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Old 09-02-11, 10:03 PM   #1
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Absolutely Despicable

Normally I'm a 120/60, 39 bpm kinda gal. Life happens, I deal with it, I don't get my knickers in a twist.

This, however, caused me to flush with anger.

That she may have to spend the rest of her life in China may be punishment enough. I'd still like to see her face a jury.
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Old 09-02-11, 10:22 PM   #2
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The driver accused of striking and killing a bicyclist in Danville in 2009 has fled the country. KGO's Leslie Brinkley reports that 43-year-old Hong Guo jumped bail and flew to Beijing, China in May, weeks before her preliminary hearing on vehicular manslaughter charges.
Grr! I hope she is hit by one of those speeding trains!
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Old 09-02-11, 10:47 PM   #3
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http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_18807380

Above is the link to the Mercury News story. Many of the comments are very upsetting as usual. I'd like to know if anyone has some information about the accident itself.
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Old 09-02-11, 11:09 PM   #4
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Grr! I hope she is hit by one of those speeding trains!
Srsly.
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Old 09-02-11, 11:10 PM   #5
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http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_18807380

Above is the link to the Mercury News story. Many of the comments are very upsetting as usual. I'd like to know if anyone has some information about the accident itself.
Here's an article that appeared at the time:
http://www.danvilleexpress.com/story.php?story_id=6285
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Old 09-02-11, 11:14 PM   #6
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http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_18807380

Above is the link to the Mercury News story. Many of the comments are very upsetting as usual. I'd like to know if anyone has some information about the accident itself.
Her kids are in the U.S. and she can't get a visa. Hello, karma, nice to meet you.

Gee, imagine that she wants a free entry to the US to see her kids...ha! That she suffers, not seeing her kids, as the victim's family suffers, seems very "tit for tat." Can't say that I'm sympathetic.

The irony meter is pegged. I'm trying to not enjoy it.
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Old 09-03-11, 12:22 AM   #7
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I think everyone loses in this story, tragic.
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Old 09-03-11, 09:42 AM   #8
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I think this statement from the prosecutor is even more despicable: "For all intents and purposes, she was going to get probation." The standard punishment for murdering a bicyclist is a slap on the wrist. Be careful out there.
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Old 09-03-11, 10:22 AM   #9
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Thank you for the link, Prathmann. The prosecutor seemed to be giving her credit for not fleeing the scene, however, after hitting the bike she was involved in a collision with a Range Rover and injured. It doesn't seem to me that she was in a condition to flee or she likely would had done it based on her subsequent actions. She was also from Cupertino, which suggests to me that she was possibly unfamiliar with the road and driving in an unsafe manner.
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Old 09-03-11, 11:26 AM   #10
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I think everyone loses in this story, tragic.
Everyone loses is correct. I don't believe most accidents between vehicles and cycles are due to malicious intent, it is how the driver reacts that usually exacerbates the situation. Convicted by a jury and found guilty, the "right" thing to do would be to spend the time. Unfortunately some people fail to consider their actions;

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MERCURY NEWS "This is a non-drug, non-DUI, non-road rage vehicular manslaughter. She had no criminal record, and she didn't flee the scene. For all intents and purposes, she was going to get probation," OConnell said. "She's made this a lot more difficult on herself."
In all likelihood she would've probably got a 5-7year sentence with the majority being probation. Sad for all the families involved.

EDIT: This was prelim, gasp*, wow she totally blew it. Dumb move.
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Old 09-03-11, 03:15 PM   #11
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In the Economist I rec'd today, (Sep 3-9 issue) on page 32 this is a brief article about the state of bike commuting in the United States: "Calm Down: With a very few exceptions, America is no place for cyclists."

The article contrasts the differences in traffic calming between American cities and European ones. The article also mentions the indifference of police and prosecutors to bicycle accident victims.
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Old 09-03-11, 06:25 PM   #12
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Forgot to post the link. http://www.economist.com/node/21528302
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Old 09-03-11, 09:15 PM   #13
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I think this statement from the prosecutor is even more despicable: "For all intents and purposes, she was going to get probation." The standard punishment for murdering a bicyclist is a slap on the wrist. Be careful out there.
No kidding. Nice to know we cyclists matter.
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Old 09-03-11, 10:18 PM   #14
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Cyclists don't matter, quite a few people are gleeful with joy when they hear cyclist got hurt. Disgusting all around.
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Old 09-03-11, 11:13 PM   #15
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I read about this... "person" (for lack of a better term) the other day, and my first thought was that if you're going to flee the country for a crime and leave your family behind, make it count! Don't bother for parking tickets, killing cyclists, jaywalking, of ripping the tag off of mattresses.
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Old 09-03-11, 11:19 PM   #16
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I think this statement from the prosecutor is even more despicable: "For all intents and purposes, she was going to get probation." The standard punishment for murdering a bicyclist is a slap on the wrist. Be careful out there.
You have to be careful here. If you treat every driver who hits and kills a cyclist the same ("lock 'em up and throw away the key"), you'll make the situation worse, not better. Say Driver A screws up but sticks around, calls 911, does what he/she can to help, is honest, etc. Now take Driver B, who commits a hit-and-run, leaves the cyclist there to die, and tries to hide what he/she did. I think (hope) everyone would agree that Driver B is far more culpable than Driver A. But if the law treats them both the same - harshly - Driver A has no incentive (beyond their conscience, which I hope would be enough but often isn't) not to turn into Driver B and drive away.

Of course, in this case, Driver A did turn Driver B. albeit after the fact. Now she deserves to be treated significantly more harshly. But up until she broke and ran - well, okay, up until she handed over the out-of-date passport, which smells to high heaven - more lenient treatment was appropriate. We can argue about whether probation was enough, but I don't see it as inherently offensive. After all, if we are completely honest with ourselves, sh*t does happen and every one of us who drives has to say "there but for the grace of God go I."

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In the Economist I rec'd today, (Sep 3-9 issue) on page 32 this is a brief article about the state of bike commuting in the United States: "Calm Down: With a very few exceptions, America is no place for cyclists."

The article contrasts the differences in traffic calming between American cities and European ones. The article also mentions the indifference of police and prosecutors to bicycle accident victims.
You have to be careful here, too. Creating complete separation of cyclists and cars creates a mindset in some that cyclist can only be on completely separate paths. John Forester and the VC folks oversell this, but they do have a point. We want, and the law says we deserve, equal and safe access to the roads (with a few exceptions, like most freeways), not to be banned from them for our own "safety."

I am not against all separate bike paths (this is where I think some folks go overboard), but we have to be careful that we don't shoot ourselves in the proverbial foot.
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Old 09-03-11, 11:51 PM   #17
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You have to be careful here, too. Creating complete separation of cyclists and cars creates a mindset in some that cyclist can only be on completely separate paths. John Forester and the VC folks oversell this, but they do have a point. We want, and the law says we deserve, equal and safe access to the roads (with a few exceptions, like most freeways), not to be banned from them for our own "safety."

I am not against all separate bike paths (this is where I think some folks go overboard), but we have to be careful that we don't shoot ourselves in the proverbial foot.
Yep, good point. Some drivers already think that cyclists should ride in bike lanes no matter what, and shouldn't be on any roads without a bike lane. Having separate infrastructure is a double edge sword. It gives drivers more arguments that cyclists should always use them (even thought they are poorly maintained, and designed), and it introduces a separate argument "Why should I pay for it, those cyclists should pay for it".
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Old 09-04-11, 12:16 AM   #18
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I was aware the Economist article wasn't completely germane to the thread; it pertains to commuters, but I posted it because of the Economist's opinion that police are indifferent to cyclists--which I believe can certainly be true.

I agree that there can be mitigating circumstances to accidents, however, hitting a bicyclist from behind does look bad; I'd like to know more details of the incident however.

Personally I'm always on the lookout for cyclists when driving, I even check my passenger side mirror before turning right. If I pass a cyclist, I always consider the possibility that he/she may catch up with me.
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Old 09-04-11, 11:39 AM   #19
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http://bikesiliconvalley.org/news/20...committee-vote
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Old 09-04-11, 11:48 AM   #20
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The California 3-foot passing law should be voted on by the full state assembly this week. If you care about this issue one way or the other, now would be a good time to let your assembly member know.
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Old 09-04-11, 02:28 PM   #21
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A lobbyist for the Teamsters expressed their opposition by denouncing scofflaw bicyclists and predicting dire consequences for traffic and safety if the bill were enacted. “This bill is vetobait!” he shouted before storming out of the hearing room, indicating the Teamsters plan to lean on Gov. Edmund G. Brown to veto the law if it’s passed.
and he will bow in.
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Old 09-04-11, 07:50 PM   #22
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...Of course, in this case, Driver A did turn Driver B. albeit after the fact. Now she deserves to be treated significantly more harshly. But up until she broke and ran - well, okay, up until she handed over the out-of-date passport, which smells to high heaven - more lenient treatment was appropriate. We can argue about whether probation was enough, but I don't see it as inherently offensive. After all, if we are completely honest with ourselves, sh*t does happen and every one of us who drives has to say "there but for the grace of God go I." ...
Those of us of a certain age remember when this was a common defense for repeat drunk drivers as well as for keeping the penalties for drunk driving very small. I think history teaches us that if we increase the penalties we can de-normalize certain sociopathic behaviors behind the wheel. While we haven't ended drunk driving yet, the number of drunk drivers continues to decline and the social acceptance of driving drunk has all but disappeared from civil society.

I would like to see us move in that direction as regards aggressive (and deadly) behavior directed towards all vulnerable road users. This is the key difference between western Europe and the U.S. They assume a motorist who strikes a vulnerable user was in the fault; we assume the vulnerable user shouldn't have been there. The result is they don't speed around blind curves on narrow roads and find themselves surprised by a legitimate road user. "Stuff" doesn't just "happen". It takes the kind of reckless disregard for others that is commonplace among motorists to make it happen. That can be changed by appropriately severe penalties.
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Old 09-04-11, 08:36 PM   #23
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Over 50,000 motor vehicle operators and/or passengers die every year on the roadways, just in the US. Our highways are dangerous for all users, not just cyclists. Cyclists, much like motorcyclists (been one of those for decades) do the victim role routinely, forgetting they are not the only ones dying out there.

May the husband RIP and I hope the wife can find a way to move on and not spend her days obsessed with revenge. Her kid/s need a mom, not a vigilante.
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Old 09-05-11, 10:16 AM   #24
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Excellent point B. Carfree: "This is the key difference between western Europe and the U.S. They assume a motorist who strikes a vulnerable user was in the fault; we assume the vulnerable user shouldn't have been there."Just look at the reader comments to the Mercury article posted above to bear out the truth of this.
There is a lot of sociopathic behavior that is normalized, such as driving too fast on mountain roads which bicyclists like to frequent. I wonder how much of that is ingrained as "manly" behavior by the incessant [closed road-professional driver] car commercials people see on sports and news shows. What should be normalized in people's minds is that if a road looks good to bike on, you should expect to see bicycles and drive accordingly. Seeing a bicycle shouldn't be a "WHOA, WHAT THE ..." moment for any driver.
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Old 09-05-11, 12:42 PM   #25
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. . . .

I would like to see us move in that direction as regards aggressive (and deadly) behavior directed towards all vulnerable road users. This is the key difference between western Europe and the U.S. They assume a motorist who strikes a vulnerable user was in the fault; we assume the vulnerable user shouldn't have been there. The result is they don't speed around blind curves on narrow roads and find themselves surprised by a legitimate road user. "Stuff" doesn't just "happen". It takes the kind of reckless disregard for others that is commonplace among motorists to make it happen. That can be changed by appropriately severe penalties.
A lot of unspoken assumptions here, at least some of which are incorrect. The fact that a car hits a cyclist does not, in and of itself, make the driver a sociopath. And yes, like it or not, "stuff" does indeed happen. You drive out the shadows into bright sunlight and don't see the cyclist or pedestrian who is in the wrong place and the wrong time. Nothng sociopathic there. And everyone who has ever driven a car has had something happen to distract them for that split-second necessary for disaster to strike. Most of us are fortunate most of the time, and nothing comes of it. But sometimes it leads to a serious or fatal accident. Nothing sociopathic there, either.

And it isn't at all clear that the woman driver in the incident RedRider pointed out did anything "sociopathic." She hit and killed a cyclist - an awful thing by any measure, and one in which she surely is culpable. That does not mean that she did anything so heinous as you want to believe. We weren't there, and there is no reliable evidence to that she was drunk, high, texting, driving particularly aggressively. Indeed, there is nothing to suggest that she was anything worse than inattentive - bad enough, and I am not saying that that makes everything alright: it doesn't, but it does make a difference in assigning the appropriate level of crimnal punishment. (Again, by turning in an out-of-date passport and fleeing to China, she changed the entire picture, and the level of wrongdoing went up by several orders of magnitude. When she did that, she took herself out of any consideration under my position - I hope she like orange jumpsuits. I'll keep going in the analysis assuming for the sake of argument that she had actually done the right thing by facing the music to make my point.)

That does not mean she does not have to take responsibility for her mistake, criminally and civilly. And I stand by my original argument - if you make that kind of situation and make it hanging offense, you are actively encouraging anyone who hits a cyclist to drive away and leave the cyclist to fend for him- or herself. And more cyclists will die in that situation.

Now I agree with all you said about drinking and driving, and I'd extend it to driving while under the influence of any mind-altering substance or while texting. I also agree that the legal system should deal more harshly with road rage/intimidation types of car-bike encounters. Ditto such accidents caused by unsafe speed, unsafe passing, crowding, throwing things, crossing center lines to play "chicken," and other measurable "aggressive" driving habits. Encouraging better driving (and better, more predictable cycling) is a good thing. But I don't think we want to encouraging people on the moral margins to take the "hit and run" way out in the process.
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