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  1. #1
    galfromdownunder galfromdownunda's Avatar
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    There have been too many cyclists wiped out by cars. It's to many cars, going too fast. In some cases, cyclists need to slow down too. Please be careful. One of the best people in cycling was recently killed. I salute him here (not sure if I got this HTML thing right - it's a bit confusing):

    http://www.bikefriday.com/bf/billbliss

  2. #2
    spinergy rocks pooksypickles's Avatar
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    That was a very important thread to read..Thanks for the info about riding cautious, there are so many casualties in riding on the road. i take my helmet off too for someone to ride 250,000 miles,,,hes a pioneer!!

  3. #3
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    A great loss. I hope it reminds all of us of the potential dangers of our chosen sport.

    Several years ago when I was a member of the city of Toronto Cycling Committee, we received a report concerning car/bicycle collisions. I am not prepared to quote it chapter and verse without looking at it, but I recall that it did impart some valuable information.

    Not suprisingly, it is more likely there will be a death when there is a great difference between the speed of the cyclist and the speed of the traffic. Sounds like you should avoid travelling on highways when possible.

    Another leading cause of bike deaths was when cyclist came out into traffic from sidewalks or sidestreets. I use that information to convince people not to ride on sidewalks.

    I know what I do is dangerous. I try to mitigate the hazards as much as possible. I teach classes on sharing the road with cyclists. I wear bright colours, I am a defensive driver.

    I love what I do too much to stop. Often my family is concerned about my touring trips. I try to do as much as possible to let them know that everything we do has its' risks.

  4. #4
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    http://www.canoncitydailyrecord.com/...ory.asp?ID=611


    off duty cop rear ended him on what appears to be a straight section of road.

    (look at it on mapquest).

  5. #5
    Macro Geek
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    The coroner reported that:

    “He was traveling in the middle of the lane and a vehicle behind him just didn’t see him at all and struck him at about 60 miles per hour.”

    It is hard to imagine that the driver failed to spot Bliss. Perhaps the driver was not paying attention. During a two-second distraction, a car going 60 miles per hour travels 176 feet (about 58 metres). Even on a straight road, that's a long distance to be driving blind.

    On the other hand, the middle of a highway lane is not a safe place to ride a bike. I used to insist on taking up my rightful space on the road, but I do not do this as much anymore. I stay as close to the shoulder and as far from traffic as possible, even if this means driving onto a gravel shoulder and stopping when cars zoom by. Cars are bigger, faster, heavier and more deadly than bicycles. When a car and a bicycle collide at high speed, the bicycle -- and the cyclist -- has much more to lose.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TrevorInSoCal's Avatar
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    I just found out about this today, and I'm still in shock. I don't usually read the touring forum, but figured that someone on bikeforums had to have known Bill, and I just came across this thread.

    I didn't know Bill as well as many, but I had the opportunity to tour with him as part of the Adventure Cycling tour group on the Great Divide in '03. Bill was my cook-partner for the first part of the trip, until he had a mishap in Wyoming that resulted in a busted shoulder (scapula or collarbone, I don't remember for sure) and a couple bruised/cracked ribs. No car involved in this one, it was a crash on dirt. He returned the following summer to complete the route with some other members of our group who had also dropped out for various reasons.

    Bill was the oldest member of our group, by quite a few years, at 67 and I don't recall hearing hiim complain once. Even on the tough days he maintained his subtle sense of humor. He'd roll into camp, maybe a couple hours behind the rest of the group, park his bike and say, "Take a rest bike."

    I'm not going to comment on the circumstances of the crash other than to say that there's no excuse for a driver striking a cyclist in broad daylight at 60 MPH regardless of the cyclists lane position. Given the fact that the driver was an off-duty cop, I have little faith that justice will be done in this case.

    He will be missed, even by those of us who barely got the chance to know him.

    -Trevor

  7. #7
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  8. #8
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    isn't it odd that the penalty for accidently killing someone is less than, say simple dui/dwi?

  9. #9
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    It's also odd that the defense tried to depict Bliss as a half blind, doddering old guy on a severely inadequate bicycle, but they tried to get a mistrial when the prosecution asked the defendent how many speeding tickets he'd had.

    So it's ok to speculate as to a dead man's ability but not ok to ask for the facts of the history of the person that killed him?

    Pretty wacky.

    Az

  10. #10
    Hooked on Touring
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    It's ALWAYS the cyclist's fault.

    And it's pretty easy to convince 12 overweight, sedentary people - who think that cycling long distance is a whisker's breadth from the looney bin - that the person cycling contributed to the accident. In such cases the cyclist is no longer around to offer his/her version of the events.

    Oh - - and I would hardly call this an accident. My brother uses the term "intentionality" - - a person who regularly speeds and drives recklessly - - one who may conflate his position with his person - - then you add a heaping helping of macho truck masculinity - - it's no accident.

    At the very least, Havens should be on administrative suspension - but he is not. That tells you how seriously the police department views this case.

    My condolences to the Bliss family. I admire their quiet resolve. I could not do so.

    J

  11. #11
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    The fact that the guy was a cop is frightening for a couple of reasons. He will just get his hands slapped as others have stated. But what is more frightenin is that he hit someone in the first place. This is supposed to be a trained driver. Some one with hundreds of miles on the road a month. Makes you shiver when you think of grandma driving to work on Sunday or Skippy out on his first date in daddy's car.

  12. #12
    Senior Member jcwitte's Avatar
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    It is always sad to read about someone's death, but to come out say that there was a degree of "intentionality" and therefore should be on par with a dui/dwi is ridiculous.

    It was estimated that the guy was going 77mph (likely less) and "Havens probably came around the curve at high speeds, saw Bliss, had about 1.5 seconds reaction time, struck Bliss and applied the brakes." This was an accident and some of you guys want to tar, feather, and lynch the guy. 77mph (it was argued that it was probably less) on a country highway is hardly an indicator of "macho truck masculinity".

    I've always been told that when riding my bike in the street, that I should ride predictably. I hate to point this out, but if Bill was blind in his left eye, then it is quite possible that this forced him to ride in an unpredictable manner (on the right side of the lane as opposed to the left) in order to be able to turn his head to see cars approaching from behind.

    It's not ALWAYS the cyclist's fault, but neither is it ALWAYS the driver's fault. SOMETIMES it is a legitimate accident.

  13. #13
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    From the Article:

    >>>>Defense attorney Cindy Montgomery called Bliss’ safety into question during cross-examination. She said Bliss’ bike and physical condition contributed to the accident.

    Testimony indicated the bike was loaded down with equipment and had perhaps been engineered to carry excess cargo. The bike was described by Godfrey as having smaller than average wheels and a rack carry-ing a tent, tools, sleeping bag and other supplies.<<<<<<

    Can you belive that? The defense attorney contributed the Bike Friday's wheels and equiptment to have been the reason for the accident. Incredible.

    Get this. At the end of the article, it stated the guy might get jail time. What an injustice!

  14. #14
    Hooked on Touring
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    Let me make a point of clarification.
    The cyclists is *almost* always blamed in one way or another.

    I closely followed cases in Jackson, Wyo and Lawrence, Kans where cyclists were killed. Much was speculation, but the sad thing about speculation is that the person killed is not around to refute it while the person driving the vehicle is.

    Now, I don't know about your experience - but in about 100,000 miles commuting, weekend riding, and touring - I've had lots of thing tossed at me - not an outrageous amount - but dozens of times. And guess what? Always guys. There is a gendered connection about vehicles and men - it's called power - just look at the Chevy truck ads during the Super Bowl.

    When it comes to paying out damages, the insurance companies know that young men take far more risks while driving. Furthermore, persons with multiple speeding tickets are also considered high risk. Almost as high as DUI folks. Nothing - I repeat - nothing contributes more to accidents than speed. And men speed far more than women do.

    As for the term "intentionality" -
    Havens had multiple speeding tickets plus a careless and reckless conviction.
    Clearly, he did not "intend" to kill anyone, but - -
    If I drive on bald tires on an icy road and slide off - it is NOT an accident.
    Similarly, a person who repeatedly speeds on two-lane highways is an accident waiting to happen. A person in law enforcement of all people should know that.

  15. #15
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    From the Article:

    >>>>Defense attorney Cindy Montgomery called Bliss’ safety into question during cross-examination. She said Bliss’ bike and physical condition contributed to the accident.

    Testimony indicated the bike was loaded down with equipment and had perhaps been engineered to carry excess cargo. The bike was described by Godfrey as having smaller than average wheels and a rack carry-ing a tent, tools, sleeping bag and other supplies.<<<<<<

    Can you believe that? The defense attorney contributed the Bike Friday's wheels and equipment to have been the reason for the accident. Incredible.

    Get this. At the end of the article, it stated the guy might get jail time. What an injustice!
    Just what does that have to do with her idiot client running him down?? I don't care if he was carrying a refrigerator on his bike, there was no excuse for hitting him.

  16. #16
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani

    I closely followed cases in Jackson, Wyo and Lawrence, Kans where cyclists were killed. Much was speculation, but the sad thing about speculation is that the person killed is not around to refute it while the person driving the vehicle is.

    Maybe it is time that prosecutors get experienced witnesses to testify and put an end to such speculations.

  17. #17
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani
    Let me make a point of clarification.
    The cyclists is *almost* always blamed in one way or another.
    Yep. It's called "blaming the victim", the easy option because nobody needs to be convicted or punished. It happens all the time -- even in road "accidents" in which no cyclist was involved. It's a well known fact that if you're killed in one of these incidents, you're more likely to be blamed for it. I even had one police officer try to blame me for being punched in the face at a set of traffic lights.

    All you can really do is approach each situation with a prudent level of caution and hope it's enough. So far it has been in my riding, so I guess that's all I can hope for.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
    My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.

  18. #18
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    I side with the cyclist in this case. But I think they have taken this reasonably seriously. In most cases I am familiar with the cyclist gets blamed and the driver doesn't even get ticketed for stuff like T-boning the cyclist when pulling out of a sideroad, or doing a u-turn into the cyclist. I don't know what is the likely sentence for this kind of accident, but I guess we will find out how truly serious they are when the sentence is handed down.

    It doesn't mater whether Havens had previous speeding convictions, what maters is whether he was actually speeding. This appears to have been reasonably in doubt. Just about every driver speeds 12 times on his way to work every morning. 12 convictions is a lot, particularly for a cop! Cyclists are also serial rule breakers as the discussion of stuff like Vehicular Cycling makes clear. I think I covered about 500 miles helmetless in provinces with helmet laws in my recent trip, without knowing.

    There are stereotypes about cyclist, drivers, and apparently about men, and police. Very helpful.

    One thing I have observed about dangerous activities is that everyone gets clipped with enough exposure. 300 000 miles is a pretty good run. I don't think all of us need to be too concerned.

  19. #19
    Senior Member jcwitte's Avatar
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    I understand your point about truck masculinity and intentionality, but I still think that it is more likely a tragic accident that could just have easily happened regardless of who the driver was.

    In a letter from Bliss' wife, she said, "Bill had taken the lane intending to turn left into the roadside point of interest. He was still moving forward, his feet were both still in the toe clips. The road had a small lip before the gravel surface of the rest area started. I would guess his speed to be about 4-5 miles/hour."

    He was on the far left hand side of the road, blind in one eye, moving 4-5mph on a 65mph highway. Whenever I am on a highway traveling at speeds of at least 65mph, the last think I expect to see is a cyclist in the middle of the road. As a cyclist, I can't imagine trying to make a left hand turn on a 65mph road if I can see a car barreling towards me from behind. I'd much rather pull way over to the right and wait for the car to pass. That is why I suspect his eyesight may have been one of the factors which contributed to the accident. Obviously, other factors lie with the driver's carelessness.

    Ultimately, I think car drivers need to take more responsibility and understand that when they get behind the wheel of a car, they are operating a possible lethal weapon and need to behave accordingly. If someone gets more than one wreckless driving ticket or multiple speeding tickets in excess of 10mph over the limit, they need to have their license revoked and then be retrained. Happens again, revoked for five years, happens again, permanent.

    I also agree that it is common practice to blame the victim. A friend of mine died in a car accident and he was blamed. My Brother's Father in Law died in an accident and he was blamed.

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