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Ths American Life episode about teenage driver who kills girl cyclist

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Ths American Life episode about teenage driver who kills girl cyclist

Old 09-19-10, 12:31 PM
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Ths American Life episode about teenage driver who kills girl cyclist

Very sad story about a teenager who kills a girl from his high school when she inexplicably swerves in front of him at the last minute.

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radi...fe-after-death
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Old 09-19-10, 12:41 PM
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just heard that this morning
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Old 09-19-10, 01:39 PM
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Sounds like a must read...
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Old 09-19-10, 02:35 PM
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"inexplicably swerves"....right....
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Old 09-19-10, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by skye
"inexplicably swerves"....right....
+1
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Old 09-19-10, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by skye
"inexplicably swerves"....right....
+1

Sounds like more reinforcement of the belief that cyclists deserve what they get.
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Old 09-19-10, 04:09 PM
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I'm a little skeptical how much is real and how much is fiction for his novel "Half a Life"
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Old 09-19-10, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by skye
"inexplicably swerves"....right....
Just what I was thinking. Why is it that drivers think that this is any excuse? If you hit a vehicle that's travelling in the same direction in front of you, you are responsible if you hit it. That's why you have to keep a safe distance and pass at a safe speed and leaving a safe distance between your vehicle and the one you're overtaking. It's not rocket science. If you do it right, no one gets hurt. It's as simple as that.

If he hit the cyclist, he was either overtaking too fast or too close - or both. There is no such thing as an 'inexplicable swerve'. If there is a swerve, you should make damned sure that you're going slowly and carefully enough during your pass to be able to avoid hitting the vehicle.

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Old 09-19-10, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper
Just what I was thinking. Why is it that drivers think that this is any excuse?
Because a vehicle not already in a lane of travel must yield to vehicles in that lane before entering it.

If he hit the cyclist, he was either overtaking too fast or too close - or both.
Or the cyclist entered his lane at the last second. I've seen this one happen here; a bunch of college students decide to go on a midnight ride to Whataburger, most with no lights, and turn left across a 45mph 5-lane road from the right shoulder with no signal or shoulder check. They were lucky that the two cars overtaking were also slowing to turn in the same place, and so were two full lanes away and under 20mph.

There is no such thing as an 'inexplicable swerve'.
Maybe not, but when the explanation is cyclist incompetence, that doesn't make it the driver's fault.
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Old 09-20-10, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH
Because a vehicle not already in a lane of travel must yield to vehicles in that lane before entering it.
'Swerving' implies that the vehicles were both in the same lane.

...when the explanation is cyclist incompetence, that doesn't make it the driver's fault.
So you're perfectly willing to believe the driver's side of the story. Fine. But don't expect me to do the same, especially when the 'explanation' seems so unbelievable.

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Old 09-20-10, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper
So you're perfectly willing to believe the driver's side of the story.
Apparently you're willing to put forward facts not in evidence or sustainable also.
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Old 09-20-10, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper
'Swerving' implies that the vehicles were both in the same lane.


Definition of SWERVE from Merriam-Webster:
intransitive verb
: to turn aside abruptly from a straight line or course : deviate
transitive verb
: to cause to turn aside or deviate
— swerve noun
Examples of SWERVE

He lost control of the car and swerved toward a tree.
(Hint; trees are rarely found in travel lanes.)

Last edited by Siu Blue Wind; 09-20-10 at 04:14 PM. Reason: comment not necessary
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Old 09-20-10, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper
Just what I was thinking. Why is it that drivers think that this is any excuse? If you hit a vehicle that's travelling in the same direction in front of you, you are responsible if you hit it. That's why you have to keep a safe distance and pass at a safe speed and leaving a safe distance between your vehicle and the one you're overtaking. It's not rocket science. If you do it right, no one gets hurt. It's as simple as that.

If he hit the cyclist, he was either overtaking too fast or too close - or both. There is no such thing as an 'inexplicable swerve'. If there is a swerve, you should make damned sure that you're going slowly and carefully enough during your pass to be able to avoid hitting the vehicle.
Did you hear the episode? All the witnesses, including another girl who was biking with the deceased said the driver was not at fault, he couldn't have avoided hitting the deceased.
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Old 09-20-10, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho
Did you hear the episode? All the witnesses, including another girl who was biking with the deceased said the driver was not at fault, he couldn't have avoided hitting the deceased.
And these witnesses were experts? Look, the fact is, most witnesses to bicycle accidents think (wrongly) that bicycles belong on the sidewalk. There is a prejudice built-in here. All I heard from the episode reinforced the fact that people have a stereotypical view of cyclists and where they should be. The idea that a cyclist doesn't belong in the traffic lane - that changing lanes is somehow suicidal. But the fact is, cyclists DO belong in the street, and changing lanes is normal. At no point in the broadcast is there any indication that the cyclist was clearly at fault. The driver, on the other hand, admits to seeing something weird happening with the cyclist well before he hit her and doing nothing! A driver has the responsibility of using his vehicle safely. When he saw that 'something weird' he should have slowed carefully and immediately. He didn't. Instead he allowed the situation to escalate.

Don't let the driver's spoken words and emotions (accompanied by suitably manipulative music) cloud the facts here. While I'm sure the dead girl bears some responsibility - no accident is all one person's fault - the driver bears a good deal of the responsibility too.

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Old 09-20-10, 11:12 AM
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It was a good program, and a lot more balanced than I would have expected, given the subject matter. On the whole, this segment was sad and tragic. It was also ironic that I was getting a ride from a friend when this was on the air, to pick up a pair of carbon bike shoes. I was a bit disturbed when I arrived.

It's odd, and sad, and embarrassing for cyclist advocy, that cyclists who have the strongest, and most damning opinions about this story, are the people who haven't heard the story.

Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper
And these witnesses were experts?
Well ... they were there at the scene. You heard somebody's summary of a radio program. Where did you get this idea that without having even listened to it, you know more about what happened than people who witnessed the tragedy?

Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper
Look, the fact is, most witnesses to bicycle accidents think (wrongly) that bicycles belong on the sidewalk.
Among the witnesses were other cyclists who were riding with the girl when she died.
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Old 09-20-10, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Where did you get this idea that without having even listened to it, you know more about what happened than people who witnessed the tragedy?
I'm not saying I know more (and I have listened to it). My point is that I'm a little bit reticent to jump on the bandwagon and blame a dead girl who can't defend herself, while the guy who killed her is getting a book deal and whining on the radio about the fact that guilt is tough. Diddums! He calls his book 'Half a Life'? What about the girl who got a quarter of a life and didn't get to do anything after her quarter of a life was over? If he hadn't taken three quarters of her life away, she might have a book to write - one that I might buy. I'm certainly not going to buy a book by a guy who thinks he lost half his life when he didn't. Instead of whining in book form about guilt, maybe he should go out and get a real job - maybe one that allows him to help cyclists be safer on the road.

...Among the witnesses were other cyclists who were riding with the girl when she died.
'Cyclists' is a vague term. Pretty much anyone can climb on a bicycle and make it go. Since the 'cyclist' witnesses were all supposedly riding outside the traffic lanes, I don't see how they could possibly know what constituted safe cycling behaviour. Such witnesses could easily have the opinion that merely entering traffic was dangerous. I wouldn't trust such witnesses as far as I could throw them.

I'm just trying to shed light on the fact that there may be another side of the story here. I'm just not willing to go as far as to assume right away that the dead cyclist is at fault, especially when there's so much anti-cyclist bias out there. The fact that the girl's killer (and let's face it, that's what he is) is making money out of it just seems kinda tasteless to me.

And okay, there's something about being the voice of dissent that I just enjoy. Hey, someone has to stick up for the underdog - if no one else is going to do it, it may as well be me.

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Old 09-20-10, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper
'Cyclists' is a vague term. Pretty much anyone can climb on a bicycle and make it go. Since the 'cyclist' witnesses were all supposedly riding outside the traffic lanes, I don't see how they could possibly know what constituted safe cycling behaviour. Such witnesses could easily have the opinion that merely entering traffic was dangerous. I wouldn't trust such witnesses as far as I could throw them.
Maybe she was just another sacrifice. Didn't you suggest that sacrifices will need to be made in the epic struggle of cyclists and pedestrians?
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Old 09-20-10, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper
I'm not saying I know more (and I have listened to it). My point is that I'm a little bit reticent to jump on the bandwagon and blame a dead girl who can't defend herself, while the guy who killed her is getting a book deal and whining on the radio about the fact that guilt is tough.
I didn't think the story blamed the cyclist for dieing. I heard a story about two individuals, that radiated out to include their family and friends. The narrator grappled a lot with how to fit what happened between him (the driver) and the cyclist into his moral understanding. That's an entirely different thing than broadcasting anti-cyclist propaganda. Really, I thought the show was pretty good for not making moral judgments, and instead was more subtle.

Also, explaining something and endorsing it are two vastly different things.

Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper
'Cyclists' is a vague term. Pretty much anyone can climb on a bicycle and make it go. Since the 'cyclist' witnesses were all supposedly riding outside the traffic lanes, I don't see how they could possibly know what constituted safe cycling behaviour. Such witnesses could easily have the opinion that merely entering traffic was dangerous. I wouldn't trust such witnesses as far as I could throw them.
Well the last sentence translates to "My mind is made up and no amount of evidence will change it." But the rest of the paragraph, to me, says "Only some cyclists are worth advocating for."
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Old 09-20-10, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Well the last sentence translates to "My mind is made up and no amount of evidence will change it."
Straw man. Personal opinion is not 'evidence'. It was merely the surviving cyclists' opinion that the driver could not have avoided the girl. That is not evidence that would hold up in a courtroom unless the cyclists were experts in the field of road accident analysis.

But the rest of the paragraph, to me, says "Only some cyclists are worth advocating for."
Yet here we are, and I feel like I'm the ONLY one still here advocating for the cyclist. There's a big difference between advocating for a cyclist (which is what I'm doing here) and supporting a cyclist's opinion when such opinion actually advocates for a car driver (and AGAINST the cyclist). Defending a cyclist's testimony does not necessarily advocate for cyclists.

If the surviving girls were ever in an accident, I'd be the first to advocate for them. It's pretty sad that, in a cycling advocacy thread, I'm one of only two here (Skye being the other one) who has shown a willingness to defend a cyclist when a car driver kills her.

Remember folks, this is about a guy who killed a cyclist and got a book deal for telling his story. However well the book is written (and apparently it is well-written), it is still a guy turning a profit over the corpse of the girl cyclist he killed. I think that's pretty obscene. Clearly I'm in a small minority on that, which I think is pretty damned sad, given that this is a cycling forum.

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Old 09-20-10, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper
Straw man. Personal opinion is not 'evidence'. It was merely the surviving cyclists' opinion that the driver could not have avoided the girl. That is not evidence that would hold up in a courtroom unless the cyclists were experts in the field of road accident analysis.

Yet here we are, and I feel like I'm the ONLY one still here advocating for the cyclist. There's a big difference between advocating for a cyclist (which is what I'm doing here) and supporting a cyclist's opinion when such opinion actually advocates for a car driver (and AGAINST the cyclist). Defending a cyclist's testimony does not necessarily advocate for cyclists.

If the surviving girls were ever in an accident, I'd be the first to advocate for them. It's pretty sad that, in a cycling advocacy thread, I'm one of only two here (Skye being the other one) who has shown a willingness to defend a cyclist when a car driver kills her.

Remember folks, this is about a guy who killed a cyclist and got a book deal for telling his story. However well the book is written (and apparently it is well-written), it is still a guy turning a profit over the corpse of the girl cyclist he killed. I think that's pretty obscene. Clearly I'm in a small minority on that, which I think is pretty damned sad, given that this is a cycling forum.
Any chance the profits are being turned over to the victim's family?
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Old 09-20-10, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by genec
Any chance the profits are being turned over to the victim's family?
Why should they be?

Despite the police findings and witness statements the family sued him. (This from the NY Times book review this past weekend.)

Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper
Remember folks, this is about a guy who killed a cyclist and got a book deal for telling his story. However well the book is written (and apparently it is well-written), it is still a guy turning a profit over the corpse of the girl cyclist he killed. I think that's pretty obscene. Clearly I'm in a small minority on that, which I think is pretty damned sad, given that this is a cycling forum.
It's not 'a guy who killed a cyclist and got a book deal.' The accident happened many years ago. The author has published three well-regarded novels over the last ten years.
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Old 09-20-10, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Chicago Al
Why should they be?

Despite the police findings and witness statements the family sued him. (This from the NY Times book review this past weekend.)

And it's not 'a guy who killed a cyclist and got a book deal.' The accident happened many years ago. The author has published three well-regarded novels over the last ten years.
see post above mine
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Old 09-20-10, 06:49 PM
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I was responding to your post and the one above, genec, sorry for any confusion. I will edit my post so that's clear--if it works.
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Old 09-20-10, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper
Yet here we are, and I feel like I'm the ONLY one still here advocating for the cyclist. There's a big difference between advocating for a cyclist (which is what I'm doing here) and supporting a cyclist's opinion when such opinion actually advocates for a car driver (and AGAINST the cyclist). Defending a cyclist's testimony does not necessarily advocate for cyclists.
Do you even understand what advocacy is? Have you a freaking clue? All you're doing is trying to demonize the motorist, who by all accounts is not responsible for the accident, to support your cyclist-as-the-victim mentality. Faux-advocates such as yourself do more harm than good.
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Old 09-21-10, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper
. . . . If he hit the cyclist, he was either overtaking too fast or too close - or both. There is no such thing as an 'inexplicable swerve'. If there is a swerve, you should make damned sure that you're going slowly and carefully enough during your pass to be able to avoid hitting the vehicle.
Overtaking too fast?

You are suggesting that as well as affording adequate clearance motor vehicles must also slow when passing us to the extent that any rider maneuver cannot cause collision. If this weren't so patently ridiculous it would be dangerous.

In real life, any reasonably skilled rider could at any time do a likely suicide by car just by a well-timed quick turn. No matter how alert the driver, no matter there may be comfortable clearance, the rider would be hit.

Just as there are occasions when a driver is nearly 100% responsible for for a death, there are others in which the cyclist is about totally responsible.
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