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    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    I remember a TV magazine show on elderly drivers. They interviewed an elderly Florida women who have just killed her third pedestrian. They asked if she would now give up driving and her response was "Oh no, I will never give up driving, that would just kill me".
    Old sociopaths are still sociopaths. Grey hair doesn't make a person any less evil.
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

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    I'm at that age where I have to start preparing my parents/in-laws for their impending car-free lives. The females are already realizing that the end of their driving careers are very near, but the males seem to be resisting. I sure hope I can get them out of the drivers' seats before they are the subjects of stories like the one posted here. I remember a letter to Dear Abby (or Ann Landers) where a family knew grandpa needed to stop driving. They convinced him to stop only after he put the car in drive instead of reverse and pinned his grandchild between his front end and the rear of another car. The grandchild lost his legs.

    It looks like the generation of Americans who took out our extensive trolley systems will really miss them.

  6. #6
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    I'm at that age where I have to start preparing my parents/in-laws for their impending car-free lives. The females are already realizing that the end of their driving careers are very near, but the males seem to be resisting. I sure hope I can get them out of the drivers' seats before they are the subjects of stories like the one posted here. I remember a letter to Dear Abby (or Ann Landers) where a family knew grandpa needed to stop driving. They convinced him to stop only after he put the car in drive instead of reverse and pinned his grandchild between his front end and the rear of another car. The grandchild lost his legs.

    It looks like the generation of Americans who took out our extensive trolley systems will really miss them.
    A white haired driver ran me off the road on Tuesday. Never saw me, slowed down or looked in my direction. It was dark and rainy. Fortunately there was no car coming in the opposite direction or else I would have been toast. I had to swerve into the oncoming lane to avoid this guy. I have two headlights, two planet bike blinkies and a third blinkie plus reflective gear. No excuse for not seeing me.
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
    vol
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    I remember a TV magazine show on elderly drivers. They interviewed an elderly Florida women who have just killed her third pedestrian. They asked if she would now give up driving and her response was "Oh no, I will never give up driving, that would just kill me".
    Holy Jesus! If they don't send her to jail, they should send her to a psychiatric clinic. If giving up driving kills her, she's already lived 84 years, but the victim was 53, in his prime, a father, husband, son, brother... and who knows, her victims could be a medical researcher on Alzheimer's disease!
    Last edited by vol; 11-21-10 at 10:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slowandsteady View Post
    A white haired driver ran me off the road on Tuesday. Never saw me, slowed down or looked in my direction. It was dark and rainy. Fortunately there was no car coming in the opposite direction or else I would have been toast. I had to swerve into the oncoming lane to avoid this guy. I have two headlights, two planet bike blinkies and a third blinkie plus reflective gear. No excuse for not seeing me.
    I hear you. Last winter I was wearing an ANSI class III flagger's jacket in broad daylight. An old man ran a stop sign while talking on his cell phone and would have plowed me if I hadn't anticipated his actions. I caught up to him in front of the store he was going to. When I told him he had probably reached the time in his life to give up driving his wife came out of the store and told me to stop hassling the old man, he is on medication. Our elder's sense of entitlement often leaves me speechless.

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    vol
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    If they are so proud of their abilities in old age, why don't they pick up cycling?

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    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    It looks like the generation of Americans who took out our extensive trolley systems will really miss them.
    Probably not. The ones making those decisions all have chauffeurs. But I see your point!

  11. #11
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    If they are so proud of their abilities in old age, why don't they pick up cycling?
    Because it's not as safe as driving a car, and besides, everyone knows bikes don't belong on the road.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  12. #12
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    I wish these people would have the strength of character of my grandfather. He turned 80 in 1994 and passed his first mandatory test with flying colours. One day on making a trip home from the next town over he had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting someone. Feeling his reaction times were insufficient to operate a motor vehicle, he came to the conclusion that his driving days were over. Talking to him afterwards he looked at me and said "I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I hurt or killed someone because I couldn't react fast enough." He had a self-imposed sense of right and wrong which he followed even when it hurt. He died in 1997 and I still miss him.
    1997 Mongoose Hilltopper, 1988 Bianchi Specialissima, 2006 Surly Cross-Check, 2010 Norco City Glide, 1947 CCM Single-speed.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    I hear you. Last winter I was wearing an ANSI class III flagger's jacket in broad daylight. An old man ran a stop sign while talking on his cell phone and would have plowed me if I hadn't anticipated his actions. I caught up to him in front of the store he was going to. When I told him he had probably reached the time in his life to give up driving his wife came out of the store and told me to stop hassling the old man, he is on medication. Our DRIVER's sense of entitlement often leaves me speechless.
    fify

  14. #14
    Senior Member wink's Avatar
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    Well I got to jump in here as I am getting older,66 and I do drive,and ride a bike.I can think of two in our subdivision that should not be driving.One just got there license taken was caught I think doing 85 in a 45 and found to be bombed out of her mind on prescription drugs.yes she is in her 80`s.But I think she is still driving.Another one in his 90`s but not as bad as her and he does ride a bicycle also so I guess that makes up for the way he drives.
    But another danger I see is people with a cell phone stuck in there ear or in there lap texing.But that is another trend

  15. #15
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelson249 View Post
    I wish these people would have the strength of character of my grandfather. He turned 80 in 1994 and passed his first mandatory test with flying colours. One day on making a trip home from the next town over he had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting someone. Feeling his reaction times were insufficient to operate a motor vehicle, he came to the conclusion that his driving days were over. Talking to him afterwards he looked at me and said "I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I hurt or killed someone because I couldn't react fast enough." He had a self-imposed sense of right and wrong which he followed even when it hurt. He died in 1997 and I still miss him.

    Sounds like a good man.

    It isn't just slowing reaction times but inherrently poor vision as we get older.

    Vision dims, cataracts make things blurry and increases glare.

    Cataracts



    Glaucoma


    Macular degeneration
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelson249 View Post
    I wish these people would have the strength of character of my grandfather. He turned 80 in 1994 and passed his first mandatory test with flying colours. One day on making a trip home from the next town over he had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting someone. Feeling his reaction times were insufficient to operate a motor vehicle, he came to the conclusion that his driving days were over. Talking to him afterwards he looked at me and said "I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I hurt or killed someone because I couldn't react fast enough." He had a self-imposed sense of right and wrong which he followed even when it hurt. He died in 1997 and I still miss him.
    Sounds like an awesome guy.

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    I don't read news commentary for a reason. Seems to bring out very polarized minority opinions to the forefront.

  18. #18
    zac
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowandsteady View Post
    A white haired driver ran me off the road on Tuesday. Never saw me, slowed down or looked in my direction. It was dark and rainy. Fortunately there was no car coming in the opposite direction or else I would have been toast. I had to swerve into the oncoming lane to avoid this guy. I have two headlights, two planet bike blinkies and a third blinkie plus reflective gear. No excuse for not seeing me.
    But the thing is, don't necessarily presume they didn't see you! I had an encounter with a particularly cantankerous elder* "gentleman" this past summer.

    Long story short, this involved a right hook on a main street in a residential section of our city. I was able to avoid the hook, by turning right too. What was most interesting was what happened next...I was then riding along side him, shaking my head, and he rolls down passenger window and launches into a profanity laced diatribe, while trying to nudge me off the road into passing yards. This was then followed by his admission that he saw me on the main road and fully expected me to stop and yield to him, because: "...you have no business on the road, after all a bicycle is a toy, right?..."

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    I just heard an NPR segment on the issue of elderly drivers the other day, and I was shocked by the attitudes that many of the guests (including government officials) expressed. There were a lot of claims that the elderly are "just as safe" as younger drivers because they don't take as many risks (probably true, but irrelevant, because that's a really low bar given how much most Americans suck at driving). They said that there should be NO age at which higher testing requirements, etc kick in (and even opposed a state legislator who wanted to require retesting every 5 years after age 85), because they said that lack of driving ability is caused by physical conditions, not age. While that's true, those age-related conditions are more common the older you go, and all that was being proposed was retesting, not just yanking their licenses.

    Some of the program guests also were opposing doing anything to expand drivers' license testing on two grounds: first, that we can't take people's drivers' licenses away even if they are incompetent to be on the road, because that would rob people of their independence and put them in "house arrest", and second, that it would be too costly to implement more effective road testing for all drivers of all ages because it costs so much money to administer such a test. I find the first point ridiculous since there are any number of options people can use to get around other than driving themselves (although I'll grant that many areas, especially rural ones, have limited low-cost choices), and since it's irrelevant to whether people should be driving (if they're dangerous, get them off the road, period). The second problem is easily solved if we simply make drivers themselves pay for however much it costs to retest them if they want to keep their license, instead of subsidizing it from tax dollars. I think everyone should be retested every 5 years or so, and it should be a challenging driving skills test (the current tests are not).

  20. #20
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zac View Post
    But the thing is, don't necessarily presume they didn't see you! I had an encounter with a particularly cantankerous elder* "gentleman" this past summer.

    Long story short, this involved a right hook on a main street in a residential section of our city. I was able to avoid the hook, by turning right too. What was most interesting was what happened next...I was then riding along side him, shaking my head, and he rolls down passenger window and launches into a profanity laced diatribe, while trying to nudge me off the road into passing yards. This was then followed by his admission that he saw me on the main road and fully expected me to stop and yield to him, because: "...you have no business on the road, after all a bicycle is a toy, right?..."
    I too have encountered this attitude... not only in the more senior drivers, but even in folks in their mid 50s or so... Even my father believed that my use of the road was because motorists were doing me a favor.

    The laws that state that cyclists have rights to use the road were not posted in many states until the '70s. Anyone that learned how to drive before then, may have rather possessive views about who can use the roads or not.

  21. #21
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zac View Post
    But the thing is, don't necessarily presume they didn't see you! I had an encounter with a particularly cantankerous elder* "gentleman" this past summer.

    Long story short, this involved a right hook on a main street in a residential section of our city. I was able to avoid the hook, by turning right too. What was most interesting was what happened next...I was then riding along side him, shaking my head, and he rolls down passenger window and launches into a profanity laced diatribe, while trying to nudge me off the road into passing yards. This was then followed by his admission that he saw me on the main road and fully expected me to stop and yield to him, because: "...you have no business on the road, after all a bicycle is a toy, right?..."
    That thought crossed my mind too.
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

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    My mother was a beautician who operated a salon that catered to mostly elderly clients. Taking the car away was the most difficult decision that family members had to make as driving skills continued to diminish. It usually took an incident that involved someone putting the car in drive when they thought it was reverse or having an accident. Several of her customers drove through their garages or into store fronts.

    I was at her shop one time when I heard what sounded like a kid doing a burnout in the parking lot. As it turned out the elderly customer driving a boat of a car pulled too close to the car next to her. The oversized rear bumper became hooked with the other customer’s front bumper, she was completely unaware that this had happened. She literally pulled the front bumper off the other car, as she continued to accelerate. We were able to get the cars unhooked and the comment to the other customer was,”Please don't call the police, I have no insurance". As it turned out she had been involved in so many accidents, her insurance company had dropped her.

    Another customer ran a stop sign and hit a friend of mine. She was going at such a high rate of speed that it knocked the driver’s side wheels off. Fortunately he was not seriously injured. Common sense won out with her and she stopped driving.

    Driving is a privilege and not a right, if you can't operate a vehicle safely, then you should find alternate transportation.

  23. #23
    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    I think people should get tested every year for driving skills and comprehension.... no exceptions. The current driver's ed system is a complete farce, I wish it were a pinata so I could beat it to death with a bat.

    You better believe it's frustrating to see this kind of stupidity... the laws for cycle education are in place, they're just not enforced or taught anymore (if they ever were). It sickens me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    I too have encountered this attitude... not only in the more senior drivers, but even in folks in their mid 50s or so... Even my father believed that my use of the road was because motorists were doing me a favor.

    The laws that state that cyclists have rights to use the road were not posted in many states until the '70s. Anyone that learned how to drive before then, may have rather possessive views about who can use the roads or not.
    Traffic Laws Annotated states that 11-1202, specifying that cyclists have the rights and duties of drivers of vehicles, has been in the Uniform Vehicle Code since the first edition in 1926. The 1972 edition states that the only states that did not have a similar provision were Georgia, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

  25. #25
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    Traffic Laws Annotated states that 11-1202, specifying that cyclists have the rights and duties of drivers of vehicles, has been in the Uniform Vehicle Code since the first edition in 1926. The 1972 edition states that the only states that did not have a similar provision were Georgia, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
    And all the states have had similar laws on the books and in their driver's license training manuals?

    Being in the Uniform Vehicle Code certainly doesn't guarantee that it is in the state code, AND apparently some Law Enforcement officers still are not properly informed.

    It's only been since the early '90s that California has had any info in their driver's license manuals, and only in this last decade that they have had any cycling related questions, on the written test.

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