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Fixed-gear related death in Seattle

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Fixed-gear related death in Seattle

Old 09-22-07, 03:41 PM
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Fixed-gear related death in Seattle

Apologies if this has been posted, I hadn't seen it. A buddy of mine lives in Seattle very near to where this accident happened...and he's also from Denver, as the dead kid is. Kinda spooky.

The article's author seems both brilliant and tremendously dim. Some of his conclusions about fixed riding are clearly erroneous, but I think that he does a generally competent job summarizing the 'fad.' Any of you Seattle folks heard anything else about this? I don't mean to be grim, but as the track-bike-on-the-street fad starts to peak, I think we'll see more articles like this.

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=322254
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Old 09-22-07, 03:48 PM
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Wow... I like how the writer claims that fixed gears are dangerous, but has no knowledge of how the accident occurred. I guess singlespeeds are less prone to human errors. Must be a karma thing.
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Old 09-22-07, 03:52 PM
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How sad.

That article is dumb, dumb, dumb. I didn't finish the thing, but is there even any evidence that he didn't have a brake?
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Old 09-22-07, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by kemmer View Post
How sad.

....but is there even any evidence that he didn't have a brake?
Yeah, it's heartbreaking...later on in the article are some short quotes from his friends. Seems like a really nice, smart kid.

I skimmed through pretty quick (I'm not crazy about the 'dramatic' writing style) but I think it's implicit that the kid didn't have brake.

The weirdest part [to me] is that the truck-driver's name was redacted from the police reports. Is this a safety measure, to prevent harassment by advocacy groups?
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Old 09-22-07, 04:16 PM
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Sad story no matter what slant the writer used.
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Old 09-22-07, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by kemmer View Post
How sad.

That article is dumb, dumb, dumb. I didn't finish the thing, but is there even any evidence that he didn't have a brake?
He did have a brake, you could see it on the news footage of the bike under the truck.

Brake or not my heart goes out to all involved and their friends and family.
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Old 09-22-07, 04:32 PM
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Terribly tragic.

I read the vast majority of the article and as it closes I don't see the slant. He says he doesn't think fixed-gears should be illegal, he lists a number of things that may have attributed to the accident, mostly just stating that car/cyclist combo's are inherently dangerous.

"It's unclear whether Lewis's choice of a fixed-gear bike—a bike that's hard to stop on hills or in emergency situations, even for the most strong and experienced rider—contributed to his death. Is outlawing brakeless, fixed-gear bikes a solution? I don't think so. More safety—in the form of separate bike lanes; better, more visible lane markings; and traffic signals that don't favor drivers at the expense of everyone else's safety—is badly needed."
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Old 09-22-07, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by scrub View Post
He did have a brake, you could see it on the news footage of the bike under the truck.
Really? Where'd you see that? Seems like the writer was totally implying that he didn't have a brake.


...and I just realized the article's author is a lady. Hope nobody's offended by my inadvertent 'sexism.'
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Old 09-22-07, 04:56 PM
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[QUOTE=Gordiep;5315170]Really? Where'd you see that? Seems like the writer was totally implying that he didn't have a brake.

I live in Seattle, it was on the local news.
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Old 09-22-07, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Gordiep View Post
Really? Where'd you see that? Seems like the writer was totally implying that he didn't have a brake.
I didn't really get that the author thought he didn't have a brake; she just seems to think that brakes don't work the same way when mounted to a fixed gear. Her ideas about bikes are very strange.
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Old 09-22-07, 05:07 PM
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this article is a feature, not news... it's meant to tell more about the story than was reported in the news.

that said, if the guy had a brake on his bike, then the writer should have included that in her article. A lot, if not all articles in newspapers have some slant, bias, exaggerations of facts and omissions. you have to take everything you read at face value.

Last edited by oakdale; 09-22-07 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 09-22-07, 05:45 PM
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You guys haven't mentioned that the riders apparently made a stupid, tragic move by not giving the truck its due room.

It's always best to stay completely clear of the range of large vehicles, and to never--EVER--assume a driver isn't going to do something stupid.

This is far more relevant to the story than yet another brake debate would be.
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Old 09-22-07, 05:49 PM
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true. the driver of that truck didn't leave his house and decide that today was the day he was going to go ahead and kill someone. it's a day he'll have to live with for the rest of his life.
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Old 09-22-07, 06:30 PM
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A couple of weeks ago someone posted about a messenger in Chicago getting killed in a similar accident.

It was clear from the news footage on the web that the rider was sans brake.

Not saying anything about this Seattle, just relating a similar story.
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Old 09-22-07, 06:31 PM
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What bugs me most about the fixed-gear comments in the article is that it should be obvious to anyone, except apparently the dimwitted author, that riding a fixed gear for the first time will naturally feel a little sketchy, and will require a short adjustment period to get comfortable with it. Once you are adjusted to it, and with a front brake, a fixed gear is as easy to ride and control (if not easier) than a freewheeled bike. The opposite is true as well. As many of you have experienced, if you ride fixed exclusively for a long time, a freewheel will feel sketchy and somewhat dangerous at first until you re-adapt to it.
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Old 09-22-07, 06:35 PM
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people get killed on bikes in Abluqueruqe all the time. on road bikes with brakes.
last week a 28 year old man was almost cut in half on his road bike in front of his wife riding on the shoulder.
my assistants dad was killed ridng his road bike home with brakes.
accidents happen brakes or no brakes.
my heart goes out to everyone who has had a friend or family member die on a bike.

lets not turn this into another brake or no brake debate.
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Old 09-22-07, 06:45 PM
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this writer needs a crash course in journalism school. she might not have indicted the dead kid for being brakeless, but from description of the accident, the truck came in from the side or behind the two cyclists - nothing a brake could have prevented on the part of lewis or his friend. and by writing about how fixed gears are often sold brakeless, without clarifying whether their bikes had them, she infers a lot more than she probably intended.

as a working journalist, i feel like a bag of dicks when i read this trash - but the stranger is a pretty ****ty rag, as are most alt-weeklies, except for dan savage.
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Old 09-22-07, 06:45 PM
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blegh too much to read, but that writer is grpahic and such. its too bad...it scares me, i just started riding fixed, and i almost get doored twice a week...not quite ninja reflexs but getting there...
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Old 09-22-07, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by sniks View Post
lets not turn this into another brake or no brake debate.
I didn't post it with the intention of debating that issue...rereading, my comment in the OP is a little ambiguous. I'm more interested in the media attention given to the 'fixed gear' part of the story, and how the author framed its role in the accident. Like Sniks sez, cyclist death isn't that uncommon, but it's usually not given such extensive treatment. I feel like media attention on the trend is growing, and some safety hysteria might be coming our way.
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Old 09-22-07, 08:43 PM
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He got hit by a ****ing dump truck on a flat stretch of road with plenty of shoulder room, every ****ing day I have to ride the same route and see the ghost bike. I hate drivers in this city, they are completly ****ing oblivious to everything but incoming calls!
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Old 09-22-07, 08:43 PM
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trust me, from a local seattlite, this article has caused a HUGE uproar. that ***** has no idea what shes talking about.
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Old 09-22-07, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Gordiep View Post
Yeah, it's heartbreaking...later on in the article are some short quotes from his friends. Seems like a really nice, smart kid.

I skimmed through pretty quick (I'm not crazy about the 'dramatic' writing style) but I think it's implicit that the kid didn't have brake.

The weirdest part [to me] is that the truck-driver's name was redacted from the police reports. Is this a safety measure, to prevent harassment by advocacy groups?
excellent use of the term redacted by the way. i always wanna squeeze it in somewhere
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Old 09-22-07, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Gordiep View Post
I didn't post it with the intention of debating that issue...rereading, my comment in the OP is a little ambiguous. I'm more interested in the media attention given to the 'fixed gear' part of the story, and how the author framed its role in the accident. Like Sniks sez, cyclist death isn't that uncommon, but it's usually not given such extensive treatment. I feel like media attention on the trend is growing, and some safety hysteria might be coming our way.
I understand your OP. I was just saying lets not start again as it usally does.
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Old 09-22-07, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by sniks View Post
I understand your OP. I was just saying lets not start again as it usally does.
If it starts going that way please let me know and I'll delete posts or lock the thread. I don't think this is the right place for that kind of debate and I think making it an issue in the article is in really bad taste, particularly since it sounds like he DID have a brake. What a load of bull****.
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Old 09-22-07, 09:31 PM
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One thing, however, is certain: Lewis was riding a fixed-gear bike, an increasingly popular but notoriously dangerous style of bicycle.

I know what Chevy Chase would say...

"Erica...you ignorant s***."

Cause that is what Erica Barnett is... ignorant.

She should not write about things she knows nothing about.

The death of Lewis is tragic but Barnett's attempt to tie this death to what she considers a dangerous style of bicycle is dishonest and her commentary is misleading.
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