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Old 02-18-05, 10:22 PM   #1
kb0tnv
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Bicyclists Claim Angry Driver Ran Them Down

http://www.kctv5.com/Global/story.as...8&nav=1PuZWWjV

Some commentary:

Regarding a motorist/bicyclist collision on Blue River Road in Kansas City, MO, Laurie Chipman wrote:

By law, slower vehicles whether motorized or not are supposed to stay
right and allow others to pass. This is also being courteous and
respectful. If you want respect as a cyclist you will have to learn to
give it and you will probably have to give it first (and maybe many
times) before receiving it. I find that while cycling it works for me
to be responsible for my actions and not expect anything from others.

Those of you who are pointing out that bicyclists should single up in such situations are exactly right. Not only is it the law, but it also indicates to motorists your intention to cooperate with them, which, more often than not, will help them feel more like cooperating with you.

But there is another BIG issue here.

If you have seen the KCTV5 broadcast (see link below), you know the reporting here is *dangerously* wrong in so many ways I can scarcely start to count them. It says, or clearly implies, the following incorrect and dangerous statements:

* Bicyclists should be riding within a shoulder that is approximately 6-12 inches wide.

* The bicyclists were riding in a "lane of traffic" (as though this is some mortal sin).

* The lane belongs to motorists and bicyclists have no right to be riding there.

* Because the bicyclist was riding out further than he should have been it was AOK for the driver to just go ahead and run him down. The bicyclist, not the driver, was at fault in this situation.

* It's AOK for a motorist to initiate a passing maneuver while going around a blind curve.

Furthermore the story quotes the police: "Police say technically it was the *cyclists* who broke the law here today because by riding two abreast with very little shoulder they were in the traffic lane, that traffic lane belonging to the car, they say. In the end, though, they didn't cite anyone."

Three big problems here with the police's statement and actions (assuming the reporting is accurate):

* Although, perhaps, the cyclists were breaking the law, the motorist was also breaking at least two laws (see below). Also the motorist's violations are, legally, far more serious. The bicyclists' violation is an "infraction" while the motorist's violations are Class C and Class A misdemeanors.

(Note also that the cyclists claim they tried to single up as soon as they were aware of the motorist. Note also that traffic on this section of Blue River Road is very, very light at most times of day--thus riding abreast is not as unreasonable as it might appear.)

* Furthermore, any competent accident investigation would have found the motorist's actions were the direct cause of the collision (see MO law below; it is the driver's duty to drive carefully and prudently, pass safely, and leave sufficient space when passing--and if passing cannot be done safely, wait until it can be done safely; even if the bicyclists were in fact "illegally" riding two abreast, this situation was plainly evident to the motorist and does not by any means justify an unsafe passing maneuver).

* Regardless of who was at fault, this was an injury collision involving two vehicles. Police should investigate and cite the operator(s) found at fault--whether the bicyclist(s) or motorist. Failure to adequately investigate bicycle collisions makes bicyclists into second class citizens--when by law, they clearly have the same rights and duties as motorists.


The KCTV5 reporter was Betsy Webster. It seems to me the Channel 5 and Betsy Webster need to hear from us about their inaccurate and dangerous reporting. The KCMO police need to hear about their gross misunderstanding of Missouri (and KCMO) law regarding bicyclists.

The Missouri Bicycle Federation will be weighing in on this, but I hope that many of you bicyclists will be weighing in, too.

KCTV story:

http://www.kctv5.com/Global/story.as...8&nav=1PuZWWjV

KCTV5
P.O. Box 5555
Kansas City, MO 64109

KCTV5 news email: newsdesk@kctv5.com
KCTV5 news fax: 913-677-7243
KCTV5 news phone: 913-677-7211


Missouri Law applicable to this situation:

"304.012. 1. Every person operating a motor vehicle on the roads and highways of this state shall drive the vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or the life or limb of any person and shall exercise the highest degree of care."

"304.016. 1. (1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle."

(Note that that a bicycle is considered as a vehicle as far as 304.016 is concerned. So motorists must pass bicyclists at a safe distance and wait until safely clear before moving back over. This motorist clearly did neither of these--and didn't even have the wits to maintain that the bicyclists "swerved", which is his only conceivable defense against a charge of unsafe passing. Although the bicyclists and the driver disagree on details, it is clear even from the driver's version of the story alone that he clearly violated both 304.012 and 304.016.)

"304.016 4. No vehicle shall at any time be driven to the left side of the roadway under the following conditions:

(1) When approaching the crest of a grade or upon a curve of the highway where the driver's view is obstructed within such distance as to create a hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction;"


"307.188. Every person riding a bicycle or motorized bicycle upon a street or highway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle as provided by chapter 304, RSMo . . . except as to those provisions of chapter 304, RSMo, which by their nature can have no application."

(This section establishes that all traffic laws, rights, & duties applying to motorists, apply to bicyclists just as well.)


"307.190. Every person operating a bicycle or motorized bicycle at less than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic upon a street or highway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as safe, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction, except when making a left turn, when avoiding hazardous conditions, when the lane is too narrow to share with another vehicle, or when on a one-way street. Bicyclists may ride abreast when not impeding other vehicles."

Note that bicyclists are required to ride as far right "as safe". The League of American Bicyclists BikeEd course, the AASHTO bicycle guide, and numerous other nationally published and recognized guidelines suggest that bicyclists can ride as close as 3 feet to the edge of the rideable surface. Any closer to the edge is considered unsafe--because bicyclists need "shy distance" to allow them room to maneuver as necessary, and because the very edge of roadway typically contains dangers that can cause accidents and falls.

Accidents and falls are responsible for more bicycling injuries than motor vehicle collisions. Furthermore, these "non-motor vehicle" injuries cannot be dismissed lightly. 90% of bicycle crashes are "bike only" and the average such accident costs $3200 in medical costs.

All this indicates that riding right at the edge of the pavement (ie, within the small "shoulder" shown on KCTV5's report) is NOT safe and therefore not required by Missouri law.

(Incidentally, Missouri law defines the "roadway" as the main traveled way, "exclusive of the berm or shoulder". The injunction, above, requiring bicyclist to ride to the right of the *roadway*, then, absolutely does NOT require bicyclists to ride in the shoulder.)

--Brent


====================================================
We are looking for 500 new members in 2005 to help
move bicycle advocacy forward in Missouri.
Could you be one of them? Visit MoBikeFed.org/join
====================================================
Dr. Brent Hugh President@MoBikeFed.org
President, Missouri Bicycle Federation 816-695-6736
www.MoBikeFed.org/join
====================================================
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Old 02-18-05, 10:52 PM   #2
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I'm a bit too far away to join the Missouri Bicycle Federation, but I did send KCTV an email to tell them what I think. I hope they have lots of email from cyclists in short order. I didn't find an email link on the Kansas City Police Department's site. They need to hear from lots of cyclists, too.
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Old 02-19-05, 12:27 PM   #3
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I got beeped at a car once whilst cycling two abreast.

I didn't even know the other cyclist and was in the process of overtaking him!
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Old 02-19-05, 01:03 PM   #4
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The reporter clearly has NO understanding whatsoever of traffic laws, fog lines, bike lanes, and proper positioning of bicycles. Betsy Webster urgently needs to take an Effective Cycling course.

What a wealth of misinformation. No wonder I hate watching the news on TV!
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Old 02-19-05, 02:04 PM   #5
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I ride there alot, that kind of thing happens alot! (not necessarely gettin run off the road, but alot of road rage)

I absolutely hate how they put the cycleist at fault, especially how you cannot justify putting someone else's life in danger Just because you disagree with their actions.


When i ride in that area Im targeted by vehicles because I am a cycleist. I DO NOT impare their driving, I DO NOT get in their way. I AM as safe and mindful of traffic as i possibly can be. They make me a target for their own amusement.

I always try to ignore them, or if im with my group (we ride in a line, we dont block the road) all 16 of us Give them the one finger sallute.


I think this calls for Critical mass !
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Old 02-19-05, 02:09 PM   #6
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As much as I often disagree with CM, bassplayinbiker is right, a single-file CM ride down the road might get some good publicity.
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Old 02-19-05, 03:43 PM   #7
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The KCTV news desk actually answered my email and defended the station's coverage. Just like the police there, these folks really don't have a clue.
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Old 02-19-05, 04:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Bent
The KCTV news desk actually answered my email and defended the station's coverage. Just like the police there, these folks really don't have a clue.
I sent an email also. I wasn't planning on sending one, until watching the video linked. The reporter and driver seemed smugly satisfied that the cyclists got what they deserved. Unbelievable!

And that was about as unprofessional job of on-site reporting that I've ever seen. She woudn't last a week in the D/FW news market.
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Old 02-19-05, 08:48 PM   #9
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Jeez. Would the guy have hit a big rock in the road if it didn't get out of his way after honking at it? Hitting anybody because they are in the way is the stupidest excuse, and that the cops and the news reporter doesn't even see this is astonishing.
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Old 02-19-05, 08:49 PM   #10
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I just watched the video also, and agree that the police and the reporter have no idea what proper bicycle riding really means. I DID notice that they were hit by a Postal worker. I wonder how he'd feel if the local Postmaster was flooded with mail asking him/her if this reflects on the skill of the drivers that work for the Postal Service? Even if he didn't hit them intentiionally, it's the driver's responsibility to know at all times just where his vehicle is.
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Old 02-19-05, 08:52 PM   #11
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I have always been under the impression that hitting someone with your car because that person is in your way is considered assault and battery.
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Old 02-19-05, 09:16 PM   #12
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My correspondence:

Quote:
Hello:

I am writing to you regarding the bicycle collision story as I am
concerned about the reporting that was done in this story. The story
was either intentionally biased and had misinformation, or was just
sloppy lazy reporting.

Betsy Webster quoted the police as saying "Technically it was the
cyclists who broke the law here today because by riding by riding two
abreast with very little shoulder, they were in the traffic lane, that
traffic lane belonging to the car."

I have serious doubts as to whether the police would have said this,
since it is incorrect. Bicycles have a legal right to use roads in
this country. If they were in the traffic lane, that would have been
entirely appropriate because they are, in fact, traffic. That does
not address the legal status of riding two abreast, but the purported
police quote above assigned blame to the cyclists without ever
mentioning that. If the police did indeed give the quote in question,
then the real story should have been that the police don't know basic
traffic laws.

I don't claim that the cyclists weren't at fault because I didn't
witness the incident, and I don't know how much time they were
actually given to react, but hitting someone who won't get out of your
way certainly wouldn't have been an appropriate reaction on the part
of the driver.

Tom Theisen
As an aside, wow, does watching that video piss me off. ARGH, that police quote is infuriating, especially the way she says it.
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Old 02-19-05, 09:21 PM   #13
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wow, i was always under the impression that news reporters shouldent have a slant.

They sure seem to be anti cycleist.

That Road is always a problem for me and all of my friends when we ride. Something really needs to be done about it.
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Old 02-20-05, 12:32 AM   #14
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This is Missouri, people. Not at all surprising. "You in Muzzurah now, boy!"
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Old 02-20-05, 01:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrownd
This is Missouri, people. Not at all surprising. "You in Muzzurah now, boy!"
Not sure you mean, but I'll just assume you're as ignorant as those you refer to. And, no, I don't have a sense of humor.

I've been riding that very same route for years and have never had a problem with motorists, but this is no surprise as the road is narrow, hilly and winding.

I didn't have as much problem with the reporter's coverage as I had with the quotes she attributed to the police. I hope that they really didn't tell her that the cyclists were "breaking the law" because "they were riding in the traffic lane, that traffic lane belonging to the car." I intend to try to find out the police version and if they really think that the driver's right to the road takes such precendence over cyclists that they can legally run us off the road. If that's their policy then I'll have to seriously rethink if I'll ride in KCMO anymore.
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Old 02-20-05, 02:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollow
Not sure you mean, but I'll just assume you're as ignorant as those you refer to. And, no, I don't have a sense of humor.

I've been riding that very same route for years and have never had a problem with motorists, but this is no surprise as the road is narrow, hilly and winding.

I didn't have as much problem with the reporter's coverage as I had with the quotes she attributed to the police. I hope that they really didn't tell her that the cyclists were "breaking the law" because "they were riding in the traffic lane, that traffic lane belonging to the car." I intend to try to find out the police version and if they really think that the driver's right to the road takes such precendence over cyclists that they can legally run us off the road. If that's their policy then I'll have to seriously rethink if I'll ride in KCMO anymore.
As I said in my letter, if that's really what the police said, then the real story should have been an expose about the poor understanding police have of basic traffic laws. I suspect that the police never said that and that this journalist perhaps misunderstood, perhaps is just lazy, or maybe I have too much faith in police, but someone involved in this was completely wrong.
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Old 02-20-05, 05:20 AM   #17
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On our bike paths, pedestrians are required to walk single file when others are within 100'. They never do. But under the reporter's theory, if pedestrians are walking side-by-side I have the right to ram them.
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Old 02-20-05, 06:03 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollow
And, no, I don't have a sense of humor.
Your loss...
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Old 02-20-05, 07:33 AM   #19
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Could we assume then that the following (fictional) scenario could be plausible ?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. A Motorist driving under the maximum speed limit was pushed off the highway by a semi trailer.

The driver of the semi trailer said he slowed down, honked, waited for the motorist to get out of the way and swerved when he didn't, but the tractor trailer bumper clipped the rear end of the sedan, forcing his driver to crash into the guardrail.

The driver of the car said he swerved into him intentionally because he didn't get over when he honked.

Police didn't issue any citations.

Technically the motorist was at fault because he was not supposed to remain in the passing lane, police said.

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Old 02-20-05, 08:27 AM   #20
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I've ridden down by blue ridge and redbridge road. It's wide enough for a vehicle to safely pass 2 cyclists.

I think there is some blame to be laid on the driver. 1) If he really wanted to pass, he had room to. 2) This sman is an idiot. It's like saying, "IF you don't do what I say (me honking) I'll shoot you! (ram you)"

The cops clearly don't understand what the heck they're doing either. Why would you let someone shoot someoen else just because they didn't comply with the shooters wishes?

That's the equivelent of honking and proceeding to run someone off the road.

The news reporter needs to understand this is wrong and the cops do as well. This seems to walk hand in hand with the thought that bikes are toys. Here's why:

To the cops the shooting scenario is clearly bad.
BUT the honking scenario isn't?
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Old 02-20-05, 09:41 AM   #21
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I had to write a letter also... I hate stories like this, especially when the police don't know the law, and the lazy reporter just takes their word for it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by My Wonderful Email to the News Desk
I recently had an opportunity to watch a newscast in which two cyclists crashed. In the recitation of his story, the driver identified the very reason he is solely at fault for this incident.

During the video, the driver makes a statement which is paraphrased in the story on your site:

" The motorist said he slowed down, honked, waited for them to get out of the way and swerved when they didn't, but the sideview mirror on his vehicle clipped one of their handlebars. "

Had he been following the law, his mirror never possibly could've clipped the cyclist's handlebars. Missouri Traffic Law states the following:

"304.016. 1. (1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle."

I noticed Ms. Webster was very quick to point out the police saying technically the cyclists were at fault, but if the mirror of a car hits a cyclist's handlebars, that means the car was in the lane long before it had safely cleared the cyclists. The police officer is mistaken in that the shoulder shown on the video accompanying your story is nowhere near safe for a cyclist to ride in single or double wide.

Also, judging from the video, Ms. Webster stood there giving the report and very few cars passed her by. I would say that speaks for the amount of traffic that road typically handles, and it lends itself to cyclists riding two abreast.

However, regardless of how the cyclists were riding, the driver of the car did not pass them safely and did not clear the cyclists adequately before re-entering the lane he left to pass them. Someone should bring this up to the police officer who reported his "technicality."

Thank you,
Vincent M. Ferrari
Damn this kinda thing really sets me off!
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Old 02-22-05, 06:07 PM   #22
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I live in Kansas City, but had not seen this in the news. I don't watch too much t.v. I read the paper more. But I did send a message to KCTV5 message board. The reporter doesnt have a clue.
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Old 03-03-05, 10:59 PM   #23
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I'm not so sure that the reporter is so much to blame. At first glance it just seems like she is accuratly reporting what happened. "Technically the bicyclists were at fault because they weren't supposed to ride two abreast on such a narrow shoulder, police said." The POLICE said!!! Seems like the police are the ones who need to be re-aquanted with the pertinant laws.
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Old 03-03-05, 11:07 PM   #24
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Well, without being there, it's impossible to tell who's wrong. All that we can conclude is that someone is wrong. If the police really did say that, as I stated in my letter, they should run a story about police lack of knowledge of basic traffic laws.

Even if the police did say that, it probably would have worthwile to look at the actual traffic laws when they something so suspect sounding. Then they could include in their report that the police's statement contradicted the law. I know they have time constraints, but as it is, their report is just spreading misinformation and distruths. It is their responsibility to check the facts.
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Old 03-03-05, 11:19 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Spire
I'm not so sure that the reporter is so much to blame. At first glance it just seems like she is accuratly reporting what happened. "Technically the bicyclists were at fault because they weren't supposed to ride two abreast on such a narrow shoulder, police said." The POLICE said!!! Seems like the police are the ones who need to be re-aquanted with the pertinant laws.

Cops and journos aren't legal experts. Police may have better knowledge of the law than the average person, but I certainly would not rely on their legal opinion on anything.

By the way, in Australia, if you run into the rear of another vehicle you are at fault, end of story. Is it the same in the US?
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