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Old 05-26-11, 09:08 PM   #1
johnny99
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Santa Clara University professor badly hurt in Los Gatos bicycle crash

Incident was Wednesday morning at 7:40am on Los Gatos Blvd.
Bicyclist was heading straight and was cut off by a SUV turning left.
The police are looking for witnesses.

http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_18149847
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Old 05-26-11, 10:51 PM   #2
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The Explorer's driver, San Jose resident Juan Antonio Rodriguez-Gallegos, 42, was cited for being an unlicensed driver. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
Freaken scum.
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Old 05-27-11, 12:32 AM   #3
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Alongside the bike lane, a row of cars were stopped waiting for the light to turn green at the Highway 9 intersection. Just then, a Ford Explorer made a left turn through the stopped traffic using the "keep clear" space and was hit broadside by Saghari's bike.
Sounds like the rider would be at least partially hidden from the SUV by the line of cars (not that that is a valid excuse). Dangerous and unfortunate situation; be careful out there. I hope he pulls through okay.
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Old 05-27-11, 09:29 AM   #4
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Commuting makes me nervous, and I ride like 10k miles/year. It only takes 1 blind/careless driver.
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Old 05-27-11, 10:04 AM   #5
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You notice the bias

in the Mercury article? It makes it sound like the bicyclist ran into the SUV and it was his fault--when it sounds to me his right of way was violated.

No matter, if the police determine he was in fact riding faster than they think he should have been riding, they're going to say it was his fault.

It's possible the helmet didn't help much if he planted his face first into the SUV's side.

I agree that commuting can be harrowing. Most drivers see a bike and figure that cyclists are putting in the same limited energy into the bike that they themselves would. Therefore they won't think anyone could possibly be riding 18-19 mph and will then make turns to violate cyclist's right of way. Of course that's if they notice the bicyclist at all.

Driving Central and other roads to my job, I w/o doubt notice bicyclists to a much greater degree when they have head & taillights on in all conditions. PLEASE BE SEEN! USE YOUR LIGHTS!
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Old 05-30-11, 08:25 AM   #6
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I wonder if it was a pedestrian that was crossing the intersection under green light the author would have written.. the pedestrian crashed into the side of the SUV. Maybe I'm of base here, but I think I've seem this attitude a few times before in the Mercury News reproting bike accidents...I don't get where these "journalists" are coming from.
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Old 05-30-11, 09:06 AM   #7
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the pedestrian crashed into the side of the SUV. ...I don't get where these "journalists" are coming from.
Well-put. The byline is to Mike Rosenberg, who recently left the San Mateo Times & is a self-described "transportation reporter" for the Mercury News. Reminds me of the pro-car bias described in Forester's "Effective Cycling" back in 1980s Palo Alto.
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Old 06-02-11, 03:49 AM   #8
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i didn't notice any bias in the article. how else would you describe a bike running into the side of a car?

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Old 06-02-11, 11:05 AM   #9
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i didn't notice any bias in the article. how else would you describe a bike running into the side of a car?
No bias. It sounds like an unfortunate accident that could've happen to anyone of us.
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Old 06-02-11, 11:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by SClaraPokeman View Post
in the Mercury article? It makes it sound like the bicyclist ran into the SUV and it was his fault--when it sounds to me his right of way was violated.

No matter, if the police determine he was in fact riding faster than they think he should have been riding, they're going to say it was his fault.
. . . I w/o doubt notice bicyclists to a much greater degree when they have head & taillights on in all conditions. PLEASE BE SEEN! USE YOUR LIGHTS!
I had that very same accident on Danville blvd in Alamo (East Bay) and the police said I was going too fast. I dented the fender the hood and broke the windshield and I came out with a serious concussion (with helmet) that left me with a non functioning pituitary gland well after a dozen years. The driver's insurance did pay everything including a new bike and everything else including "pain and suffering" (the driver was cited as well)

It looks geeky and goofy, but today I ride with a front and rear blinking bright lights--although I don't know wether it would have helped when one drive through stopped cross traffic?

I wish the professor a very speedy recovery.
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Old 06-02-11, 12:00 PM   #11
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It makes it sound like the bicyclist ran into the SUV and it was his fault--when it sounds to me his right of way was violated.
The two choices are not mutually exclusive, you know. Just because his right-of-way was violated does not mean he wasn't going too fast for conditions. If I'm driving a car and come to a busy intersection with a "KEEP CLEAR" space, I sure as heck am not going to enter it going full speed if the other traffic lanes are stopped; I would slow to a crawl. On a bicycle there's even more reason to do so. For a PhD, he didn't seem to have much traffic sense.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 06-02-11, 12:47 PM   #12
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Most PhDs don't have much common sense, traffic or otherwise.
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Old 06-02-11, 01:02 PM   #13
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Don't blame the victim. The article says nothing about how fast the bicyclist was moving, how fast the SUV was moving, or how closely the SUV cut off the bicyclist.

Very possible that the bicyclist was moving very slowly and carefully, but the SUV was going so fast that the bicyclist did not see it until it was too late. Also, the SUV's momentum could have caused all of the bicyclist's injuries.
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Old 06-02-11, 01:50 PM   #14
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To clarify about bias

My point was that stating that the cyclist “hit” the SUV implies that it was the fault of the cyclist. Perhaps the story could have been written “the SUV turned in front of the cyclist, cutting him off and causing a collision.” Maybe that’s a bit awkward but I think it conveys the truth of what happened more accurately.

The problem with the “unsafe speed” for the conditions traffic provision is that it will almost always give the police a way to blame a cyclist for virtually any accident. It’s almost like if you are involved in one you were going the wrong speed-Ergo it’s your fault. I’m probably a bit touchy about this as I’ve now been subject to this treatment by the Sunnyvale PD (BTW-I learned that police opinion as to fault isn’t admissible in court).

Good point Johnny 99 about the SUV supplying momentum for the collusion.

One other thing about the story that may be misleading is the report he was wearing a helmet and was still severely injured, which gives the false impression helmets are ineffectual. I know from experience helmets really work, my feeling is that in many car/cyclist incidents, people hit with their face first and the protection that helmets offer unfortunately don’t really come into play.

FWIW, I read in some other forum that blinking front lights are illegal in CA.
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Old 06-02-11, 01:55 PM   #15
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My point was that stating that the cyclist “hit” the SUV implies that it was the fault of the cyclist. Perhaps the story could have been written “the SUV turned in front of the cyclist, cutting him off and causing a collision.”
You're splitting hairs, and in trying to suggest "non-biased" wording, showing your own pro-cyclist bias off in spades.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 06-02-11, 02:19 PM   #16
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The two choices are not mutually exclusive, you know. Just because his right-of-way was violated does not mean he wasn't going too fast for conditions. If I'm driving a car and come to a busy intersection with a "KEEP CLEAR" space, I sure as heck am not going to enter it going full speed if the other traffic lanes are stopped; I would slow to a crawl. On a bicycle there's even more reason to do so. For a PhD, he didn't seem to have much traffic sense.
I imagine you say similar things for scantily clad **** victims, right?

What's the proper speed to be travelling when you plan on a car pulling in front of you, causing an unavoidable accident? Zero mph?
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Old 06-02-11, 02:20 PM   #17
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Don't blame the victim. The article says nothing about how fast the bicyclist was moving, how fast the SUV was moving, or how closely the SUV cut off the bicyclist.

Very possible that the bicyclist was moving very slowly and carefully, but the SUV was going so fast that the bicyclist did not see it until it was too late. Also, the SUV's momentum could have caused all of the bicyclist's injuries.
QFT. It's referred to as "fault" for a reason.
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Old 06-02-11, 05:55 PM   #18
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My point was that stating that the cyclist “hit” the SUV implies that it was the fault of the cyclist
the bicyclist DID crash into the SUV... the article makes no mention of who is at fault.
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Old 06-02-11, 10:42 PM   #19
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I imagine you say similar things for scantily clad **** victims, right?

What's the proper speed to be travelling when you plan on a car pulling in front of you, causing an unavoidable accident? Zero mph?
If I'm rolling along next to a stopped line of cars, I'm probably going no faster than an easy trotting pace, perhaps even a walking pace. People are too stoopid; I don't trust them even when I have the right of way.

And yeah.... I probably would say similar things about **** victims if they dressed provocatively, went to a party in a bad part of town, and drank out of cups handed to them by strangers. Part of being an adult is knowing when to take proper precautions to minimize risk in certain situations.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 06-03-11, 07:54 AM   #20
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Here's a copy of the note I sent to the Merc News reporter, his editor, and the letters to the editor page.

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Mike Rosenberg,

I am disappointed in your reporting on Santa Clara University professor Bahram Saghari, who was involved in a traffic collision while cycling.
http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-cou...nclick_check=1

As a professional writer, you know the power of the subtle use of language.

You wrote “...rode his bicycle into an SUV.” While this may be technically correct, this sentence gives the incorrect impression that Saghari is at fault.

Then you wrote “Just then, a Ford Explorer made a left turn through the stopped traffic using the “keep clear” space….”
You didn't write about the driver, you wrote about the Ford, like the Ford somehow made the turn on it's own.

I realize these are subtle inflections, but they contribute to your readers perceptions in a way that I hope you don't intend.

I encourage you to examine your writing, and attempt to avoid describing events that in a way that unnecessarily colors them.
Where we as cyclists connect the dots, this sort of reporting gives the general public the idea that somehow another crazed cyclist injured himself on an innocent car.

As to whether the cyclist could have prevented this, maybe. We should all drive and ride defensively. But if someone were to suddenly turn left in front of you while you were driving and you hit them, I'll bet you'd have choice words for the unsafe left turner and would never think of the collision as your fault.

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Old 06-03-11, 09:58 AM   #21
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And yeah.... I probably would say similar things about **** victims if they dressed provocatively, went to a party in a bad part of town, and drank out of cups handed to them by strangers. Part of being an adult is knowing when to take proper precautions to minimize risk in certain situations.
As long as you're cool with that making you a giant *******.

I hope you survive your first bike vs. car with enough intact to make a post. I'll be first in line saying you were riding too fast without enough lights.
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Old 06-03-11, 12:38 PM   #22
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Count me as one who sees a bias against the cyclist in the article. The opening of the article does convey subtle but clear message that the cyclist was at fault because he ran into the car.

I don't know if the bias was intentional or not. I also don't know for sure that the author actually wrote the phrase that does it - reporters have editors who often change or delete what is handed to them. I have no way of knowing if that happened here.

I also don't know how fast the cyclist was going, what the driver's view was, or any of a number of other important facts. Bottom line: the reporting is at best incomplete (not surprising, and I do not mean that in a nasty way - important facts may not have been available to the reporter by deadline), but it does convey more fault on the cyclist than the then-currently available facts justify for exactly the reasons cccorlew states.

But the real bottom line here is: (a) I hope the prof recovers; (b) I'm glad he was wearing a helmet - it couldn't have hurt and may have saved his life (although we have no way to know that, either, from this article); and (c) there is a lesson in this for all of us.

And since when was it okay to assume the guy was out to lunch because he had the wherewithal to earn a Ph.D? You know nothing about this man except what was in the article, which means you don't know the first thing about him. Your slurs are no better than making assumptions based on race, gender, or religion. Shame on you.
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Old 06-03-11, 06:48 PM   #23
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Here's a blog entry at cyclelicious with a photo/graphic that's pretty telling.
I still contend that if you are in your bike lane and someone left hooks you it's totally their fault.
http://www.cyclelicio.us/2011/left-c...res-professor/
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Old 06-03-11, 07:08 PM   #24
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I still contend that if you are in your bike lane and someone left hooks you it's totally their fault.
of course.. the person turning has to ensure the lane is clear. but as a biker, since your risk is greater, you really need to watch out for stuff like this.

legally i think the driver should be found at fault, but it is possible the biker could have done more to avoid the accident. having the law on your side doesn't do you much good when you're dead :\

i hope the biker guy recovers
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Old 06-03-11, 07:37 PM   #25
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but it is possible the biker could have done more to avoid the accident
You can say the same thing about every single bicycle crash. Probably every single car crash as well. Until you have enough information to make specific accusations, I say give the victim the benefit of the doubt.
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