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  1. #1
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    7-year old killed in Westfield, MA

    Not a lot of details, so it's hard to tell what happened or who was at fault. But sad when a child dies, no matter how it happened....

    http://www.masslive.com/news/index.s...ed_at_sit.html

    In this story, the neighbors say the truck was driving too fast: http://www.wwlp.com/dpp/news/local/h...-by-dump-truck

  2. #2
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Reading the references, Its not clear to me what happened, but it seems as if the truck was hauling ass down the road and that the kid could not get out of the way. Calling it an accident seems just wrong to me, if the speed limit was being exceeded then is more a manslaughter or murder. I hate being this extreme, but I have witnessed many dump trucks and cement trucks going way faster than the speed limit, and given their weights and stopping distances they should be going slower than the posted limit. That said, if this was not the case then I am just very very sorry that a child was killed.
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  3. #3
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
    Not a lot of details, so it's hard to tell what happened or who was at fault. But sad when a child dies, no matter how it happened....

    http://www.masslive.com/news/index.s...ed_at_sit.html

    In this story, the neighbors say the truck was driving too fast: http://www.wwlp.com/dpp/news/local/h...-by-dump-truck
    Very very sad.

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    Sadly, this is what we get when the police adopt a "laissez-faire" attitude about "minor" traffic infractions; a couple people in the story talked about the habitual speeding by trucks -- when it's not harshly cut short, it becomes 'okay'. Death is frequently the result.

    We DO need serious traffic calming -- as well as Type A personality calming! (If only I knew how to do THAT...!) I truly believe residential areas need about a 25mph speed limit, with harsh enforcement.

    Honestly, if you want to get somewhere THAT fast, collect sponsors and invent the Star Trek personal transporter....

  5. #5
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Too bad kids cannot be kids anymore by riding and walking on THIER residential roads.

    Most of the comments are disgusting.
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  6. #6
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    At Monday's incident scene, the name or logo of the company that owns the truck was concealed by sheets of paper fastened to the vehicle's doors.
    Wait, what? Something smells fishy here...maybe a truck owned by the county?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
    Wait, what? Something smells fishy here...maybe a truck owned by the county?
    Most of the municipally-owned vehicles around here are yellow, but that's not to say it's not a private contractor working for the city. But that's just speculation. It could also just be a private hauler working on a private job. I'll update the thread if I see anything more in the local media.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rica rica's Avatar
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    Thats so sad. regardless of who was right or wrong its a painful thing for the family i'm sure.

  9. #9
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Something is really rotten here and doest add up. The story is the truck driver "kept honking". That means he saw the boy, and there should have been long skid marks where he locked up his brakes. Were there skid marks???? Did he brake at all before he hit the boy??? Was he so arrogant that he thot that laying on the horn was enough and the boy just needed to stay out of his "right of way"??? From the map, this appears to be residential street. Speeding on a residential street where there may be children is stupid in the first place.And again here is another example of the fact the authorities are "still investigating". Killing a cyclist, even a child seem to be no big deal to the police or authorities. While I am generally against people marching in the streets, here is an example where the people in the neighborhood should mob City Hall, and demand justice, and an arrest!!!!

  10. #10
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    looking at the satellite image of the area I would say that is not a bike friendly spot for a 7yr old on a bike. very very sad
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  11. #11
    Senior Member kalliergo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    looking at the satellite image of the area I would say that is not a bike friendly spot for a 7yr old on a bike.
    I just looked at the satellite and street view images and I strongly disagree. I can't imagine why a mother and her 7-year-old shouldn't expect to be able to cycle safely and pleasantly at that location.

    Well, actually, I can imagine. But I find all the reasons that are commonly cited in support of our national automobile slum culture totally crazy.
    "What if we fail to stop the erosion of cities by automobiles?. . . In that case, we Americans will hardly need to ponder a mystery that has troubled men for millennia: What is the purpose of life? For us, the answer will be clear, established and for all practical purposes indisputable: The purpose of life is to produce and consume automobiles."

    ~Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

  12. #12
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    I know we're all cyclists, and naturally would prefer to believe that all cyclist fatalities are the result of motorist error. Unfortunately, in this case, there's no clear evidence either way, so it might make sense to await the results of the police investigation.

    It's altogether possible (possible, not saying it is, just offering some perspective) that the truck was not speeding, that the driver did apply his brakes (it's hard to make loaded trucks skid) but the braking distance was too great.

    In most studies of cyclist fatalities from motor vehicle collisions, cyclists are at fault about half the time. This percentage climbs dramatically when the cyclists are children. It's entirely possible that this is a simple case of a child failing to check traffic, or misjudging it's speed when riding across a street. In that sense it would be similar to a child running into the street chasing a ball.

    Not all drivers speed through residential streets, and not all are reckless. Accidents do happen, and regardless of fault, (legally) nobody wants to hit and kill a child, so let's stat calm, put the torches away, and wait for the facts before we storm the castle.
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  13. #13
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    In most studies of cyclist fatalities from motor vehicle collisions, cyclists are at fault about half the time. This percentage climbs dramatically when the cyclists are children.
    Actually it is 50% motorist fault when children are included in the data. When the data looks at adult cyclist only, then depending on location, the studies show motorist are at fault 60 to 90% of the time.

    That does exclude the San Francisco newspaper review of police reports that claimed 50/50, but a less biased review showed the SFPD blamed large numbers of deaths on excessive speed by cyclist. Odd that bicyclist were riding fast but motorist were not seen as engaging in excessive speed. No mention/claims that any of the cyclist were actually exceeding the speed limit.
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  14. #14
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    The data vary fairly widely, but you're right that when the cyclist is an adult, the percentage of cyclist fault drops. By the same token, with 50/50 as a ratio in all accidents, and with adult cyclists have a much lower percentage of responsibility, that means that with children the percentage of cyclist fault is comparably higher.

    My point wasn't to use statistics to imply that the child was at fault, since one can't make inferences from the general to the specific, but to simply remind folks to hold back their anger until the facts were in.
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  15. #15
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    The data vary fairly widely, but you're right that when the cyclist is an adult, the percentage of cyclist fault drops. By the same token, with 50/50 as a ratio in all accidents, and with adult cyclists have a much lower percentage of responsibility, that means that with children the percentage of cyclist fault is comparably higher.

    My point wasn't to use statistics to imply that the child was at fault, since one can't make inferences from the general to the specific, but to simply remind folks to hold back their anger until the facts were in.
    No argument with this post. My point is that cyclist must always make it clear that when statistics start getting tossed around, that cyclist make it clear that most adult cyclist deaths are the fault of motorist. Way too many people or groups try to blame cyclist.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  16. #16
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Is there any information yet on wether the truck driver is being charged?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    Is there any information yet on wether the truck driver is being charged?
    Charged with what?

    Is there evidence that he was doing anything wrong, or is this a case where a child came into the street, and the driver couldn't stop in time? Something that happens all too often, and most of the time to people driving close to home, and hitting children they know.
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  18. #18
    Ride More seedsbelize's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
    Sadly, this is what we get when the police adopt a "laissez-faire" attitude about "minor" traffic infractions; a couple people in the story talked about the habitual speeding by trucks -- when it's not harshly cut short, it becomes 'okay'. Death is frequently the result.

    We DO need serious traffic calming -- as well as Type A personality calming! (If only I knew how to do THAT...!) I truly believe residential areas need about a 25mph speed limit, with harsh enforcement.

    Honestly, if you want to get somewhere THAT fast, collect sponsors and invent the Star Trek personal transporter....
    I live in the land of speed bumps. Hundreds of thousands of them. They do a magnificent job of calming traffic, and cost practically nothing.

    Life is is too short to care what others think of your bike.

  19. #19
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Charged with what?

    Is there evidence that he was doing anything wrong, or is this a case where a child came into the street, and the driver couldn't stop in time? Something that happens all too often, and most of the time to people driving close to home, and hitting children they know.
    apologies for the motorists are fine and all that, but this is a bike forum.

    there is bias in accident reporting against cyclists, there is not a strict duty of care in the presence of pedestrians in this country, we have streets that encourage speeding in the vicinity of schools and crosswalks.

    Should dump truck drivers take extra caution approaching children on bicycles, even those on the sidewalk?

    yes.

    Some countries in Europe more equitably consider the vulnerable road user and who's negligent in collisions with children on bikes in similar situations.

    Every day in America, some DA is excusing horrendous, negligent driving behavior as 'unavoidable' and failing to seek charges in cases of injury or death of vulnerable road users.

    RIP, young rider.
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  20. #20
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalliergo View Post
    I just looked at the satellite and street view images and I strongly disagree. I can't imagine why a mother and her 7-year-old shouldn't expect to be able to cycle safely and pleasantly at that location.

    Well, actually, I can imagine. But I find all the reasons that are commonly cited in support of our national automobile slum culture totally crazy.
    Assuming the information in the article is correct - the boy was CROSSING THE STREET with his mother. From what I can see from the street view provided by Google, there are no lights at that intersection but clearly marked crosswalks. As far as I know traffic is still required to stop for pedestrians on crosswalks regardless of the presence of lights or not. That also implies that traffic is expected to be restricted to a speed that'll enable them to stop.

    If, on the other hand, the mother and child were NOT crossing at a crosswalk - it doesn't change that traffic is expected to be driving at a speed that they an easily stop from. That the truck driver honked continuously at the kid tells me he had time to hit the brakes BEFORE the horn. The normal reaction to a horn is to freeze - the driver is an idiot.

    A seven year old is still too young to be out on a bike on their own. This one was with their mother. Excuse my being upset - but SOMEBODY is at fault here and it isn't the kid. Either the mother put him at risk or the truck driver needs jail time. 'Accidents' like this happen only when no-one does anything to prevent them, and insist on looking out for no-one but themselves.

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