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Cyclist charged with assault on rail trail (Vestal, NY)

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Cyclist charged with assault on rail trail (Vestal, NY)

Old 09-18-12, 08:34 AM
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billyymc
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Cyclist charged with assault on rail trail (Vestal, NY)

This is a very short, very flat rail trail that gets pretty heavily used. It's less than 2.5 miles long.

I ride on it only occassionally, just to cut through for something different. Probably wont anymore if they put in the 10 mph speed limit. It has the usual problems of all MUPs - people walking without any regard for position on the trail, people walking four abreast, people turning around without looking (on bikes, blades, walking), dog walkers with extendable leashes, little kids riding anywhere while their parents are too busy to bother teaching them to be safe.

https://www.pressconnects.com/article...nclick_check=1
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Old 09-18-12, 10:24 AM
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Not a lot of details about the incident. The speed limit thing is a knee jerk reaction that I understand, but can't really support because it is not realistically enforceable. It sounds like this one is like most MUPs and so all users have to look out for each other. Pedestrians have to be aware and cyclists need to slow down around them. Those who are self-centered will do what they want speed limit or no.

I rarely ride MUPs when I do, I'm always concerned about pedestrians and runners with their ears filled with their music of choice. It seems to be that if this practice is a factor in collisions they should regulate it too.

-G
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Old 09-18-12, 10:51 AM
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I wouldn't ride on a trail with a 10mph speed limit, that's just ridiculous. I guess that's what they want. If this sort of thing happens around here I will start a campaign where cyclists call the cops any time a motorist looks at them funny. Really sick of municipalities picking on cyclists.

picture accompanying the article shows the victim and sister nearly blocking the trail. Maybe they need to contemplate the notion that there are other users of the trail?
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Old 09-18-12, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
picture accompanying the article shows the victim and sister nearly blocking the trail. Maybe they need to contemplate the notion that there are other users of the trail?
If they're all that's on the trail and the trail is as wide as it is there in that picture, there's plenty of room for somebody to go around. (Of course, that's a lot of ifs.)

In any event, "assault" requires intent. When you're charged with assault, it means you intended to startle or scare somebody (if you actually hit them that's called battery) -- it's not supposed to happen by accident.

Now, if a cyclist tried to pass them and accidentally collided with them from behind as the story suggests, that wouldn't be called assault -- that would be something else, "failure to yield" or something along those lines.

Was the cyclist attempting to zoom past them to scare them and misjudged? Then that would be assault, but if he also hit them it would be assault and battery? Note that the intent to scare them is crucial -- if there was no intent, then it's not assault.

In short, it's not clear at all what happened.

Of course, it is clear that a 10 mph speed limit probably wouldn't have prevented any of this from happening.
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Old 09-18-12, 11:26 AM
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Although not many details to the story, but assault charges are extreme.
Anyone who ever ridden trails like this know that the more people you have, the more careless people tend to get.

By no means that automatically excuses a cyclist - cyclists should be extremely careful on trails like this.

I do like rail trails, because they paved, flat, not bumpy, usually scenic. You can really enjoy your ride.
When I ride, I slow down when approaching anything moving, say something to announce me passing them, and on which side. When I see kids or moms with strollers, I stay away from them as far as I can, and slow down even more.
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Old 09-18-12, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
In any event, "assault" requires intent. When you're charged with assault, it means you intended to startle or scare somebody (if you actually hit them that's called battery) -- it's not supposed to happen by accident.
Agreed. Motorists hit others (whether pedestrians, cyclists, or other motorists) very frequently and are almost never charged with assault. The rare exceptions are when there's a case of road rage and clear indications that the collision (or near collision) was a deliberate act. Seems very unlikely that this was the case in this incident.
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Old 09-18-12, 12:41 PM
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Are they going to enforce the 10 mph speed limit for pedestrians too? Heck, even I run faster than 10 mph on those rare occasions that I choose to run. I guess that's a long-winded way of saying 10 mph is more than a little ridiculous as a speed limit.

Perhaps we are overdue for some real road standards on bike paths and MUPs. Many of them clearly need to be widened and partitioned for various users. Of course, if people won't follow whatever rules/laws are put in place to make the paths work, then troubles will continue.

And of course I think we should all follow the kiddie right-of-way unwritten rule. Where else can kids learn to ride or walk without fear of being made into road pizza by some scofflaw motorist? They're children, not small adults. They'll hopefully learn the rules of the road when they are capable, but a typical six-year-old is simply not capable of understanding what is appropriate. Sadly, many adults can't out-think the six-year-olds on the bike paths.
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Old 09-18-12, 01:10 PM
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We probably don't know the whole story but is it a trail for wheels or a pedestrian trail only - How about no running... Even our small town of 5000 has an ordenance againt roller blades and skate boards down town - I don't really have a solution...

Its all a problem of over population any way you look at it...

Once the planet purges itself of more than a few billion people we will probably all be riding horses and mountain bikes or just walking...

Imagine me on a horse again... Look out... You better run...
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Old 09-18-12, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by dougmc View Post

In any event, "assault" requires intent. When you're charged with assault, it means you intended to startle or scare somebody (if you actually hit them that's called battery) -- it's not supposed to happen by accident.

Now, if a cyclist tried to pass them and accidentally collided with them from behind as the story suggests, that wouldn't be called assault -- that would be something else, "failure to yield" or something along those lines.
The "assault" vs. "battery" distinction is pretty old fashioned and only a minority of jurisdictions still keep it. In NY, third degree assault means recklessly causing physical injury to another person.
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Old 09-18-12, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by gmt13 View Post
Not a lot of details about the incident. The speed limit thing is a knee jerk reaction that I understand, but can't really support because it is not realistically enforceable. It sounds like this one is like most MUPs and so all users have to look out for each other. Pedestrians have to be aware and cyclists need to slow down around them. Those who are self-centered will do what they want speed limit or no.

I rarely ride MUPs when I do, I'm always concerned about pedestrians and runners with their ears filled with their music of choice. It seems to be that if this practice is a factor in collisions they should regulate it too.

-G
But then what are they suppose to do? I also don't like the idea of a speed limit, especially if it's 10mph, but what else can they do? I don't ride on MUPs just for the reasons already listed, i.e. congested areas that are full of participants that are in their own world; also I'm a speed demon. However, when I do ride on those paths I go slow, just because of the high probablility of an accident. Cyclists that do not slow down are just as culpable as all other users.

The only way I see to fix this problem is to build bike lanes that are to the standards of roads and not allow other users to walk on, in the same way pedestrians can't walk on major roadways. Figure the odds of that.
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Old 09-18-12, 03:24 PM
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When are they going to lower the speed limit on streets so cars don't endanger cyclists?

Seriously though.

That trail looks wide enough that two people could walk side by side and a cyclist should be able to get through just fine. I am curious to see/hear more details about what really happened but if the cyclist was at fault then whatever consequences are appropriate I would support. We don't own the trails just like cars don't own the roads. We all have to get along with everyone. There have been many times that I have slowed down significantly on trails so as to not scare/hit/hurt pedestrians. I would expect the same if I were the one walking.
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Old 09-18-12, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
This is a very short, very flat rail trail that gets pretty heavily used. It's less than 2.5 miles long.

I ride on it only occassionally, just to cut through for something different. Probably wont anymore if they put in the 10 mph speed limit. It has the usual problems of all MUPs - people walking without any regard for position on the trail, people walking four abreast, people turning around without looking (on bikes, blades, walking), dog walkers with extendable leashes, little kids riding anywhere while their parents are too busy to bother teaching them to be safe.
Sounds like normal usage on a busy path - why would you expect otherwise. It's how people walk, talk and enjoy life on a path. Sounds like a 10 mph speed limit is very generous. I wouldn't ride even that fast under those conditions. Don't blame people for behaving normally. The only issue is that it's not intended for through bike traffic like training or commuting - just easy recreational type riding.

This stuff doesn't bother me at all (the usage deal). It's normal and you just have to avoid it if it doesn't suit you.
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Old 09-18-12, 06:56 PM
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Waiting for the officials to put in place a 10 mph speed limit on every highway that a motorist has hit a cyclist.
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Old 09-18-12, 07:46 PM
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forget about motorists hitting cyclists, put a 10mph speed limit on every road where they've hit a pedestrian.
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Old 09-18-12, 10:08 PM
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How did the discussion about a cyclist running into a pedestrian on an MUP morph into trash talk about streets and cars? Are people really that thick to think that it is relevant by any bizarre stretch of the imagination? Are they embarassed they're so clueless?
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Old 09-18-12, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
forget about motorists hitting cyclists, put a 10mph speed limit on every road where they've hit a pedestrian.
+1

Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
How did the discussion about a cyclist running into a pedestrian on an MUP morph into trash talk about streets and cars? Are people really that thick to think that it is relevant by any bizarre stretch of the imagination? Are they embarassed they're so clueless?
Lets' see how it morphed. How about the fact, that while some cyclists' do go to fast on a MUP, the fact of actually charging a cyclist, for going over 10MPH is inversely proportional to the fact that, when a cyclist is injured/killed on the road(which they have legal right to be on in the first place), rarely when a driver is clearly at fault, do they get charged.

Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I wouldn't ride on a trail with a 10mph speed limit, that's just ridiculous. I guess that's what they want. If this sort of thing happens around here I will start a campaign where cyclists call the cops any time a motorist looks at them funny. Really sick of municipalities picking on cyclists.

picture accompanying the article shows the victim and sister nearly blocking the trail. Maybe they need to contemplate the notion that there are other users of the trail?
Exactly!!! Not only are they picking cyclists' that utilize a MUP. When it comes to a cyclist's rights to be on the road, authorities acknowledge a cyclist's right to be on the road. But if a cyclist, regardless of a negligent driver, or a malicious driver with intent, the police will normally turn a blind eye to the situation.

Last edited by Chris516; 09-18-12 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 09-18-12, 10:18 PM
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The Strand in Manhattan Beach now has an 8 mph speed limit. My understanding (and a Manhattan Beach local would need to confirm this) is that prior to the speed limit, drama and collisions between cyclists and pedestrians were frequent (which is why they instituted the speed limit). The effect has been to slow down the cyclists and virtually eliminate collisions.

They did not educate pedestrians. They did not ban headsets or earbuds. They did not lower speed limits for cars on roads. They did not limit congestion on the Strand. They don't even patrol or enforce the speed limit. They did nothing but post the signs, cyclists slowed down, and collisions ended. Problem solved.
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Old 09-18-12, 10:27 PM
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I go slow in the presence of pedestrians, and I wish other cyclists would too. However, I would hate to be constrained to some ridiculous speed limit when there is nobody there. From what I hear in practice, in most places the cops only enforce them when there is no reason for the speed limit, i.e. very little pedestrian traffic. The bike path I go on most often parallels a road with a 25mph speed limit and also a freeway. I would ride on the road more often, but they don't enforce the speed limit and the motorists on there act entitled to go 50mph.
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Old 09-18-12, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here View Post
The Strand in Manhattan Beach now has an 8 mph speed limit. My understanding (and a Manhattan Beach local would need to confirm this) is that prior to the speed limit, drama and collisions between cyclists and pedestrians were frequent (which is why they instituted the speed limit). The effect has been to slow down the cyclists and virtually eliminate collisions.

They did not educate pedestrians. They did not ban headsets or earbuds. They did not lower speed limits for cars on roads. They did not limit congestion on the Strand. They don't even patrol or enforce the speed limit. They did nothing but post the signs, cyclists slowed down, and collisions ended. Problem solved.
Likely just drove most cyclist off the path. Is that the solution you were hoping for?
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Old 09-18-12, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Likely just drove most cyclist off the path. Is that the solution you were hoping for?
The solution I would hope for is the one we have: slowing down cyclists and eliminating collisions. There is a parallel street 1 block to the north. Cyclists are free to ride fast there.

And no, the speed limit did not drive most cyclists off the path -- to the contrary. The Strand is completely jammed with cyclists along with pedestrians, dogs, roller-bladers, skateboarders, and joggers. In fact, given how relaxing and easy it now is to ride and sight-see on the path with low risk of collision, it seems that there are more cyclists than ever on the path.
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Old 09-19-12, 12:22 AM
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for me, Mason park is pretty nice 1.8 mile loop but problem is so many walker don't follow right way i hate people walk around trail especially, i hate people ride bike ,walk or running while talk phone not attention on trail ...

bike speed limits ... it is joke to me most cycle love to easy ride if you serious bike as high speed.. most cyclist knew avoid park morning or evening walk in park , most peoples will there.. i know some of one told me if you want to high speed then look for bike trail i knew few bike trail is better than walk trail ..
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Old 09-19-12, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here View Post
The Strand in Manhattan Beach now has an 8 mph speed limit. My understanding (and a Manhattan Beach local would need to confirm this) is that prior to the speed limit, drama and collisions between cyclists and pedestrians were frequent (which is why they instituted the speed limit).
Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here View Post
The solution I would hope for is the one we have: slowing down cyclists and eliminating collisions. There is a parallel street 1 block to the north. Cyclists are free to ride fast there.

And no, the speed limit did not drive most cyclists off the path -- to the contrary. The Strand is completely jammed with cyclists along with pedestrians, dogs, roller-bladers, skateboarders, and joggers. In fact, given how relaxing and easy it now is to ride and sight-see on the path with low risk of collision, it seems that there are more cyclists than ever on the path.
Which Manhattan Beach local confirmed all these claims of yours?
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Old 09-19-12, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
How did the discussion about a cyclist running into a pedestrian on an MUP morph into trash talk about streets and cars? Are people really that thick to think that it is relevant by any bizarre stretch of the imagination? Are they embarassed they're so clueless?
A car driver runs down a pedestrian (or bicyclist) and generally is not charged with any crime.

https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/i...prosecute.html

A bicyclist runs down a pedestrian and is charged with assault. How do you not see a disconnect?
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Old 09-19-12, 02:20 PM
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Jones #1 60 was charged with third-degree assault for allegedly hitting Jones #2 67? Seriously? Hello people, this was a domestic despute!
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Old 09-19-12, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by enigmaT120 View Post
A car driver runs down a pedestrian (or bicyclist) and generally is not charged with any crime.

https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/i...prosecute.html

A bicyclist runs down a pedestrian and is charged with assault. How do you not see a disconnect?
Well, most of the time when a cyclist runs down a pedestrian they're not charged with any crime either -- I'm not sure we can declare this to be a "disconnect" yet -- it's only one case.

That said, again, "assault" requires intent. Either the police screwed up, or there's more to it than "the cyclist accidentally crashed into a pedestrian".

As for the fact that both the cyclist and the pedestrian have the same name that rumrunn6 brought up, the article explicitly says "The Murphys are not related."

It doesn't sound like a domestic dispute, though the assault charges suggest some sort of dispute.
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