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  1. #1
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    Killed While Cycling: Why So Few Fatal Bike Crashes Lead to Arrest in NYC

    "Last year, 21 cyclists died in vehicle crashes in New York City. But only two drivers were arrested and local district attorneys are hard pressed to cite convictions for cyclist deaths. Instead, they say, cyclists and their advocates donít understand how tough it is to call a traffic crash a crime."

    Read the full article:
    http://transportationnation.org/2012...arrest-in-nyc/

  2. #2
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Do fatal car crashes lead to arrests? How about fatal pedestrian crashes?

    Someone pointed out to me about 6 or so months ago that very few of any type of fatal crash ever involves any arrest or even a ticket... that typically only cases involving alcohol use result in arrests. The bottom line is that if you want to kill someone, use a car and be sober, it is highly likely that you will walk away with nary a ticket. Civil suits may follow, but only if there is family with the resources and determination to follow through.

    We have gotten to the point in this country that death by automobile is considered the price of the convenience of the automobile, and this seems oddly acceptable to most of the population.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Do fatal car crashes lead to arrests? How about fatal pedestrian crashes?

    Someone pointed out to me about 6 or so months ago that very few of any type of fatal crash ever involves any arrest or even a ticket... that typically only cases involving alcohol use result in arrests. The bottom line is that if you want to kill someone, use a car and be sober, it is highly likely that you will walk away with nary a ticket. Civil suits may follow, but only if there is family with the resources and determination to follow through.

    We have gotten to the point in this country that death by automobile is considered the price of the convenience of the automobile, and this seems oddly acceptable to most of the population.
    I would like permission to send this little ditty off to my local newspaper editorial department. please

  4. #4
    The Fat Guy In The Back Tundra_Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    We have gotten to the point in this country that death by automobile is considered the price of the convenience of the automobile, and this seems oddly acceptable to most of the population.
    Best statement I've seen on BF in a while. Props!
    '81 Panasonic Sport, '02 Giant Boulder SE, '08 Felt S32, '10 Diamondback Insight RS, '10 Windsor Clockwork

    Visit me at the Tundra Man Workshop

  5. #5
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesw2 View Post
    I would like permission to send this little ditty off to my local newspaper editorial department. please
    Be my guest. Claim it as yours. You have my permission.

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    "We have gotten to the point in this country that death by automobile is considered the price of the convenience of the automobile, and this seems oddly acceptable to most of the population."

    We got to that point 100 years ago (or before if you consider horse vs human deaths) It has always been that way here-USA-.The Chinese are making the same choice-no country has EVER made a different choice.
    I think 30,000 traffic deaths per year?? Something like that-maybe 40,000??
    So roughly 1/10,000 people die per year in the USA-in traffic -car vs whatever deaths.
    The death rate is going down.
    Increased fuel prices will decrease total deaths-less driving ,lighter vehicles, living closer to work
    Riding a bicycle in a city is a bit dangerous-especially during learning curve
    Charlie

  7. #7
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
    "We have gotten to the point in this country that death by automobile is considered the price of the convenience of the automobile, and this seems oddly acceptable to most of the population."

    We got to that point 100 years ago (or before if you consider horse vs human deaths) It has always been that way here-USA-.The Chinese are making the same choice-no country has EVER made a different choice.
    I think 30,000 traffic deaths per year?? Something like that-maybe 40,000??
    So roughly 1/10,000 people die per year in the USA-in traffic -car vs whatever deaths.
    The death rate is going down.
    Increased fuel prices will decrease total deaths-less driving ,lighter vehicles, living closer to work
    Riding a bicycle in a city is a bit dangerous-especially during learning curve
    Charlie
    Really? 1 in 10,000 deaths due to transportation was considered normal 100 years ago? Is there any proof to this?

  8. #8
    Senior Member enigmaT120's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    We have gotten to the point in this country that death by automobile is considered the price of the convenience of the automobile, and this seems oddly acceptable to most of the population.
    Yes! I need to bookmark the link to the Oregonian article where I learned about this a while back, so I don't have to keep using their search function.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/i...prosecute.html
    Ed Miller
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  9. #9
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    Genec-Not quite what I meant- I was saying the "car death rate" was going down the last 30 years or so.Think we used to kill about 50,000 per year -50's-60's-with a much smaller population.This is from memory-so could be off a bit.

    But yes your take on it 1 in 10,000 inhabitants getting killed because of transportation in 1912-trains boats wagons horse riding cars trucks city trains (subways trolleys )- yeah I would bet it was AT LEAST THAT HIGH- it would be under 10,000 deaths per year
    Trains and city trains and boats ferrys even horse riding was pretty dangerous in 1912. Heck boilers blew up and train wrecks derailing were very common

    You have me curious-see If I can find some numbers on 1912- heck might have killed 10,000 per year with just trains/trolleys- probably drowned plenty on ferries also.
    Charlie

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    Surprisingly hard to find "old" numbers-maybe there aren't any??
    Best I could do-quickly is a site that showed 1970 >2001
    1970 or 1980 52,000 hy deaths vs 42000 in 2001
    1980 Aviation 1239 vs lower number I didn't record-about 700 I think-most general aviation meaning doctors lawyers crashing their planes-not many
    "big plane" deaths
    1980 pedestrians 8900 2001 4800 suspect these are also included in the 52000 vs 42000 hy deaths
    Pedalcyclists 1980 1003 2001 728
    Recreation boat 1980 1466 2001 681
    Absolutely no luck find USA transportation numbers back to 1912-maybe Europeans-Brits Germans French kept better numbers??
    In any case numbers are certainly going down since 1970 1980 - all transportation numbers seemed to peak in 1970-1980-lotta driving-laughably unsafe cars-pitiful brakes no crumple zones seat belts rarely used if present no airbags

    I "think" our 1965 Plymouth Fury SW had lap belts-actual lap-which we rarely used

    So bike riding seems a little safer since 1970-1980?? I suspect riders are older more experienced now?? Fewer kids in neighborhood more adults riding for fun and transportation-there was a bike boom in the mid 1970's-HUGE BOOM.
    Charlie
    PS So many bike deaths so few criminal charges-hard to prove it is a crime vs just accident-isn't texting while driving just a ticket offense-not a "take you to jail offense"
    If it isn't a criminal offense-they can't be arrested when they do it and kill a bike- or a car driver/rider?
    The texting has gotten so bad I expect we'll eventually have a tech solution-cars will block texting-turn phones off while in cars. Who "needs" to talk or text while in a car??

  11. #11
    Senior Member WickedThump's Avatar
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    Recreation boat 1980 1466 2001 681

    I think that by 2001, most states had inacted drunk boating laws, so that could account for the decrease.

  12. #12
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Really? 1 in 10,000 deaths due to transportation was considered normal 100 years ago? Is there any proof to this?
    It's not 1 in 10,000 deaths due to transportation -- remember, that figure is per year. The reality is that about 1 in 133 deaths are due to transportation in this country.

    Of course, 100 years ago, horses probably killed quite a few people too -- I'd call that transportation. I don't know how many, of course, but horses are pretty unpredictable and can be dangerous. Or if you're travelling from the east coast to the west coast via a wagon and die of dysentery or because your wagon broke and you froze in a snowstorm -- is that death due to transportation? Dangers do change over the years.

    As for few fatal bike crashes leading to arrest, as said, very few fatal car crashes lead to arrest either. Only if there's strong evidence that one party (even if that party wasn't actually the cause of the crash) was drunk or racing or something like that is an arrest likely. Bicycles and pedestrians have the added disadvantages that 1) it doesn't take a very serious crash to kill somebody, and 2) such a crash usually leaves the car in good enough condition to drive off, leading to the much higher percentage of hit and runs.

    A pretty significant percentage of fatal crashes involve alcohol, but the smart drunk (yes, an oxymoron) takes off if he can do so and then turns himself in later (if he thinks he'll get caught) when sober and claims he thought he hit a deer -- nobody really buys his story, but the "reasonable doubt" requirement keeps him out of jail most of the time. This is much harder to pull off when you kill somebody in a car than it is when you kill a cyclist or pedestrian.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
    ...Pedalcyclists 1980 1003 2001 728
    Recreation boat 1980 1466 2001 681

    ...So bike riding seems a little safer since 1970-1980?? I suspect riders are older more experienced now?? Fewer kids in neighborhood more adults riding for fun and transportation-there was a bike boom in the mid 1970's-HUGE BOOM.
    Charlie
    I don't know how things were nationwide, but where I lived in 1980 and 2001 there were many times as many cyclists on the road in 1980 as there were in 2001. In one city I lived in there may have been a ten-fold decrease in the number of cyclists in that time frame. If that was a nationwide phenomenon, then cycling may well have gotten more dangerous over those two decades. Thankfully, bicycle use seems to have recovered substantially since 2001 without any appreciable increase in the death rate, so it may well have gotten less dangerous for us.

  14. #14
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheHen View Post
    I don't know how things were nationwide, but where I lived in 1980 and 2001 there were many times as many cyclists on the road in 1980 as there were in 2001. In one city I lived in there may have been a ten-fold decrease in the number of cyclists in that time frame. If that was a nationwide phenomenon, then cycling may well have gotten more dangerous over those two decades. Thankfully, bicycle use seems to have recovered substantially since 2001 without any appreciable increase in the death rate, so it may well have gotten less dangerous for us.
    Prior to 1980, we had the '70s gas crisis and the national speed limit of 55MPH. Into the late '80s and beyond, gas has been readily available (albeit at higher prices) and the SUV emerged, as did cell phones; the national speed limit of 55MPH was repealed in 1995, but most states had already changed to 65MPH in the late '80s. Thus the conditions on the road did change in the late 80's and early '90s. Recently the price of gas and a push for "green" have reenergized cycling in some areas... but now cyclists have to contend with a plethora of larger vehicles, driven faster, by cell phone distracted drivers.

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    Dougmc- I originally wrote-"So roughly 1/10,000 people die per year in the USA-in traffic -car vs whatever deaths."
    In other words in the next 365 days you have about a 1/10,000 chance of dying in a "car crash run over by car "
    Your crude total risk of dying in the next 365 days is more like 1/80 or so- 3,500,000 deaths 300,000,000 people(3.5 million deaths from memory)
    Of course car wrecks kill folks at much younger ages than "natural causes"-so lotta years lost-same story on killed bike riders-they are young-lotta lost years
    Genec-the numbers I found only started in 1960-immediately peaked in 1970-1980-and they peaked for EVERYTHING-hy aviation trains boats They were crude numbers total deaths-not rates-and fair chance the 1960 numbers were much less complete-increase in autism certainly not a real increase-just "better" more complete reporting.
    And the numbers-across all modes-dropped from 1970-2001-dropped about 25% across all modes-this is despite maybe a 15-20% increase in population-250 million to 290 million

    Now bike riding sure seems more dangerous in the last 2 years-texting- but it will be tough to get those numbers-most car/bike accidents DON'T result in deaths-maybe 1/100???
    Yeah I think bike riding is more dangerous now vs 10 years ago-no proof-
    WHY WOULDN'T IT BE MORE DANGEROUS??
    Maybe someone has access to car insurance claims-are their more claims for rear end wrecks-especially ones at redlights-obvious sign of inattention??
    Charlie
    PS-I still don't have proof transportation killed 1/10,000 people per year in 1912-but things were pretty dangerous back then-safety was strictly an afterthought

  16. #16
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
    Dougmc- I originally wrote-"So roughly 1/10,000 people die per year in the USA-in traffic -car vs whatever deaths."
    Yes, I know what you wrote (it was sort of awkward, but I know what you're getting at), but the way genec quoted it was at best misleading --

    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    "Really? 1 in 10,000 deaths due to transportation was considered normal 100 years ago?"
    -- because if you go to the morgue and count the bodies and how they died, it won't be 1 in 10,000 deaths caused by transportation. It'll be more like 1 in 130.

    It's all in what you're counting the ratio of -- the ratio of living people to those killed this year by transportation (10,000:1) or the ratio of all people who died to those who were killed by transportation (around 130:1).
    Last edited by dougmc; 04-23-12 at 04:40 PM.

  17. #17
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    Yes, I know what you wrote (it was sort of awkward, but I know what you're getting at), but the way genec quoted it was at best misleading --



    -- because if you go to the morgue and count the bodies and how they died, it won't be 1 in 10,000 deaths caused by transportation. It'll be more like 1 in 130.

    It's all in what you're counting the ratio of -- the ratio of living people to those killed this year by transportation (10,000:1) or the ratio of all people who died to those who were killed by transportation (around 130:1).
    Yeah you're right, I should have said "1 in 10,000 died from the automobile in 1912?"

    The bottom line is that auto collisions are preventable... dealing with horses and cows may not be so predictable.

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