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  1. #1
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    It seems that two cyclists were riding in Atlanta at 5 AM. One was in the center of a thru lane of an intersection, the other on the right side of the lane. A motorist swerved to miss the one in the center of the lane striking and killing the one on the right. The uninjured cyclist was cited for riding too far to the left of the lane and for not having a red reflector on the bike (it would have been dark at 5 AM, of course).

    http://www.ajc.com/search/content/au...3529b00be.html

  2. #2
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MERTON
    um, lemon brain... he was charged with riding to far into the lane and not having a reflector.


    what the crap is wrong with you?!

    you want fire don't ya!
    The guy must be a reporter for the NY Times!
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  3. #3
    By-Tor...or the Snow Dog? hi565's Avatar
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    hmmmmmm interesting
    ----------------------------------------------------------

  4. #4
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Two things, one, how fast was this guy going in the car that he couldn't spot a figure on the road (reflector not needed) through his headlights, was he even paying attention, was he tired, dozing off, looking elsewhere, changing his radio?
    Two, if struck from behind and assuming that the biker's virtually invisible (some are), why was the biker virtually invisible? I'm sorry but if my car were doing a mere 20mph and you're completely invisible, soaking up all available oncoming light until the last 15 ft, then I will run you over if you're in the middle of the road.

    But anyway, the whole thing smells fishy, if they were both in the lane, and assuming the guy wasn't wearing black felt all over, it's the driver's fault.

    "Honda Prelude driven by Luke Joseph Nicolosi, 19, of Alpharetta"
    Anyone care to pull a tried and true stereotype?

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    It was two hours (5 am) before sunrise (7 am). It was dark. The cyclist riding in the lane was not invisible, but he was understandably difficult to see. When the motorist did finally see him, he understandably swerved to miss him, and, tragically, collided with the cyclist to the right. The police say the motorist was not speeding.

    Whether the street was lit is irrelevant to the question of whether the motorist is responsible for having to swerve to avoid the cyclist who had no lights and no reflectors (the motorist is not responsible regardless) or whether the cyclist was negligent (he is).

    How the motorist is to blame for this I cannot fathom.

    That the cyclist was cited for poor lane positioning is just wrong. Or at least the law under which he is cited is wrong. But he does however appear to be negligent for riding in a roadway in the dark without reflectors or lights. In this case his negligence led to the death of his cycling partner.

    The keys to cycling safety are visibility and predictability. Visibility is first, and you can't be (sufficiently) visible in the dark without lights and reflectors.

    Serge
    Last edited by Serge Issakov; 01-04-05 at 07:12 PM.

  6. #6
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serge *******
    It was two hours before sunrise. It was dark. The cyclist riding in the lane was not invisible, but he was understandably difficult to see. When the motorist did see him, he understandably swerved to miss him, and, tragically, collided with the cyclist to the right.

    How the motorist is to blame for this I cannot fathom.

    That the cyclist was cited for poor positioning is just wrong. He does however appear to be negligent for riding in a roadway without reflectors or lights.

    The keys to cycling safety are visibility and predictability. Visibility is first, and you can't be (sufficiently) visible in the dark without lights and reflectors.

    Serge
    Ditto.

    A bicycle is a vehicle. Operating a vehicle on a public roadway at night requires the use of proper lighting/reflective devices.

    If a motorist was driving without lights and caused an accident, he too would be charged, just as this cyclist was.

    Very sad, though. I'm sure the cyclist who was charged is devastated, as the motorist must be, and the friends and family of the victim. Nobody wins.

    Educating drivers is good, but cyclists need to be educated, too.
    No worries

  7. #7
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I want to add more to this. Dennis Hoffarth of the Atlanta Bicycle Campaign is a man who deserves a great deal of respect. His defense of the bicyclist charged in the deadly crash is a worthy effort. The bicyclist in Atlanta is the lowest person in the food chain. Someone has to stand up for us.

    But at the same time, Peachtree Industrial Boulevard is not really a "boulevard" at all. It has metamorphosed into a limited access highway. It looks like a freeway, it acts like a freeway, it smells like a freeway...it's a bloody freeway...! People are doing 80 there sometimes! In addition, Peachteee Industrial Boulevard has access roads with posted speed limits of 35 (am I right?) and many alternate routes, except where it passes under I-285. If the crash happened in the underpass I'd still wonder what the younger cyclist was doing riding 5 feet out into the lane.

    At his age, the court will need to go easy on him. He made a stupid mistake. He'll be haunted by it all his life (I'm talking about the young cyclist who was charged, not the driver.) Keep in mind the charges are misdemeanor charges of riding too far out into the lane and not having a reflector, nothing serious. To their credit, Gwinnett County police also said that the 35 year-old cyclist who rode with him was riding according to the rules of the road.
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 01-04-05 at 08:04 PM.
    No worries

  8. #8
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    This entire investigation was botched from the get-go by law enforcement officers who were clueless as to what the rules of the roads are in Georgia as they pertain to Bicycles. Standby for follow-up stories on this one. For what it's worth, you can have a working taillight on your bicycle in Georgia and still be in violation of the vehicle code if you don't have a rear reflector. Certain recumbent bicycles can be considered illegal if the pedals are mounted too high. Regardless, I would hold judgement until the police reports are made public. It may well be that the driver swerved into Tony to avoid Brian but, then again, based on what was originally reported vs. what is being reported now, there are lots of problems with how the laws are being interpreted by Gwinnett County. By the way, if you read all of the accounts you'll figure out that Peachtree Industrial Blvd is a four lane road that was, in effect, five lanes wide at the point of the accident and the cyclists were riding in the right-hand through lane. http://tinyurl.com/4fhn9


    Here are the original accounts and some follow-up stories:

    From the AJC on 8/26;
    GWINNETT COUNTY: Bicyclist dies after colliding with car

    A bicyclist was struck by a car and killed just before 5 a.m. Thursday on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard at McGinnis Ferry Road in Suwanee. Gwinnett County police Sgt. Wayne Thaxton said there are two continuing lanes and a right turn lane on northbound Peachtree Industrial, and the car was in the right continuing lane when one of two bicyclists riding together veered into his lane. The car struck that bike, killing Antonio Serrano, 35, of Alpharetta.

    The day after the accident....


    Gwinnett Daily Post: http://www.gwinnettdailyonline.com/G...3D7732E075.asp
    SUWANEE — A bicyclist who drifted into trafficwas struck and killed Thursday on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard north of McGinnis Ferry Road.

    Authorities said Antonio Serrano, 35, and his friend were bicycling north on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard at 5 a.m. Thursday when Serrano drifted from a right-turn-only lane into a northbound lane of traffic.

    A 1987 Honda Prelude traveling north at about 45 mph came up behind Serrano and slammed into him, killing him almost instantly. Investigators said either the falling bicycle or Serrano then struck the second bicyclist, 35-year-old Brian Mock. Mock suffered only minor injuries.

    “It was just dark and obviously the car was behind them, so they didn’t see the car coming and the car driver couldn’t see them,” said Sgt. Wayne Thaxton of the Gwinnett Police Accident Investigation Unit.

    Serrano was wearing a helmet, but bicycle helmets are only designed to protect from low-speed impacts, Thaxton said.

    Thaxton said no charges have been filed against the driver, Joseph Nicolosi IV, 19, of Alpharetta, because bicycle riders are supposed to remain on the right edge of the roadway.

    At the site of the accident, Peachtree Industrial Boulevard north is two continuing traffic lanes and a right-turn-only lane. Witnesses said Serrano had been bicycling at the left edge of the right-turn-only lane, bordering closely on the right lane of continuing traffic.

    Serrano and Mock usually rode their bicycles together every morning, and they had already traveled about 15 miles prior to the accident, Thaxton said.
    A week later and in conjunction with a second cyclist fatality in Gwinnett County....


    Gwinnett Daily Post: http://www.gwinnettdailyonline.com/G...191B3A6C94.asp

    ...... a bicyclist was struck and killed at 5 a.m. Thursday on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard north of McGinnis Ferry Road. Authorities said Antonio Serrano, 35, and his friend were bicycling north on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard when Serrano was struck by a 1987 Honda Prelude in a northbound lane of traffic.

    Serrano is survived by his wife Kathy and two daughters, Isabel Lee, 3 and Zohe Lynn, 18 months. His brother, Victor Serrano, described Serrano as an experienced bicycler who was training for a triathalon.

    No charges have been filed against the driver, Joseph Nicolosi IV, 19, of Alpharetta, however the accident will be under investigation for 30 to 45 days.

    Several experienced bikers have disagreed with preliminary police investigation results, which has said Serrano should have been riding in the right turn lane to avoid being struck. The right turn lane on that portion of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard is not located at an intersection, rather it is used for entry into several businesses on the right side the road, Thaxton said. The turn lane continues for approximately a mile.

    Thaxton cited a Georgia law which states bicycles are considered vehicles that must abide by traffic law. Another section of the Georgia code states bicycles are required to ride at the right edge of the roadway, defined as the entire surface of a road including the turn lane.

    Matthew Stovall, 38, of Lawrenceville, disagrees with Thaxton’s interpretation of Georgia law. As president of the Gwinnett Bicycle Users Group, Stovall and his wife frequently take between 10 and 50 mile bicycle trips around the county.

    Stovall believes that since bicycles are categorized as vehicles, they should obey the rules of the road by riding along the right edge of the continuing lane of traffic, not the right edge of the turn lane.

    “It would be safer to be at the right edge of the continuing lane to make it clear to drivers he was not going to turn,” Stovall said.

    Stovall, an acquaintance of Serrano, went to the accident scene last week to see the skid marks for himself. Stovall said he hopes that after the accident investigation is complete, police will charge the driver who struck Serrano.


    In the meantime, bicyclists hope the two recent fatalities will remind motorists to be cautious and to share the roadway.

    “All we want from the driving public is a little patience,” Stovall said. “If we delay them for a few seconds, try to keep it in perspective. It is not that big a deal.”

    Family members said a college fund has been set up for Serrano’s children at the office of David Ragland, C.P.A., at 1503 B, Northside Drive, Atlanta, GA 30318.

    And then we have this in response to cyclist's taking issue with the way the investigation was handled....


    Good afternoon.

    Thank you for writing and expressing your concerns. Apparently Police officers and cyclists have a different interpretation or understanding of the laws that dictate where cyclists are required to ride when on the roadway. In an effort to clarify this issue I have asked representatives from the Gwinnett County Law Department, Solicitor's Office and District Attorney's Office for their opinions in this matter. I will respond to your e-mail in a more thorough manner when I have received their input.

    In the mean time, I would like to point out that the investigation into the tragic accident that claimed Mr. Serrano's life is still ongoing and appropriate charges may be made if the facts of the case reveal violation(s) of the law.

    Thank you again.

    Major Rick Edmunds
    Gwinnett County Police Department
    Last edited by livngood; 01-04-05 at 10:06 PM.

  9. #9
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Cops don't know their asses from a hole in the ground. I seriously don't expect them to know anything about the law.
    In the way they respond to most things, I'd say they're more like paramedics. They get their quickly but they're not there to prevent the tragedy, only there to clean up afterwards 90% of the time.

  10. #10
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the facts.

    What really happened?

    When stories change facts so frequently, it destroys their credibility. I'm suspicious about it, now that you pointed out these things, Livingood.
    No worries

  11. #11
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    I should wait until we have all the facts, but my preliminary off-the-cuff reaction is that we sorely need some bicyclist education regarding visibility and some motorist education regarding the proper position of bicyclists on the roadway. The statement (written law in GA???) that through cyclists need to stay to the right in a right-turn-only lane violates the one of the most fundamental principles of lawful vehicular cycling.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid
    Two things, one, how fast was this guy going in the car that he couldn't spot a figure on the road (reflector not needed) through his headlights, was he even paying attention, was he tired, dozing off, looking elsewhere, changing his radio?
    Two, if struck from behind and assuming that the biker's virtually invisible (some are), why was the biker virtually invisible? I'm sorry but if my car were doing a mere 20mph and you're completely invisible, soaking up all available oncoming light until the last 15 ft, then I will run you over if you're in the middle of the road.

    But anyway, the whole thing smells fishy, if they were both in the lane, and assuming the guy wasn't wearing black felt all over, it's the driver's fault.

    "Honda Prelude driven by Luke Joseph Nicolosi, 19, of Alpharetta"
    Anyone care to pull a tried and true stereotype?

    In another article of this story, it said the cyclist that is being charged was about 5 feet out into the right lane, and the cyclist that was killed was riding to the right, I suspect near a white line dividing the right hand "through" lane from a right turn lane on the cyclists right. There was also another through lane to the left of the cyclists and car. The car swerved right to avoid the cyclist "taking the lane", and hit the one riding near the edge of the road. A bike cop on another forum is going to ask a buddy in that jurisdiction for a copy of the report. I suspect what the police are saying is that the two riders were abreast, and the guy in the lane didn't have anything to throw light back for the driver to see.

    Hmmm, upon reading Livngood's links, many other questions come up. Is there a solid white line dividing the right turn lane from the through lanes? If so, then the bicycles have to be on the right side of the through lane, since continuing straight through any intersections would require them to cross the white line, which, at least in my area, is illegal.The construction of the road in this area qould probably have to be seen to be believed. I'm curious as to why the police are asking the county about the issues of where to ride. In California, any questions go to the California Highway Patrol.
    Last edited by Dchiefransom; 01-04-05 at 09:00 PM.

  13. #13
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    At his age, the court will need to go easy on him. He made a stupid mistake. He'll be haunted by it all his life (I'm talking about the young cyclist who was charged, not the driver.)
    Data Point: Brian is 35 years old; same age as was Tony at the time of his death.

  14. #14
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    The statement (written law in GA???) that through cyclists need to stay to the right in a right-turn-only lane violates the one of the most fundamental principles of lawful vehicular cycling.
    It's the interpretation of outdated language embedded in the Georgia Code that is confusing the issue. The code sections that address cycling were written before there was any such thing as a deceleration lane on anything but a limited access highway. You can find a summary of Georgia's Bicycle Laws here:
    http://www.bikeathens.com/resources/law/statutes.html

    Stay to the Right

    Section 40-6-294.(a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, except when turning left or avoiding hazards to safe cycling, when the lane is too narrow to share safely with a motor vehicle, when traveling at the same speed as traffic, or while exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction; provided, however, that every person operating a bicycle away from the right side of the roadway shall exercise reasonable care and shall give due consideration to the other applicable rules of the road. As used in this subsection, the term "hazards to safe cycling" includes, but is not limited to, surface debris, rough pavement, drain grates which areparallel to the side of the roadway, parked or stopped vehicles, potentially opening car doors, or any other objects which threaten the safety of a person operating a bicycle.

    Rear Reflector Mandatory

    Section 40-6-296.(a) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a light on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of 300 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the Department of Public Safety which shall be visible from a distance of 300 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlights on a motor vehicle. A light emitting a red light visible from a distance of 300 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

    Bent Riders & Highwheelers Beware

    Section 40-6-296.(d) No bicycle shall be equipped, modified, or altered in such a way as to cause the pedal in its lowermost position to be more than 12 inches above the ground, nor shall any bicycle be operated if so equipped.

    Reflectors on Pedals

    40-6-297.(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell a new bicycle or a pedal for use on a bicycle unless the pedals on such bicycle or such pedals are equipped with reflectors of a type approved by the Department of Public Safety. The reflector on each pedal shall be so designed and situated as to be visible from the front and rear of the bicycle during darkness from a distance of 200 feet. The commissioner of public safety is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations and establish standards for such reflectors.

    40-6-297.(b) This Code section shall not apply to any bicycle purchased prior to July 1, 1972, by a retailer for the purpose of resale.

  15. #15
    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    Any bike on a dark night that is not lit up front and rear becomes an unintended target. I feel bad that someone died, but it is hard to muster much sympathy for either rider. People just should not ride at night without lights. Flashing ones preferably.
    Keep it 'tween the ditches

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  16. #16
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
    The construction of the road in this area qould probably have to be seen to be believed. I'm curious as to why the police are asking the county about the issues of where to ride. In California, any questions go to the California Highway Patrol.
    Satellite image of Peachtree Ind. Blvd.
    http://tinyurl.com/4fhn9

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    Hmmmnn... very sad.

    The stories conflict. The story in the first post has it that Mock, the surviving cyclist, was riding abreast of Serrano, and to Serrano's left. According to that first story, Mock drifted left from the right turn lane into a through lane. Serrano remained to Mock's right in the turn lane. The Honda came up behind Mock in the through lane, veered hard to the right to avoid Mock, and struck Serrano.

    The second set of stories have it that *Serrano* drifted left into the through lane from the right turn lane, and was struck from behind.

    I guess the first story is the more accurate one, since it is written after the police investigated enough to charge Mock with the crime of not riding as far to the right as practicable. The second set of links and stories don't make any sense of even mistakenly charging Mock with not riding to the right. According to the second set of stories, it would have been Mock who was riding to the right and Serrano to the left.

    Anyway, what does seem clear from the first story is that the police have adopted the theory that a cyclist must ride in the rightmost lane of traffic, even if that lane is a right turn lane and the cyclist is not turning right!!

    That is, of course, ridiculous, and a competent defense should beat that charge.

    The second charge, no reflector, seems indisputable. That's a misdemeanor in Georgia, whereas it's just an infraction here, but I don't suppose the penalties are very stiff even in Georgia. Whatever they are, look for the judget to give the defendant the whole thing in this case.

    Lessons:

    (1) Obviously, the cops do *not* know the law when it comes to bicycles! If they are pissed off, irritated, or just in the mood to hammer you, look for them to charge you with ridiculous offenses on the basis of safe and legal riding. No, Mock wasn't riding safely here, don't get me wrong, but that's only because he didn't have lights or reflectors. But, as far as I can tell, his *lane positon* was fine.

    The flip side of this warning is that the more you do to seem responsible and competent, the less likely it is you're going to be ticketed. The cops are only charging Mock, after all, because someone got killed. If you're negotiating traffic competently and with courtesy, you're not likely to attract the ire of the fuzz.

    It also reminds me that it wouldn't be a bad idea to carry a copy of the state's bike laws, just in case it comes to jawin' with Johnny Law.

    (2) Have lights! Have reflectors!!

    It's very sad. God. Think about it: ten dollars worth of lights and reflectors. With this 19 year old, non-drunk, driver-- who is likely quick reflexed, and quick to notice unusual lights on the road-- two guys would be alive right now. They would have been passed without incident and by now no one involved would have remembered it even happened.

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    The stories vary. The laws are stupid. But there are some key facts no one is disputing:

    1) It was dark.
    2) One cyclist was riding without lights/reflectors in the travel lane (in the dark).

    If indeed the motorist swerved to avoid the cyclist which caused him to hit (and kill) the second cyclist the lack of consistencies about all the other facts and the stupidity of the laws are all irrelevant to the point that the first cyclist was negligent and is responsible for the death of the second cyclist.

    There's only one "if" in that statement, and it's not a very big one...

    Serge

  19. #19
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    After hearing the news on Monday afternoon about Brian Mock being charged, I again viewed the video that was taken by one of the TV news people shortly after the accident. It shows the road crew cleaning up the bikes and debris in the road. Mock's bike was already lying by the side of the road and had a headlight (still on) and what looked like an LED light on the handlebar. I am guessing that if he had two lights on the front that he would have had one or more lights or blinkies on the rear. The video doesn't show Tony Serrano's bike very well. It just shows the road crew person dragging a crumpled bike to the side of the road with what appears to be a "water bottle" style battery dangling from the wire. A battery would indicate lights on his bike as well.
    The video also shows the right turn arrows painted on the roadway. I'm guessing that both cyclists were "informed riders" and knew that the right turn lane was for right-turning vehicles only. Since they were going straight, they should have been in the right-most through lane, which it seems is where they were positioned.
    One of my colleagues is going to the accident scene today to determine the width of the road. If the lane is too narrow to share, then taking the lane (which is what they appeared to be doing) was the correct thing to do.
    If both bikes had headlights and taillights/reflectors, then in my opinion, this would not put the fault on Brian Mock.
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  20. #20
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Livngood is doing the right thing by asking the police to clarify where they expect cyclists to ride. Please keep us up to date on any responses.

    Too many cops think "as far right as practicable" means "as far right as physically possible." According to the story, the cited cyclist was a mere five feet from the lane's edge. Given road conditions, that's often the best place cyclists could be.

    I agree that the cyclist deserved a citation for not having a reflector. If we want to be on the roads, we need to follow reasonable rules.
    Last edited by Daily Commute; 01-05-05 at 06:13 AM.

  21. #21
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    Swerved to avoid? Why didn't he slow down? I mean, obviously the car has the right of way here and is apparently able to mow down anyone going slower than he is. That's the impression that I am getting from some of these comments.

    Sure, he should have had reflectors. But when the driver of that car DID see him, did he brake? What if he had come upon a slow-moving vehicle that was larger than a bike? Wouldn't he be charged for either following too closely or being out of control of his vehicle?

    I do understand the importance of being seen and wearing reflectors, but shouldn't the responsibility of not killing us come from those who are driving the two ton vehicles AS WELL AS from us?

    I think at the least that this motorist should share some of the fault. I think that cops who decide where "as far right as practicable" should be bike cops who have to deal with traffic and turning lanes. And I think we should all wear lights.

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    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    You're right, if the driver had to "swerve to avoid" two cyclists, the driver was not keeping an assured clear distance. Yes, the cyclist should have had a reflector (and blinkie, too), but if any driver hits someone from behind, it's the driver's fault, period (that's the law in Ohio, anyway). By law, drivers must always drive at a speed to avoid hitting what's in front of them. That's cold comfort to the deceased's family, but the driver should not be let off the hook.

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    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    I think there was an earlier post about someone going out to look at skid marks. I suspect the driver swerved and skid trying to avoid the cyclists.

    By the way, I doubt, even in Ohio, a driver is held responsible for rear ending another vehicle if it is dark and the forward vehicle has no lights or reflectors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH
    If both bikes had headlights and taillights/reflectors, then in my opinion, this would not put the fault on Brian Mock.
    Of course. That would be my opinion too, and that of the police as well, I'm sure. The problem is that the police are charging Mock with riding a bicycle WITHOUT rear reflectors/lights, which no one seems to be disputing.

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    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    I think there was an earlier post about someone going out to look at skid marks. I suspect the driver swerved and skid trying to avoid the cyclists.

    By the way, I doubt, even in Ohio, a driver is held responsible for rear ending another vehicle if it is dark and the forward vehicle has no lights or reflectors.
    Fair point. There is an argument about whether the cyclist was "reasonably discernable." But, on a moral level, a driver of a car should drive so as to be able to stop when something comes within his sight. I still think the fault should be legally and morally shared.
    Last edited by Daily Commute; 01-05-05 at 12:39 PM.

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