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Discussion with my wife regarding a local crash

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Discussion with my wife regarding a local crash

Old 07-13-22, 12:45 PM
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aley
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Discussion with my wife regarding a local crash

A car hit two bicyclists in Albuquerque last weekend: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/...031200492.html. According to the article, the driver struck the two cyclists who were in the bike lane, tossing one of them into the air over the car, then paused briefly before fleeing the scene. An officer stopped the car about three miles north after noticing the smashed windshield, which the driver claimed had been damaged by a rock. She was arrested and found to be above the limit for presumed intoxication.


My wife learned yesterday that the accused driver is the daughter of one of her friends, and that led to an interesting discussion this morning between my wife and me. Apparently her friend's daughter has never been in any kind of serious trouble before and has just gone through a rough divorce in which she's lost custody of her ten-year-old son. My wife was upset that the news stations had shown pictures of the woman's mug shot. She said, "Can't they save that for murderers and *******, instead of someone who just made a mistake?"


I asked her how she'd feel if the drunk driver were not the daughter of a friend, but if instead I were the cyclist left bleeding on the side of the road with a life-threatening head injury from which I might never recover. I pointed out that driving drunk is more than a "mistake," and that driving drunk, running over two people, fleeing the scene, and lying about it when caught by the police is a whole lot more than just a "mistake." That changed her view a bit - I know she worries about me when I'm on my bicycle or my motorcycle, and it got her thinking about the effect that the crash has had and will continue to have on the victims and their families.


What's interesting to me is how easily people can sympathize with the wrongdoer in a case like this. My wife is well aware of, and concerned about, the risk that bicyclists take on when they go for a ride, yet the personal connection she has with the driver was enough to immediately move her sympathy to this woman instead of the victims of the crash. I know how common it is for other drivers to make comments like, "Well, he shouldn't have been riding a bike on that road," because it's easier to sympathize with drivers (a group to which most people belong) than with cyclists (a group that most people aren't part of). Still, it's a little startling to hear my wife be the one saying, "But she just made a little mistake!"

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Old 07-13-22, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by aley View Post
A car hit two bicyclists in Albuquerque last weekend: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/...031200492.html. According to the article, the driver struck the two cyclists who were in the bike lane, tossing one of them into the air over the car, then paused briefly before fleeing the scene. An officer stopped the car about three miles north after noticing the smashed windshield, which the driver claimed had been damaged by a rock. She was arrested and found to be above the limit for presumed intoxication.


My wife learned yesterday that the accused driver is the daughter of one of her friends, and that led to an interesting discussion this morning between my wife and me. Apparently her friend's daughter has never been in any kind of serious trouble before and has just gone through a rough divorce in which she's lost custody of her ten-year-old son. My wife was upset that the news stations had shown pictures of the woman's mug shot. She said, "Can't they save that for murderers and *******, instead of someone who just made a mistake?"


I asked her how she'd feel if the drunk driver were not the daughter of a friend, but if instead I were the cyclist left bleeding on the side of the road with a life-threatening head injury from which I might never recover. I pointed out that driving drunk is more than a "mistake," and that driving drunk, running over two people, fleeing the scene, and lying about it when caught by the police is a whole lot more than just a "mistake." That changed her view a bit - I know she worries about me when I'm on my bicycle or my motorcycle, and it got her thinking about the effect that the crash has had and will continue to have on the victims and their families.


What's interesting to me is how easily people can sympathize with the wrongdoer in a case like this. My wife is well aware of, and concerned about, the risk that bicyclists take on when they go for a ride, yet the personal connection she has with the driver was enough to immediately move her sympathy to this woman instead of the victims of the crash. I know how common it is for other drivers to make comments like, "Well, he shouldn't have been riding a bike on that road," because it's easier to sympathize with drivers (a group to which most people belong) than with cyclists (a group that most people aren't part of). Still, it's a little startling to hear my wife be the one saying, "But she just made a little mistake!"
that is where I'd assemble my thoughts on, no matter whom it is.

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Old 07-14-22, 07:20 AM
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Personal attachment can cloud rational thought. I have known a few people who have "stuck up" for their friends when behavior was objectively wrong.

Wonder if part of the explanation is conflict avoidance. Imagine if your wife had the same reaction/feelings as you. Things could get pretty awkward the next time she saw the friend/mother. "Can you believe how they are going after my baby?!?! And they plastered her face all over the news!" How is your wife supposed to respond?
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Old 07-14-22, 07:37 AM
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The comparison that cyclists know the risks and that the driver made a mistake is another example of how bad driving is considered to be an acceptable norm.

If the driver hadn't been intoxicated, I would have expected the she would have been released with only a fine at the most.
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Old 07-14-22, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
The comparison that cyclists know the risks and that the driver made a mistake is another example of how bad driving is considered to be an acceptable norm.

If the driver hadn't been intoxicated, I would have expected the she would have been released with only a fine at the most.
A couple of decades ago, a relative was struck by a vehicle while they were riding there bicycle. The operator of the non commercial vehicle had no insurance & no registration. Since they stopped & waited for the police, that driver received citations for not having valid proof, & something for hitting the ped. They still were able to drive off into the sunset. The relative had to pay for anything that the medical insurance would not cover as a result from the crash & had to go after the driver for financial compensation.... When someone has no assets (on paper) nor income (provable) , winning the case means nothing.
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Old 07-14-22, 09:31 AM
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Knowing the offender really changes how you view the crime, even if you don't want it to. A high school classmate of mine (she was on my quiz bowl team, had a bit of a crush on her way back then) grew up and, years later, was DUI and hit and killed a cyclist a number of years ago (she's out now after serving an ~10 year sentence). I remember the first time I heard about it was after her sentencing and I noticed myself thinking something like, "wow, she really ****ed her life up with that one mistake" before I had to check myself and realize that was not the way I'd been thinking about someone I didn't know a few days earlier who I'd read about that had killed a cyclist while DUI or the teen who was texting who hit a whole family of Amish folks near where I grew up, killing several of them.

Someone I didn't know was the driver and I put myself in the shoes of the victim/their family because, as a cyclist, that's who I related with. Someone I did know, and it was harder to see past them to the victim.

Similarly, I had a relative who spent in prison for financial crimes and I always thought about the financial situation they'd been in and trying not to lose the family home/feed their kids vs. how I tend to think about "that dirty embezzler ripping off people from their hard earned money" when I read about someone I don't know doing similar things in the news. Not to say that your wife's friend's daughter wasn't terribly in the wrong, but it's just a lot easier to think about context and justification when it's someone you know.
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Old 07-14-22, 11:16 AM
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I will certainly be sympathetic to the poor parents who have to visit the daughter in jail where she belongs.
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Old 07-14-22, 11:55 AM
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bicyclists are slightly beneath dogs on the average driver awareness scale ....................................................... vaya con mucho dios
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Old 07-14-22, 12:42 PM
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I was discussing motorists striking cyclists with my wife and my teen son who is about to start driving. I've taken my sons (the other is a year away from driving) cycle touring in both rural and urban areas, mostly to enjoy it, but also with a mind to impart empathy toward cyclists. In our discussion, I mentioned the utter contempt that I've witnessed from some motorists toward cyclists, especially on the internet where semi-anonymity and lax accountability often results in unfiltered expression. While my wife didn't express contempt for cyclists that "get in her way," she did say she wished they didn't ride there because they make it hard for her. That cyclists or anyone else on the road make it harder, however much or little, for motorists is probably objective fact if the motorist is willing to give regard to the cyclist, pedestrian or other motorist. Yes, additional effort is demanded from the motorist to exercise due care. Wishing others weren't there is selfish, that is, a regard for one's own interest rather than having consideration for others. She wasn't being inconsiderate of the cyclist's safety -- she understood that consideration required effort on her part -- she was being inconsiderate of the cyclist's prerogative to determine where they go and how.

We are more likely to be sympathetic to people making similar choices to us. Motorists are not as likely to resent another motorist as they are someone choosing a different mode of transportation, unless the other motorist is driving a model car that conflicts with their own choices. I don't primarily identify as a cyclist or with cyclists. I like to ride bikes like any kid does, and I post on a bike forum, but I suspect my credentials as a "cyclist" would probably be doubted by some here. Regardless, I place a high value on non-conformity, and I try to impart that value to the people I influence. I am glad to accommodate someone cycling on the road, or skateboarding, or rollerblading, and especially somebody skate sailing or heaven-help-us, walking down the road. It is not just their non-conforming choice that I value, but their status as a human being, special creature of God. Their non-conforming choice is really a unique expression of that prerogative they alone possess.

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Old 07-14-22, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by greatbasin View Post
unless the other motorist is driving a model car that conflicts with their own choices.
this mentality exists within the cyclist culture, but I don't think it's a huge thing (when a huffy rides by a spec/trek) where one will scoff at them for there choice in equipment. Nor do I take much note of other riders that brand bicycles to the riding habits of characters... such like branding vehicle owners to certain types of driving habits (turn signals? what are those?!)
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Old 07-15-22, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by greatbasin View Post
I was discussing motorists striking cyclists with my wife and my teen son who is about to start driving. I've taken my sons (the other is a year away from driving) cycle touring in both rural and urban areas, mostly to enjoy it, but also with a mind to impart empathy toward cyclists. In our discussion, I mentioned the utter contempt that I've witnessed from some motorists toward cyclists, especially on the internet where semi-anonymity and lax accountability often results in unfiltered expression. While my wife didn't express contempt for cyclists that "get in her way," she did say she wished they didn't ride there because they make it hard for her. That cyclists or anyone else on the road make it harder, however much or little, for motorists is probably objective fact if the motorist is willing to give regard to the cyclist, pedestrian or other motorist. Yes, additional effort is demanded from the motorist to exercise due care. Wishing others weren't there is selfish, that is, a regard for one's own interest rather than having consideration for others. She wasn't being inconsiderate of the cyclist's safety -- she understood that consideration required effort on her part -- she was being inconsiderate of the cyclist's prerogative to determine where they go and how.


We are more likely to be sympathetic to people making similar choices to us. Motorists are not as likely to resent another motorist as they are someone choosing a different mode of transportation, unless the other motorist is driving a model car that conflicts with their own choices. I don't primarily identify as a cyclist or with cyclists. I like to ride bikes like any kid does, and I post on a bike forum, but I suspect my credentials as a "cyclist" would probably be doubted by some here. Regardless, I place a high value on non-conformity, and I try to impart that value to the people I influence. I am glad to accommodate someone cycling on the road, or skateboarding, or rollerblading, and especially somebody skate sailing or heaven-help-us, walking down the road. It is not just their non-conforming choice that I value, but their status as a human being, special creature of God. Their non-conforming choice is really a unique expression of that prerogative they alone possess.

There are lots of good points in this thread, and you've really nailed your observations.


I think a lot of our problem as cyclists is that there's an empathy gap. When we exercise our right to use the road, we might infringe slightly on a driver's right to unimpeded access to the road (or at least the perception of that right - I think it's fair to argue that the "unimpeded" part of that right isn't really there, but that's a different discussion.) If there's true empathy, the driver will understand that the cyclist is not doing anything unreasonable by riding on the road, and will also understand the life-changing consequences to the cyclist of getting run over by a car. As it is, though, there's a disconnect, because drivers don't know what we face and that makes it hard to empathize.


Years ago, when I was commuting almost exclusively by bike, I had an interesting conversation with a coworker who lived down a rural two-lane road with no shoulder. He railed about cyclists using that road - in his view, they were people just out playing, and making him late to work. I was unsympathetic and pointed out that the cyclists have every right to be there, that for all he knew they were also commuters, and that in any case they would only hold him up a minute or two before he got a chance to pass. I never did change his mind - he insisted that nobody from out in the country would be commuting by bike, despite my assurances otherwise, and he couldn't imagine that somebody who was just riding for fun had any right to use the road that he needed to take to get to work. He just couldn't work out how to be empathetic to somebody riding a bike on "his" road.


Ironically, where I work now I often take that road (though not on a bicycle - it would be a 50-mile commute each way on the bicycle, so I'm either on a motorcycle or in my truck) and I've never once seen a bicyclist on that road. What holds me up when I take that road are tractors, but I think that my friend was able to be more empathetic toward tractor drivers because he had grown up around there and knew that they were on the road to support their livelihood.


Getting back to the subject of my wife's friend and her daughter, I grieve for everyone involved because everybody's lost something. My wife's friend is likely to have to visit her daughter in prison, and the friend's grandson is going to have to visit his mom in prison and is going to get raised for a few years by his grandmother instead of his mother. (I was mistaken in what I wrote in the original post - the woman who struck the cyclists has custody of her son, rather than her divorced husband who's apparently been out of the picture for several years.) I suppose I even grieve for the woman herself, because I understand what she's lost in making the horrible decisions that she made. I also grieve for the cyclist who's suffered a severe head injury. (I have unfortunately been unable to find any more information about the cyclist, the extent of their injuries, or their condition.)


My kids are 19, 18, and 17, so they're all driving. I spent a lot of time talking with them about the importance of patience, respecting the rights of other road users, and the importance of never, ever driving when there's even the slightest chance that they're impaired. I plan to bring this incident up with all of them to underscore the importance of not drinking and driving, and of always maintaining alertness and situational awareness so that you don't look away at the wrong time, drift off the road, and run over a pedestrian or cyclist.
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Old 07-16-22, 12:49 PM
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As much as I'd like to think it's an empathy gap of not knowing something, I firmly believe that those that are triggered by cyclists sharing the road is an entitlement related issue coupled with a perceived physical vehicle size intolerance.

Those that fued over cyclists being in the way are likely to exhibit those same thoughts towards operators of motorcycles... just that those motorcycles can match & exceed the average passenger vehicles around them.

We live in a world of "don't inconvenience me" & "I'm entitled to that too"
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Old 07-16-22, 11:29 PM
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I will chime in that what truly alarms me, even more than intoxicated drivers is that fact that law enforcement focuses on drunk drivers and zero on distracted/texting drivers. I see these all the time. I feel the distracted driver is a bigger threat mostly due to the far greater numbers. Numbers that exist because of virtually zero enforcement.
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Old 07-17-22, 03:12 PM
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Back to the wife's concern that cyclists know the risk they take when riding on the road.

I'm sure I'll get blasted for drawing a parallel here but there is some relevance.

I don't think it's unreasonable in the Take Back the Night campaigns for women to demand to be able to walk streets alone or at night safely without worrying about sexual harassment or violence. There is an added risk women constantly face that men usually don't consider for themselves.

I also don't think it's unreasonable to have children go to school or for people to go grocery shopping or attend an outdoor concert without being..., well, you know.

So it's also not unreasonable for cyclists to ride on the road without the expectation of being bullied or run over by sober drivers and drivers still in good standing.

Unfortunately, there are too many people with the 'just-live-with-it' attitude for any of the authorities or politicians to do anything about them.

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Old 07-18-22, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by greatbasin View Post
We are more likely to be sympathetic to people making similar choices to us.
This.

We need to be careful about sitting behind a keyboard and passing judgement regarding people whom we don't know. The dead/injured cyclists and their families deserve our sympathy and support first, second, and third. OTOH, whether or not you think that driving while intoxicated is a "mistake", the drunk driver who struck them is also a human being.

And, before anyone brings up this "argument": yes, if it was my loved one who was killed or injured, I would maybe have a different view. I hope that, in the fullness of time, I'd be able to get past that, however, for my own emotional well-being.
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Old 07-20-22, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Back to the wife's concern that cyclists know the risk they take when riding on the road.

I'm sure I'll get blasted for drawing a parallel here but there is some relevance.

I don't think it's unreasonable in the Take Back the Night campaigns for women to demand to be able to walk streets alone or at night safely without worrying about sexual harassment or violence. There is an added risk women constantly face that men usually don't consider for themselves.

I also don't think it's unreasonable to have children go to school or for people to go grocery shopping or attend an outdoor concert without being..., well, you know.

So it's also not unreasonable for cyclists to ride on the road without the expectation of being bullied or run over by sober drivers and drivers still in good standing.

Unfortunately, there are too many people with the 'just-live-with-it' attitude for any of the authorities or politicians to do anything about them.
Politicians "do" the following three things: advertising, credit claiming, and position taking. None of these things is going to solve the problems you described.
The authorities that most people expect to address these problems are the police, but police are primarily tax collectors. Their primary function is to bring people and evidence to the justice system for the collection of punitive taxes on behaviors that are deemed undesirable by the social engineers. I'm not putting down the heroes that go far above and beyond, but law enforcement authorities are not primarily occupied with heroism.
There are, of course, other authorities like city and county planners and civil engineers, school boards, superintendents and principals, and judges. They can guide the development of infrastructure, set policies and practices, and adjudicate. They all have limited resources and priorities. The problems you've brought up, as dramatic as they are when they happen, are not at the top of their lists.
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Old 07-21-22, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by greatbasin View Post
Politicians "do" the following three things: advertising, credit claiming, and position taking. None of these things is going to solve the problems you described.
The authorities that most people expect to address these problems are the police, but police are primarily tax collectors. Their primary function is to bring people and evidence to the justice system for the collection of punitive taxes on behaviors that are deemed undesirable by the social engineers. I'm not putting down the heroes that go far above and beyond, but law enforcement authorities are not primarily occupied with heroism.
There are, of course, other authorities like city and county planners and civil engineers, school boards, superintendents and principals, and judges. They can guide the development of infrastructure, set policies and practices, and adjudicate. They all have limited resources and priorities. The problems you've brought up, as dramatic as they are when they happen, are not at the top of their lists.
There are several industries that exist this "empathy gap". DUI attorneys, police , pols, car manufacturers
We see this when cites are built around cars and consumerism.
The system works as it is designed.
My answer is that communication between people is what addresses the issue , and we have been removing that aggressively for a long time.
I have alcoholic friends who DUI. They deserve full consequence of their action. Competence is a team sport.
All accused claim extenuation.
No problem with me on the Swiss system where fines are based on income.
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Old 07-21-22, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by aley View Post
My wife learned yesterday that the accused driver is the daughter of one of her friends, and that led to an interesting discussion this morning between my wife and me. Apparently her friend's daughter has never been in any kind of serious trouble before and has just gone through a rough divorce in which she's lost custody of her ten-year-old son. My wife was upset that the news stations had shown pictures of the woman's mug shot. She said, "Can't they save that for murderers and *******, instead of someone who just made a mistake?"
People don't lose custody of their children in a divorce without very good reasons.
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Old 07-22-22, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
People don't lose custody of their children in a divorce without very good reasons.
You actually think that the civil court system is perfect and never makes a mistake in assigning custody?

Oh, dear.
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Old 07-22-22, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
You actually think that the civil court system is perfect and never makes a mistake in assigning custody?

Oh, dear.
That's why they appoint a guardian ad litem. From my experience, to not get shared custody/placement there has to be a very good reason.
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Old 07-22-22, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
That's why they appoint a guardian ad litem. From my experience, to not get shared custody/placement there has to be a very good reason.
So, no one has ever falsely accused someone of child abuse, or drug abuse, or alcohol abuse and been granted custody on that basis.
There are no cases where one parent or the other has been granted custody due to bias (based on gender, or income, or ethnicity, or other).

Your original statement was an absolute. I'm just pointing out that it is possible for people to lose custody of their children unjustly.
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Old 07-22-22, 12:53 PM
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Another issue that may come into play is that we call collisions "accidents," thus implying a simple no fault mistake rather than what they really are... collisions by drivers failing to maintain their responsibility.

Accidents happen. That is what we tell youngsters who are upset about crushing a favorite toy or spilling a drink at the dinner table. We often think “accident” is a neutral word to describe poor luck — but in reality, it’s more nuanced than that.

“Accident” tends to imply that no one is at fault — and when it’s used in the context of a traffic crash, it also can give the impression that what occurred is not that serious.

“When you use the word ‘accident,’ it’s like, ‘God made it happen,’” Mark Rosekind, Ph.D., told the audience at a driver safety conference during his three-year tenure as head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Statistics show that by and large, drivers are responsible for the “critical reasons” behind traffic crashes. Inattention, speeding, overcompensation, falling asleep, and other errors in decision-making or performance behind the wheel accounted for 94 percent of the “last failure in the causal chain of events leading up to the crash,” according to an NHTSA study.
https://www.helpinginjuredpeople.com...experts-argue/
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Old 07-27-22, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by aley View Post
... I know how common it is for other drivers to make comments like, "Well, he shouldn't have been riding a bike on that road," because it's easier to sympathize with drivers (a group to which most people belong) than with cyclists (a group that most people aren't part of)...
I see cyclists riding roads I would NEVER ride on, many times with a much safer street just one block over. I'm not a fan of drunk drivers at all, but KNOWING that unskilled, inebriated, distracted motorists are everywhere inspires me to stay off of streets that magnify the dangers that exist every day. Other cyclists just proceed like the world is full of unicorns and rainbows where no one ever gets clobbered.

Just because it's LEGAL does not mean we should DO IT. Take every possible step to live through the day.
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Old 07-28-22, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
That's why they appoint a guardian ad litem. From my experience, to not get shared custody/placement there has to be a very good reason.

Family law attorney here--depends what you mean by "shared custody/placement".

My view on this is that courts are very bad at making these kind of decisions, but no one has come up with anything better when there's a dispute. Most parents, by far, settle these issues by agreement.

BTW, pretty much every family law attorney has a GAL horror story or two or three or...
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Old 07-31-22, 10:26 AM
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Wrong is wrong no matter who commits the wrong. These day too many people want to make the wrong doer a victim.

An example of this is some young hoodlum goes out and shoots someone and shoots at the police that return fire and kills him. Then we hear from the parents that failed him. They tell us he was really a wonderful person and was turning him self around. They tell us he was getting his GED and was going to to to college to be a brain surgeon, so the police should never have shot him.
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