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-   -   Tandem Cyclists Killed in San Antonio (http://www.bikeforums.net/tandem-cycling/590538-tandem-cyclists-killed-san-antonio.html)

TandemGeek 10-04-09 11:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GingerSpice (Post 9795520)
This is the bit that I totally don't get.

Welcome to the world of the US pedestrian, cyclist, and motorcyclist... Frankly, many of us don't get it either, hence the angst that you often 'hear' in the writings that follow a serious or fatal collision between a motorist and cyclist.

rdtompki 10-04-09 11:51 AM

My wife and I live outside a small town in an ag area and often ride on roads with little or no shoulder. The reason I spent the ridiculous $'s for a Dinotte taillight is that I want these inattentive drivers to see us from 1/2 mile in broad daylight; no accounting for blind curves of course. Maybe part of every driving course should be a 5 mile bicycle ride on one such narrow road?

andydreisch 10-04-09 05:40 PM

rdtompki, I agree about the value of lights. Wherever I go, night or day, I have about 2 million lumens of light energy radiating from the front and rear of my tandem or my single. This, in addition to gawky yellow jackets. Anything ... anything at all to make an impression on SMS-obsessed drivers before they bury their heads into yet another VITM (Very Important Text Message).

While in no way indicative of this terrible case, I have seen far too many cyclists in my area, riding in tree-covered locations, with dark clothing and no lights whatsoever. There is no way to make them out--even in broad daylight.

zonatandem 10-04-09 05:43 PM

Moonwalker:
"Fortunately not all Texicans drive that way" does not condemn the whole state of TX.
In Arizona we also have our share of issues; been hit on my single by a drunken pickup driver (who had his license suspended for 90 days); hit by a senior citizen (our age . . . in his 70s) that had a restricted driver's license and struck us from behind on our tandem at +/- 45 mph on a quiet frontage road (we we're wearing bright orange jerseys) and claimed 'didn't see you' . . . had his license revoked.
Been punched in the kidney by a motorcyclist while on my single bike in Michigan; plus at least another half-dozen incidents in various places throughout our nearly 35 years of cycling TWOgether.
'Justice' quite often goes to the folks with the best attorney$, regardless of what the laws state.

moonwalker 10-04-09 08:23 PM

It's Cool! There are bad drivers everywhere in every state. It is just sad that these recent incidents ( I cannot call them accidents) have drawn negative attention to our state. This made my wife and I discuss purchasing more life insurance this morning. It could happen to any of us at anytime.

I am self employeed and spend much time behind the wheel and it is terrifying what I see other drivers doing while trying to operate a vehicle. Texting has got to be one of the worst. Just cannot do that and drive.

Having 2 daughters (even though they are older teenagers), my heart goes out to that 7 year old little girl.

zonatandem 10-04-09 11:20 PM

Have done several Southwest Tandem Rallies in TX (as far back as 1994) and always had a great time and enjoyed TX hospitality and some unique eating . . . not just great BBQ, but also kolaches (a Czech pastry) at the SWTR in LaGrange a few years back.
Agree, we have to be super vigilant while cycling . . . pretend we are invisible even when wearing those garish jerseys.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

mtnbke 10-06-09 10:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zonatandem (Post 9799248)
Have done several Southwest Tandem Rallies in TX (as far back as 1994) and always had a great time and enjoyed TX hospitality and some unique eating . . . not just great BBQ, but also kolaches (a Czech pastry) at the SWTR in LaGrange a few years back.
Agree, we have to be super vigilant while cycling . . . pretend we are invisible even when wearing those garish jerseys.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

Its Texas, what do you expect?

Mark my words. The 'investigation' will be superficial at best.

The driver's cell phone records will not be subpoenaed, even though clearly this looks like an issue of text messaging while driving.

If you're interested the DA's name is Susan Reed and the number there is (210) 335-2311. The couple that were killed were named Gregory and Alexandra Bruehler. They left behind a seven year old daughter.

TandemGeek 10-07-09 06:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mtnbke (Post 9811837)
...even though clearly this looks like an issue of text messaging while driving.

How did you arrive at that conclusion? Seriously?

I only ask because these incidents always seem to precipitate statements that reveal individual biases where 'gut instinct' guides statements rather than facts.

The local Sheriff's office certainly showed its cards to the extent the local DA and other state authorities have had to go in, do damage control and assume the lead in the investigation.

What's in my gut? I've read nothing that suggests it was anything other than driver inattention in it's most basic form: day dreaming or taking eyes off the road to look at something in the distance, only to find that you've drifted out of your lane. Unfortunately, fate dealt all involved an evil twist by putting what was probably the only bicycle within miles on the shoulder of the road just ahead of where the motorist drifted off the road while travelling 70 mph. Things happen fast at 70 mph and I can only imagine that when he realized he was off the road and looked back to see where he was going clear in his sights was a bicycle instead of an open road. Sadly, unless someone knows not to look where you don't want to go, you tend to hit things that you really want to avoid. I suspect this is what a competent investigation may reveal.

Now, as to whether or not he was under medication, tired, stressed.... who knows? Only the toxicology from a blood test will determine that, assuming a blood sample was taken per normal accident protocol when a fatality has occurred. Checking cell phone records is also SOP. But, frankly, it doesn't really matter... and it shouldn't matter. Road users have a responsibility to focus their full attention on the act of driving (period). If they fail to maintain control of their vehicle or fail to take reasonable actions when presented with a hazard or hazardous conditions, they have by definition "failed" to act responsibly as a road user. Everything else is an excuse and short of valid contributing factors that were outside of the road user's control, they should be held accountable for their actions. It's nothing personal, nor should it be. It doesn't say that they're a bad person either.

Of course, to appeal to emotions it's always best to focus on those 'soft' issues and the belief that "they'll have to live with that the rest of their lives". That's interesting, but it misses the point of why we have laws and why law enforcement is suppose to ensure they are enforced on a consistent and equal basis: because if you don't they lose their deterrent effect. Clearly, there are a lot of motorists who don't even consider the possibility that they are breaking laws as they drive while engaged in any one or even multiple activities that have nothing to do with driving: day dreaming, admonishing children or making a sales pitch to passengers, looking for a CD or adjusting the radio, programming or playing with their GPS and on-board computers, making phone calls, texting, eating lunch, changing the DVD, applying make-up, reading a book, flossing their teeth, playing grab-axx with a passenger, searching for something in the back seat, and on, and on, and on.... It's amazing what you see when you look down into cars from a vantage point in a larger truck on while sitting on a motorcycle.

However, unless motorists see other motorists facing stiff fines or having their driving privileges suspended when they fail to maintain control of their vehicle -- regardless of whether or not anyone is injured or killed as a result of that -- these behaviors and attitudes about the cause an effect of "accidents" will not change. That's the root of the problem. Cyclists who are hit are just another symptom and, frankly, cyclists aren't infalible either. It's just gut wrenching when you have a couple who from all indications were doing everything right occupying the same space on the road when a motorist failed to take care of Job #1 when driving: do no harm.

Closing thought: I would love to see a series of PSAs where a driver says goodbye to their family at some type of event before heading off on a trip in their car and then has a series of close-calls while driving. However, in each incident the startled cyclists on bikes that look back are members his or her family, which would be the same for the passengers of other cars, pedestrians and everyone else who his various inattentive activities put in peril. A tag line such as "Drive as though your family's lives depends on it" would drive home the message.

thebulls 10-07-09 10:52 AM

Bottom line: The motorist failed to control his vehicle (he ran off the road) and struck another vehicle from behind. This in itself is prima facie evidence that he is responsible for negligently killing two law-abiding people and should therefore face legal penalties. His only possible defence is that something to do with his vehicle caused the accident (e.g. a tire blowout of a tire that had been properly taken care of).

This is no different than if he swung a shotgun around in a bar and discharged it without looking. No different.

Because the moral to be drawn from this story if no penalties are applied is that if you want to murder someone in Texas, do it with your car.

Stray8 10-07-09 12:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TandemGeek (Post 9812668)
I would love to see a series of PSAs where a driver says goodbye to their family at some type of event before heading off on a trip in their car and then has a series of close-calls while driving. However, in each incident the startled cyclists on bikes that look back are members his or her family, which would be the same for the passengers of other cars, pedestrians and everyone else who his various inattentive activities put in peril. A tag line such as "Drive as though your family's lives depends on it" would drive home the message.

Hey! That's actually a really great attention-getting idea concept for a PSA! I know that it would certainly get my attention and likely get most people who see it to reflect on their driving responsibilities for at least a few moments and possibly enough to save a few lives. Another more brute force method is to simply show a montage of those killed by inattentive drivers listing date of death...kind of like those anti-smoking PSAs. Maybe we can have someone in advertising pitch this as pro-bono work or else have it sponsored by a driving/cyling safety advocacy organization?


.

idcruiserman 10-07-09 04:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mtnbke (Post 9811837)
The couple that were killed were named Gregory and Alexandra Bruehler. They left behind a seven year old daughter.

:(

Stray8 10-08-09 09:41 AM

Here are some traffic safety PSA sites:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/look/html/home/home.shtml

http://www.nationalroadsafety.org/page.php?id=18

http://www.nysgtsc.state.ny.us/bike-ndx.htm

http://www.txdot.gov/safety/psas.htm

moonwalker 10-08-09 03:05 PM

Closing thought: I would love to see a series of PSAs where a driver says goodbye to their family at some type of event before heading off on a trip in their car and then has a series of close-calls while driving. However, in each incident the startled cyclists on bikes that look back are members his or her family, which would be the same for the passengers of other cars, pedestrians and everyone else who his various inattentive activities put in peril. A tag line such as "Drive as though your family's lives depends on it" would drive home the message.

That would be a fantastic PSA. I could visiualize it while reading it. Wish Lance would read this, and with all his "contacts" get this done here in Texas.

masiman 10-08-09 06:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by moonwalker (Post 9822798)
Closing thought: I would love to see a series of PSAs where a driver says goodbye to their family at some type of event before heading off on a trip in their car and then has a series of close-calls while driving. However, in each incident the startled cyclists on bikes that look back are members his or her family, which would be the same for the passengers of other cars, pedestrians and everyone else who his various inattentive activities put in peril. A tag line such as "Drive as though your family's lives depends on it" would drive home the message.

That would be a fantastic PSA. I could visiualize it while reading it. Wish Lance would read this, and with all his "contacts" get this done here in Texas.

Even throw in a before home movie shot of the Bruehler's daughter at the start and an after shot at the funeral or something to show the loss. I think adding the real life to the attempts to connect or personalize what can happen would be effective if it could be packaged well, simply, and briefly.

Ritterview 10-09-09 12:00 AM

From Tucson Lawyer:

http://www.tucsonbikelawyer.com/wp-c...9/10/kylie.jpg
Quote:

Folks, that is a photograph of seven year old Kylie Bruehler. She is at a funeral service to bury her parents, both of whom were killed last week when a driver veered onto the shoulder and drove his pickup truck into them.
Too sad for words is what that picture represents.

moonwalker 10-09-09 07:51 AM

That picture says it all. Absolutely heartbreaking. If needed I would adopt that little girl into our family in a heartbeat. This is such a sad story. May God Bless her and comfort her through this difficult ordeal.

alwaysbikn 10-09-09 03:33 PM

Some pictures speak a thousand words.....this one leaves me speechless

88txaggie 10-09-09 07:38 PM

I was one of the cyclists at the memorial. There are no words. Kylie's grandfather shook every single cyclist's hand. Here is a pic of the crash site:

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a2...ccident008.jpg

Chris_W 10-10-09 12:28 AM

This is terrible. Here's a link to a TV news item covering the memorial ride and service.

andydreisch 10-10-09 09:02 AM

That poor little girl. This really strikes a nerve.

cornucopia72 10-10-09 09:11 AM

For 2008, MADD reports that 11,773 people died in drunk driving crashes:
http://www.madd.org/about-us/about-us/statistics.aspx

Distracted driving with 5,800 fatalities is also a big problem:
http://www.reuters.com/article/domes...58T3E020090930

Maybe MADD could pick up the campaing "Mothers Against Dristracted Driving"

HowellGC 10-12-09 12:57 PM

Very Sad
 
What a moving picture. Definitely brings up a thousand words and emotions. So very sad. Poor young girl.

I printed out this picture, not sure why.....perhaps a reminder of how 'all' can come to an end.

rishardh 10-12-09 01:34 PM

Very very sad news. My heart goes out to the girl and the couple's friends and family.

The number of cyclist around where I live in North Texas has grown significantly over the past few years. I guess it's the same in other parts as well. Same roads but increased cyclist and motorist is a recipe for disaster. We have now quit riding in certain roads where the traffic has increased. Do whatever it takes to make it safe.

merlinextraligh 10-12-09 01:36 PM

That is an incredibly well done photograph.

Sometimes photographs become icons, crystalize sentiment, and have the power to change things (think of the photo of The Vietnamese child running being burned by Napalm.)

Perhaps that photograph could be used by Bicycle ardvocates to really drive home a message about safe driving.


And for my effort tilting at Windmills, I sent the following message to the Office of the Governor of Texas:

Greg and Alexandra Breuhler were recently killed when a truck driven by an inattentive driver struck their tandem bicycle. Attached is a link to a photograph of Greg and Alexandra's 7 year old daughter taken at their funeral.

Bicycling is a healthy and constructive means of transportation and recreation. Bicycling reduces our need for fossil fuels, pollution, CO2 emmissions, and improves public health by reducing the ills of sedentary lifestyles

However, Bicycling is becoming increasingly more dangerous with congestion, inattentive drivers, cell phones, and text messaging.

The message sent to motorists by the passage of a 3 foot passing zone law, and an education campaign communicating that law would help to reduce those dangers.

I would therefore urge you to reconsider your position on the 3 foot law, and request the legislature to again present the Bill to you for signature, and sign the Bill into law.



You can go to the Website and send Governor Perry a message.
http://governor.state.tx.us/contact/

mtnbke 10-13-09 04:40 AM

Considering that her folks were on a tandem I think someone organized should set up a legal educational trust and those of us in the tandem community should contribute something for her future.


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