For my 500th post, I wish to dedicate it to cyclists everywhere who want to be respected by motorists and law enforcement. As I have stated before, I believe a cyclist should enjoy and use the road with the same convenience, safety and pleasure as all
motorists. Actually, there is no way a motorist can ever enjoy the road as much as a cyclist!
Please read the following e-mail exchange between Mr. John Allen, a well known bicycle accident expert witness and cycling advocate, and I:
Dear Mr. Allen,
I have become aware of a case (a friend in Tucson, Arizona) of a cyclist who was struck by a car from behind while making a left turn. According to the cyclist,
he was positioned in the left part of his lane on a two-way street, waiting for an oncoming car to pass. An impatient motorist struck his wheel from behind, sending my friend into the lane of oncoming traffic. Fortunately, all he got was road rash.
But now, the authorities are going to blame my friend
for impeding traffic and endangering himself and others.
What can he do? I have already advised him not to try to handle this on his own without expert counsel.
You can read more about this incident and even ask questions at this website, under the heading, "Open Discussion and Off-Topic," thread entitled, "My weekend."
Thank you for your time,
Peter Hylan Clark
Stone Mountain, GA
Mr. Allen's quick response:
The first thing I suggest is that he get in touch with someone in the Arizona bicycling community who can suggest resources and how to mount a defense -- Richard Corbett and Yvonne Morrison are Effective cycling instructors. Richard C. Moeur is with the Pheonix traffic department and is an expert on bicycling issues. Richard Moeur's e-mail is RCMoeur@aol.com (sorry, I don't have e-mail addresses for the others and am not absolutely sure they still live in Arizona, though they probably do. If they do, they are probably in the Phoenix area).
This is a serious case of blaming the victim. The police are shockingly wrong. They should have ticketed the motorist, not the bicyclist. It is legal to make a left turn on a bicycle as a vehicle operator, and it is illegal to smash into someone who is standing in the road no matter what that person may be doing, but even more illegal when that person is legally waiting to make a turn. If the police do not drop the charges when confronted with reason, then the case ought to be pusued in order to force the issue of their doing their duty of enforcing the law, and learning enough about bicycling to handle bicycling incidents correctly.
Incidents like this one happen all too often, because the police don't know any bicycling other than their children's, and want to "protect" bicyclists as if we are all children. If we don't instruct the police in how to change this, nobody will.
John S. Allen