Bike Forums

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

waterrockets 10-02-09 09:01 AM

Tandem Cyclists Killed in San Antonio
 
In case any of you knew them, I thought I'm come out of the racing forum and share the sad news:
http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/loc.../63116092.html

Red Rider 10-02-09 09:30 AM

How very sad. My thoughts are with the family.

antonyfhilliard 10-02-09 09:48 AM

Terrible to hear. The newspaper's sidebarred "bicycle safety tips" are particularly insensitive given the nature of the collision.

Stray8 10-02-09 10:16 AM

So sad an incident considering their past brush with death (also from an out of control driver)...


:(


We all should take a moment to appreciate how preciously fragile life can be.


.

garysol1 10-02-09 10:20 AM

And no charges to be filed......?

Stray8 10-02-09 10:24 AM

Article said no alcohol was involved.


.

Monoborracho 10-02-09 10:24 AM

And our good governor just vetoed a 3 foot passing bill this past summer, despite it having passed unanimously in the Tx House, and 26-5 in the Tx Senate.

http://governor.state.tx.us/news/veto/12636/

Sad indeed.

garysol1 10-02-09 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stray8 (Post 9785301)
Article said no alcohol was involved.


.


I would have thought involuntary manslaughter would apply but what do I know

Ritterview 10-02-09 10:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stray8 (Post 9785301)
Article said no alcohol was involved.

The driver lost control, so you'd think excessive speed would be involved. However fast he was going it was faster than he could safely handle.

TandemGeek 10-02-09 10:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Monoborracho (Post 9785302)
And our good governor just vetoed a 3 foot passing bill this past summer, despite it having passed unanimously in the Tx House, and 26-5 in the Tx Senate.

http://governor.state.tx.us/news/veto/12636/

Hard to know what the house members really thought, as it's amazing how many 'feel good' Bills are voted FOR when it's known the Bill will be DOA on a Governor's desk via the Veto pen. The specific reasoning for veto is interesting in light of the fact that while penalties exist in current laws that 'should' provide both accountability and act as a deterrent, motorists are rarely charged... as seems to be the preliminary indication in this second & third cyclist fatality within the past week as well as the single rider fatality also caused by a motorist drifting off the road near Fort Worth last Saturday.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Veto by Gov. Perry
While I am in favor of measures that make our roads safer for everyone, this bill contradicts much of the current statute and places the liability and responsibility on the operator of a motor vehicle when encountering one of these vulnerable road users. In addition, an operator of a motor vehicle is already subject to penalties when he or she is at fault for causing a collision or operating recklessly, whether it is against a “vulnerable user” or not.

Now, to be fair, I do tend to agree with the logic in the Veto. The real problem isn't having enough laws on the books, it's enforcement vis-a-vis local law enforcement writing citations and local prosecutors filing charges. Therefore, until such time as the law enforcement system is fixed, you can write all the laws you want but it will be for naught.

Quote:

Originally Posted by garysol1 (Post 9785342)
I would have thought involuntary manslaughter would apply but what do I know

Indeed. This is the hypocrisy surrounding 'accidents', where someone operating a motor vehicle kills through negligence -- and negligence is pretty self-evident when a collision occurs through no fault of the cyclist -- but it is treated in a completely different manner than when a person holding a gun accidentally kills someone.

Anyway, I had posted this tragic incident earlier on the A&S forum where, as usual, most comments are not constructive or informative. It is also making its way through Hobbes where my only contribution was as follows and bears consideration by readers here as well:

Quote:

Originally Posted by TandemGeek
I'll reserve my advocacy comments for the advocacy forums, but from a tandem-specific standpoint this IS perhaps one of the more significant risks that we face when we ride with a spouse: the injury, incapacitation or loss of both riders in a single event.

This is certainly not the first time a tandem team has been killed in a single collision; in fact, there are several that come to mind and they're all gut-wrenching as none of them were the fault of the riders. We also know of couples who have been hit where one or both riders were injured and unable to work. And, we've also been at events where couples have crashed due to cycling-related risks such as clipping a rear wheel with a front tire or not taking the appropriate precautions when crossing railroad tracks. In regard to the latter, both riders broke collar bones.

The point being, make sure you have the necessary insurance and have your affairs in order, especially if you have dependents at home -- old, young or otherwise. While we'd all like to think "it can't happen to us" or just don't even consider the risk, it exists and being unprepared can make a bad situation even worse.

Just something to consider.


Stray8 10-02-09 02:32 PM

A very good and valid point. For those of us who also ride with their spouses on motorcycles, this is already a self-evident concern. Sad that the situation is that it would also apply to riding tandem bikes.

.

waterrockets 10-02-09 08:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ritterview (Post 9785457)
The driver lost control, so you'd think excessive speed would be involved. However fast he was going it was faster than he could safely handle.

I can't remember if I read it in the txbra forum or another news story, but the truck was doing 70 in a 65. The driver had visited the shoulder before (according to witnesses). Right before the collision, he veered into oncoming traffic, over-reacted, and lost control, flying through the shoulder on the way to the ditch. It looks like he recovered enough to either keep it on the shoulder or drove back up there (dragging the tandem).

Just sucks all around.

John R 10-02-09 10:24 PM

I am so deeply disturbed about this. Every accident like this is a reminder that we Cyclist are in constant danger from bad drivers. Every time I head out on my bike I realize that my life could end at any time. My sorrows and thoughts go out to the family.

rdtompki 10-02-09 10:46 PM

The driver would have likewise probably killed a couple in an uncoming car or most certainly pedestrians. While the driver may not be guilty of a crime he/she has civil liability and has demonstrated that he/she should not be operating a motor vehicle for many years. This is not an "accident". An unforeseen mechanical failure is an accident. This is gross negligence.

TandemGeek 10-03-09 05:36 PM

Update to the original story: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/loc.../63353167.html

Quote:

A day after the Bexar County Sheriff's Office said charges would not likely be filed in a bicycle crash that killed the parents of a 7-year-old girl, it announced it would leave that decision up to the district attorney's office.

Deputy Ino Badillo, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office, said investigators plan to forward all findings of Thursday morning's accident to prosecutors to determine if the truck's driver, 40-year-old Gilbert John Sullaway Jr., would be charged with any wrongdoing.

Sullaway hasn't been charged with any crime, nor was he cited for any traffic violations.

On Thursday, Badillo said it appeared the collision that killed Gregory and Alexandra Bruehler was a tragic accident.
Aside from being glad to see the original mis-statement by Deputy Badillo has been corrected and that the case is being referred to the DA, this second article also contains some interesting comments from the DA as well as a local cycling advocate, background on previous collisions in local area where drivers were not cited, comments from a State Trooper that suggest there are laws on the books in Texas that can already be used when a motorist hits a cyclist, and some additional information about Gregory and Alexandra Bruehler.

As always, the reader comments are very revealing with regard to non-cyclist attitudes towards cyclists and the like.

yeamac 10-03-09 05:52 PM

No charges against the driver?!? I don't get it. Supposedly the 3-ft law was vetoed because we had existing laws on the books making the new law unnecessary. If 0 inches isn't covered under the current law, I think we need a new law here in TX.

zonatandem 10-03-09 06:40 PM

Amazing how we have cameras issuing tickets for various offences but someone that cannot control theitr motor vehicle and kills 2 people does not get charged . . .
Have tandemed in TX and have seen some weird stuff; folks in pickups zooming by us on the shoulder of the road at high speed.
Fortunately not all Texicans drive that way but the one's that do give a hell of a bad impression. Nice slogan they've got: "Texas Friendly".

TandemGeek 10-03-09 06:46 PM

If y'all read the second article you'll see that the Deputy / spokesman for the local Sheriff's office mis-spoke and the case has been referred to the DA who will ultimately determine if charges will be filed.

That charges have not yet been filed while an investigation is on-going is not necessarily a bad thing. However, that said, the past history of motorists / cyclists collisions just suggest the local authorities are not inclined to charge motorists. Again, two such accidents are mentioned in the second article that I just linked above.

More to follow, I'm sure. I suspect this case coming short on the heels of a second cyclist fatality under similar conditions near Fort Worth (driver veering out of traffic lane and hitting cyclist on the shoulder) will put the local authorities under a wary eye as to how they handle this case. Moreover, the on-going hearing regarding 'Distracted Motorists' will likely cause the media to look closely at these collisions. Well, at least we can hope they do.....

rbtandem 10-03-09 07:32 PM

I thought the basic law was that if you hit another vehicle from behind, its your fault. I believe that a bicycle is defined as a "vehicle" under most state vehicle codes. So, if the truck driver had killed someone in a "motor" vehicle, what charges would be filed ?

moonwalker 10-03-09 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zonatandem (Post 9792819)
Amazing how we have cameras issuing tickets for various offences but someone that cannot control theitr motor vehicle and kills 2 people does not get charged . . .
Have tandemed in TX and have seen some weird stuff; folks in pickups zooming by us on the shoulder of the road at high speed.
Fortunately not all Texicans drive that way but the one's that do give a hell of a bad impression. Nice slogan they've got: "Texas Friendly".

Let's not condemn an entire state over this terrible incident. I love it here in Texas and do take offense to a statement like that. I could say the same for every state we have tandemed in including Arizona.

Thoughts and prayers are with the family.

GingerSpice 10-04-09 03:53 AM

As a non-American, it blows my mind to read about vehicle-related deaths in which no charges are laid. It makes me incredibly sad to read about accidents such this one, but it is just as sad that the drivers of vehicles aren't required to pay attention to what's on the road.

In most of Europe there are blanket road safety laws that cover 'driving without due care and attention'. Drivers are expected to be alert and in control of their vehicles at all times, and any sort of collision is a fineable offense.

There are two interesting consequences of this:

1. If a driver is involved in an accident involving death and there is no other contravention of traffic law (e.g. speeding, drink driving, etc.) they are still held criminally responsible. There is an assumption that roads are dangerous places, and driving within the highway code isn't enough to protect you from accidents: one must also maintain constant vigilance, maintain control of their vehicle at all times, and adjust their driving to suit the road conditions. There is no such thing as an accident, there is always a cause. In a situations such as the one in this thread, the guy would be fined for not driving in such a way that he was able to maintain control of his vehicle. He should have been looking out for other users of the road, and when he saw the cyclists he should have modified his driving accordingly, and kept a safe distance behind them until he felt it was safe enough to overtake them. Whether or not he was driving 'erratically' wouldn't matter, he still wasn't driving responsibly.

2. You can be heavily fined (and possibly even receive a driving suspension or jail sentence) for single-vehicle accidents. So if you are driving at night and miss a corner, go off the road, wreck your car, but are otherwise fine, you are still in big doo-doo. The point is that you were driving recklessly, the fact that no one was hurt is irrelevant. A friend of mine had her driving license suspended for a month for sideswiping a concrete barrier on a highway, even though she wasn't injured, damage to her car was only moderate and no other drivers were involved.

I'd like to see American laws changed so that drivers aren't simply required to follow the technical aspects (e.g. don't drive over the speed limit, have a BAC of below a certain level, stay between the lines); they should also be required to survey the road for potential dangers and adjust their driving accordingly. The American legal system doesn't seem to take into account the fact that roads aren't simply pieces of tarmac with speed limits and painted lines, they are dynamic and dangerous environments, and people who use them should exercise 'due care and attention'.

My 2p.

Ginger

limeylew 10-04-09 06:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by garysol1 (Post 9785342)
I would have thought involuntary manslaughter would apply but what do I know

A local, Texas, lawyer pointed out recently, in reference to a case in which a 20 year old female had killed a cyclist who was riding on the shoulder, that:-

"Involuntary manslaughter no longer exists it was replaced by intoxication
manslaughter and there is still reckless manslaughter."

tandemania2 10-04-09 07:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Monoborracho (Post 9785302)
And our good governor just vetoed a 3 foot passing bill this past summer, despite it having passed unanimously in the Tx House, and 26-5 in the Tx Senate.

http://governor.state.tx.us/news/veto/12636/

Sad indeed.

Unbelievable, isn't it?

TandemGeek 10-04-09 08:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tandemania2 (Post 9794605)
Unbelievable, isn't it?

This is bordering on A&S column material, but let me ask a rhetorical question:

If you already have laws on the books in Texas that allow authorities to cite motorists who hit cyclists (see comments in recent update from a Texas State Trooper) that aren't being acknowledged by authorities under the premise that "I didn't see him", "he swerved right in front of me" or "it was just an accident" how does the 3' rule law change how authorities think and act when a motorist hits a cyclist?

In other words, why would the law enforcement authorities in Texas who don't apply current laws make a point of pulling over motorists and citing them for passing too close to a cyclist, pedestrian, highway worker, etc. even when they did hit them?

As GingerSpice notes, the entire US approach to motor vehicle licensing, policing and application of penalties is abysmal. Good grief, until MADD came along most motorists walked even when the killed someone while driving DUI. It's not all that much better today in terms of how many times a person can be stopped for DUI before they have driving restrictions applied and MADD has been lobbying officials since May of 1980... 28 years just to get laws where they are today.

GingerSpice 10-04-09 10:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TandemGeek (Post 9794847)
laws on the books in Texas ... aren't being acknowledged by authorities under the premise that "I didn't see him"...

This is the bit that I totally don't get. Isn't one obligated to be vigilant whilst driving? In my books, "I didn't see him" is an invalid excuse for any road accident: if anything, it confirms that the fault is yours due to inattention. Pretty much every near miss I've had on a bike was due to someone not giving a second glance before merging into traffic/exiting a roundabout/etc., and I've been only been saved by the good grace of my brakes and own personal attention. They may not have seen me, but I was by no means invisible.

I agree that a driver who collides with a rider or pedestrian who is wearing black in the deep of night might be able to genuinely use "I didn't see him" as an excuse, but for any other situation this simply doesn't fly. Surely one must be on the lookout for other cars/cyclists/pedestrians/animals/obstacles at all times? I don't even mean this from a legal standpoint, I mean from a safety standpoint. The whole "didn't see" line of excuses implies one wasn't looking in the first place, and should in fact read as "I wasn't looking". Or am I missing something?


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:23 AM.