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2006-09-18 4:57 PM

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Subject: Bad Bike News--Be Careful

This is tragic. Be careful out there.

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060917/SPORTS/609170359/-1/archive1

 



Edited by beez89 2006-09-18 5:06 PM


2006-09-18 5:17 PM
in reply to: #545008

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful
I talked to friend of the family today that was at the memorial service.  He said it was very sad.  They have not charged to driver. 
2006-09-18 9:27 PM
in reply to: #545008

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful
Awful awful awful.

Edited by TBZ 2006-09-18 9:30 PM
2006-09-18 11:26 PM
in reply to: #545008

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful
This seems to be happening more and more...there have been quite a few bike/car deaths around my area over the past season.
2006-09-19 5:22 AM
in reply to: #545008

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful
Someone in my church's brother died on Saturday from a bike accident. I try my best to avoid traffic, thats for sure.
2006-09-19 7:11 AM
in reply to: #545008

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful
As a newbie, this is one of my biggest fears and it will be a big one to overcome.  What a loss.  And how can this not be a crime?


2006-09-19 7:24 AM
in reply to: #545008

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful
How sad. Thanks for sharing.
2006-09-19 8:11 AM
in reply to: #545008

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful

There was a memorial ride for him on Saturday morning that was leaving the LBS I go to as I was walking in. Incredibly sad.

And these things can happen without people being charged because the DA's around here apparently think murder by car is perfectly ok and if you get hit by a car while you're on your bike, it's your own fault regardless of the circumstances.

2006-09-19 8:30 AM
in reply to: #545008

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful
"Dechau is survived by his wife, Debbie; 9-year-old son Tyler; and a baby daughter, Lillian Paige."


I can't stand these kinds of stories and this is the main reason for it. It does and always will get to me.


2006-09-19 9:17 AM
in reply to: #545008

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful

He was struck by a car that reportedly crossed the white line and hit Dechau from behind as he rode along the shoulder of Routes 5 and 20. Dechau, 33, died at the scene.

Was he alone, and have they found the driver?  Persecute with extreme Prejudice.

2006-09-19 10:27 AM
in reply to: #545454

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful
marmadaddy - 2006-09-19 9:11 AM

There was a memorial ride for him on Saturday morning that was leaving the LBS I go to as I was walking in. Incredibly sad.

And these things can happen without people being charged because the DA's around here apparently think murder by car is perfectly ok and if you get hit by a car while you're on your bike, it's your own fault regardless of the circumstances.



Let's step back a minute. This is tragic, and I'm very sympathetic. And probably like all of us I'm fearful of a car/bike accident every time I hit the road. But just because a cyclist is hit by an automobile doesn't automatically make it "murder by car".

And just because someone crosses a dividing line and is involved in an accident doesn't make it criminal. Other than "leaving the scene of an accident" what crime is the driver guilty of simply because of the fact that he struck and killed a cyclist. ( And yes, if found the driver should be prosecuted for that crime, assuming it exists in NY. It does down here in Fla. and in Fla. since it involved death it would be a felony)

It's tragic, it's sad, it was probably preventable, had the car driver exercised due care. It certainly doesn't appear to be the cyclists fault. But none of this makes it criminal.


2006-09-19 11:05 AM
in reply to: #545633

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful
ASA22 - 2006-09-19 11:27 AM
marmadaddy - 2006-09-19 9:11 AM

There was a memorial ride for him on Saturday morning that was leaving the LBS I go to as I was walking in. Incredibly sad.

And these things can happen without people being charged because the DA's around here apparently think murder by car is perfectly ok and if you get hit by a car while you're on your bike, it's your own fault regardless of the circumstances.

Let's step back a minute. This is tragic, and I'm very sympathetic. And probably like all of us I'm fearful of a car/bike accident every time I hit the road. But just because a cyclist is hit by an automobile doesn't automatically make it "murder by car". And just because someone crosses a dividing line and is involved in an accident doesn't make it criminal. Other than "leaving the scene of an accident" what crime is the driver guilty of simply because of the fact that he struck and killed a cyclist. ( And yes, if found the driver should be prosecuted for that crime, assuming it exists in NY. It does down here in Fla. and in Fla. since it involved death it would be a felony) It's tragic, it's sad, it was probably preventable, had the car driver exercised due care. It certainly doesn't appear to be the cyclists fault. But none of this makes it criminal.

The key phrases in our posts are similar. I said 'DA's around here apparently think' and you said  it doesn't 'appear to be the cyclists fault'. I didn't say 'they do believe'. Appearances are important. Without further information, they're all we have to go on and they will form the foundations of our opinions and actions.

I believe it is incumbent upon the authorities to explain why it isn't criminal. Otherwise, the community at large is left with the following:

1- driver didn't exercise due care with their vehicle
2- crossed a solid line
3- hit and kill a bicyclist from behind who was riding exactly where he was supposed to be
4- there are no criminal consequences
5- No explanation is given why not
= it's ok to run down bicyclists

From a legal standpoint, I'm sure there are all sorts of things taken into consideration that are not apparent to the public at large or those without any legal training.

From a public safety standpoint, letting this chain of circumstances stand as is with no explanation as to why the driver bears no criminal responsibility for killing a man with a young family is unjust and a declaration of open season on bicyclists.

Had this tragedy been the result of use of a firearm rather than a motor vehicle, it's reasonable to assume that an announcement that charges are not being brought would also be accompanied by an explanation as to why not. The fact that a motor vehicle was the instrument of death rather than a firearm shouldn't result in a different response to the community.

I tried to find out earlier this year from a local DA's office why a similar case resulted in no charges being filed and I received no response. Silence from authorities in these cases equates with tacitly stating that violence committed on bicyclists with cars is ok. It's declaring to the community at large that the life of someone on a bicycle has no value.

 No one's advocating that people be convicted based on the sentiment of a few cyclists, but we are absolutely entitled to know the reasons why someone can mow us down with a motor vehicle and not be held responsible.

2006-09-19 11:53 AM
in reply to: #545691

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful
marmadaddy - 2006-09-19 12:05 PM

ASA22 - 2006-09-19 11:27 AM
marmadaddy - 2006-09-19 9:11 AM

There was a memorial ride for him on Saturday morning that was leaving the LBS I go to as I was walking in. Incredibly sad.

And these things can happen without people being charged because the DA's around here apparently think murder by car is perfectly ok and if you get hit by a car while you're on your bike, it's your own fault regardless of the circumstances.

Let's step back a minute. This is tragic, and I'm very sympathetic. And probably like all of us I'm fearful of a car/bike accident every time I hit the road. But just because a cyclist is hit by an automobile doesn't automatically make it "murder by car". And just because someone crosses a dividing line and is involved in an accident doesn't make it criminal. Other than "leaving the scene of an accident" what crime is the driver guilty of simply because of the fact that he struck and killed a cyclist. ( And yes, if found the driver should be prosecuted for that crime, assuming it exists in NY. It does down here in Fla. and in Fla. since it involved death it would be a felony) It's tragic, it's sad, it was probably preventable, had the car driver exercised due care. It certainly doesn't appear to be the cyclists fault. But none of this makes it criminal.

The key phrases in our posts are similar. I said 'DA's around here apparently think' and you said  it doesn't 'appear to be the cyclists fault'. I didn't say 'they do believe'. Appearances are important. Without further information, they're all we have to go on and they will form the foundations of our opinions and actions.

I believe it is incumbent upon the authorities to explain why it isn't criminal. Otherwise, the community at large is left with the following:

1- driver didn't exercise due care with their vehicle
2- crossed a solid line
3- hit and kill a bicyclist from behind who was riding exactly where he was supposed to be
4- there are no criminal consequences
5- No explanation is given why not
= it's ok to run down bicyclists

From a legal standpoint, I'm sure there are all sorts of things taken into consideration that are not apparent to the public at large or those without any legal training.

From a public safety standpoint, letting this chain of circumstances stand as is with no explanation as to why the driver bears no criminal responsibility for killing a man with a young family is unjust and a declaration of open season on bicyclists.

Had this tragedy been the result of use of a firearm rather than a motor vehicle, it's reasonable to assume that an announcement that charges are not being brought would also be accompanied by an explanation as to why not. The fact that a motor vehicle was the instrument of death rather than a firearm shouldn't result in a different response to the community.

I tried to find out earlier this year from a local DA's office why a similar case resulted in no charges being filed and I received no response. Silence from authorities in these cases equates with tacitly stating that violence committed on bicyclists with cars is ok. It's declaring to the community at large that the life of someone on a bicycle has no value.

 No one's advocating that people be convicted based on the sentiment of a few cyclists, but we are absolutely entitled to know the reasons why someone can mow us down with a motor vehicle and not be held responsible.



The key to where I think you're in error is your catagorizing this as "violence" against a cyclist. Not all incidents that result in death are criminal. In fact most car vs. car accidents that result in death are just that "accidents" and are not criminal. Likewise the vast majority of car vs. pedestrian accidents are just that "accidents" and not criminal. Similarly with car vs. cyclist.

The short answer, at least as it applies under Florida law, I cannot speak for NY. Simple negligence cannot be criminalized. Acts or ommissions that are negligent, but only "simple" negligence are not criminal. There is no criminal culpability. Only acts of "culpable negligence" can be criminalized. In the area of crimes involving automobiles, there must be something other than simple negligence e.g. excessive speed, running a stop sign, running a traffic light. The standard jury insturction on Manslaughter states it this way:

"Each of us has a duty to act reasonably toward others. If there is a violation of that duty, without any conscious intention to harm, that violation is negligence. But culpable negligence is more than a failure to use ordinary care toward others. In order for negligence to be culpable, it must be gross and flagrant. Culpable negligence is a course of conduct showing reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects, or such an entire want of care as to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public, or such an indifference to the rights of others as is equivalent to an intentional violation of such rights. The negligent act or ommission must have been committed with an utter disregard for the safety of others. Culpable negligence is consciously doing an act or following a course of conduct that the defendant must have known, or reasonably should have known was likely to cause death or great bodily injury." Fla. Standard Jury Instruction in criminal cases 7.7.

While I understand your outrage, in this case the simple fact that a car crossed a white line does not rise to the level of culpable negligence, it's simple negligence and therefore not criminal.

If every accident that resulted in death was criminal, there wouldn't be enough prisons.
2006-09-19 12:09 PM
in reply to: #545008

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful

If every death like this one carried a prison sentence, a lot more people (cyclist) would be alive.  Make people responsible then they would pay more attention and think. 

 

2006-09-19 1:04 PM
in reply to: #545735

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful

That's great information, thanks. It makes sense.

However, I respectfully disagree with the conclusion that crossing the white line at 50 mph in a >1000 lb motor vehicle onto the shoulder of the road where the presence of people can be expected doesn't meet the stated definition of culpable negligence.

The driver in this case couldn't or wouldn't give a reason as to why she veered to the right. Message to the community: It's ok to kill people on bicycles. You don't even need to try to explain it. Just hit them. It's ok.

I also believe that a simple "no charges will be filed" with no explanation as to why not is the equivalent of granting an open license to hunt bicyclists with cars.

2006-09-19 1:38 PM
in reply to: #545850

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful
marmadaddy - 2006-09-19 2:04 PM
I also believe that a simple "no charges will be filed" with no explanation as to why not is the equivalent of granting an open license to hunt bicyclists with cars.


Could not put it any simpler and more clear than that.
If laws and penalties for killing someone (in this case a cyclist), were severly punishable, people would either excercise more caution for fear of serving time as it where a firearm used instead.



2006-09-19 2:00 PM
in reply to: #545008

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful
Mike,

I know how you feel.

This past summer after the guy got killed in Canandaigua, I asked my brother-in-law who is an attorney about potential legal action/consequences of the car v bike incidents. Now every state law is different, but in essense this was the conclusion:

1) Criminal charges were very unlikely because there was no negative intent. It was truly an accident. It also didn't happen in an otherwise unlawful act, which might trigger manslaughter charges.

2) While criminal issues were very unlikely, civil action was extremely likely. The driver will almost certainly end up owing the family of the biker a tremendous amount of money. We're talking his life savings and a good chunk of future income. The driver's life will almost certainly never be the same.

Think about the OJ Simpson stuff. He was acquitted on the criminal charges. But his wife's family nailed him on civil charges. OJ had to sell just about everything, including his Heisman trophy. The driver will likely face the same thing.


At the end of the day, this was a horrible, horrible accident. Everyone involved is going to lose.
2006-09-19 2:11 PM
in reply to: #545008

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful

A similiar situation but not quite- recently a young girl (I think middle schol or high school) was hit and kileld by a car.  She was crossing a busy road after school after getting off a bus.  The lady who hit her isn't going to be charged because the girl was J-walking.  Ok- I understand that because she wasn't crossing where she should have been.

But...if a cyclist is abiding the traffic laws and is hit by a car, the driver still isn't charged with something?  That's basically saying that if you're a driver it's ok to hit a cyclist because nothing will happen (except for the guilt of course)?  Surely people need to pay attention to everyone on the road, regardless if the person is in a car or on a bike.

This is so sad- it seems like there has been alot of car/bike accidents lately.  It makes me think twice about riding my bike on roads.

2006-09-19 3:32 PM
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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful
marmadaddy - 2006-09-19 2:04 PM

That's great information, thanks. It makes sense.

However, I respectfully disagree with the conclusion that crossing the white line at 50 mph in a >1000 lb motor vehicle onto the shoulder of the road where the presence of people can be expected doesn't meet the stated definition of culpable negligence.

The driver in this case couldn't or wouldn't give a reason as to why she veered to the right. Message to the community: It's ok to kill people on bicycles. You don't even need to try to explain it. Just hit them. It's ok.

I also believe that a simple "no charges will be filed" with no explanation as to why not is the equivalent of granting an open license to hunt bicyclists with cars.



I understand your frustration, I think everyone on the board does. Hell it's why 90% of my bike training is on the trainer. I live in a county with one of the highest median ages in the Nation. talk about being in peril every time you hit the road.

Doesn't change the fact that the simple negligent operation of a motor vehicle isn't criminal. If it was, every person that was at fault in an accident would be charged with a crime.

And regarding the driver not stating why she crossed the line, if the highway patrol/troopers were interviewing her, she may have had a 5th Amendment right not to answer any questions.

Look this horrible, and it hits close to home for all of us that train and enjoy this sport, however, that doesn't change this from what it is, a tragic, avoidable accident. based upon what I know about the incident it doesn't look criminal. Does that mean that the driver isn't going to answer for what she did? No, of course not. There are always civil remedies for wrongful death.

Not trying to get into any heated debate, just thought I'd pass along the possible legal explanation for no charges being filed. One thing I will agree with you though, is that the prosecuting authority absolutely owes the public an explanation for why they chose not to file charges in such a case. I do it all the time. In fact it is almost always better from a political stand point to give an explanation, especially if it is on solid legal grounds, rather than to leave the public guessing. In the DA's defense though, those answers are usually only reserved for the family of the victims and the press. Imagine how much time would be spent if we as prosecutors had to answer questions on every case from anyone off the streets.
2006-09-19 3:49 PM
in reply to: #546033

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful

ASA22 - 2006-09-19 4:32 PM  I understand your frustration, I think everyone on the board does. Hell it's why 90% of my bike training is on the trainer. I live in a county with one of the highest median ages in the Nation. talk about being in peril every time you hit the road. Doesn't change the fact that the simple negligent operation of a motor vehicle isn't criminal. If it was, every person that was at fault in an accident would be charged with a crime. And regarding the driver not stating why she crossed the line, if the highway patrol/troopers were interviewing her, she may have had a 5th Amendment right not to answer any questions. Look this horrible, and it hits close to home for all of us that train and enjoy this sport, however, that doesn't change this from what it is, a tragic, avoidable accident. based upon what I know about the incident it doesn't look criminal. Does that mean that the driver isn't going to answer for what she did? No, of course not. There are always civil remedies for wrongful death. Not trying to get into any heated debate, just thought I'd pass along the possible legal explanation for no charges being filed. One thing I will agree with you though, is that the prosecuting authority absolutely owes the public an explanation for why they chose not to file charges in such a case. I do it all the time. In fact it is almost always better from a political stand point to give an explanation, especially if it is on solid legal grounds, rather than to leave the public guessing. In the DA's defense though, those answers are usually only reserved for the family of the victims and the press. Imagine how much time would be spent if we as prosecutors had to answer questions on every case from anyone off the streets.

That's great information, thanks. 

2006-09-19 3:49 PM
in reply to: #546033

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Subject: RE: Bad Bike News--Be Careful

ASA22 - 2006-09-19 4:32 PM  I understand your frustration, I think everyone on the board does. Hell it's why 90% of my bike training is on the trainer. I live in a county with one of the highest median ages in the Nation. talk about being in peril every time you hit the road. Doesn't change the fact that the simple negligent operation of a motor vehicle isn't criminal. If it was, every person that was at fault in an accident would be charged with a crime. And regarding the driver not stating why she crossed the line, if the highway patrol/troopers were interviewing her, she may have had a 5th Amendment right not to answer any questions. Look this horrible, and it hits close to home for all of us that train and enjoy this sport, however, that doesn't change this from what it is, a tragic, avoidable accident. based upon what I know about the incident it doesn't look criminal. Does that mean that the driver isn't going to answer for what she did? No, of course not. There are always civil remedies for wrongful death. Not trying to get into any heated debate, just thought I'd pass along the possible legal explanation for no charges being filed. One thing I will agree with you though, is that the prosecuting authority absolutely owes the public an explanation for why they chose not to file charges in such a case. I do it all the time. In fact it is almost always better from a political stand point to give an explanation, especially if it is on solid legal grounds, rather than to leave the public guessing. In the DA's defense though, those answers are usually only reserved for the family of the victims and the press. Imagine how much time would be spent if we as prosecutors had to answer questions on every case from anyone off the streets.

Thanks. 



2006-09-24 7:18 PM
in reply to: #545008

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Subject: Update
Woman Charged in Cyclist Death
by Rich Turner
Published Sep 21, 2006 Sheriff's deputies have arrested a woman they say is responsible for a fatal car crash last week in Livingston County.

Police say Sharon Cameron of Lima hit a cyclist on Route 5 and 20. The man on the bike, Jonathan Dechau, died on the scene.

Cameron is charged with moving from a lane unsafely. She's due to appear in a Lima court in October.

http://www.rnews.com/Story_2004.cfm?ID=42193&rnews_story_type=18&category=10



Edited by momandmd 2006-09-24 7:18 PM
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