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Posted by on Oct 21, 2010 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

Good Vibes for Marty

On Tuesday morning October 11 @ 7 am Marty was on his bike  waiting at a red light to turn left near Horatio and Seneca when a car hit him from behind at approx 30 mph.  Both front and back lights were on his bike.  His helmet certainly saved his life.  He flew up onto the windshield, fell into traffic, but rolled out of the way of an oncoming car.  A witness ran to him, called 911 and then called me.  Marty never lost consciousness.  He was taken by Maitland paramedics to ORMC Trauma.

You can follow Marty’s recovery here.

9 Comments

  1. the more i think about this case and others like it, the angrier i get. why as a community do we tolerate gross negligence while operating deadly machines? nearly every day someone jeopardizes my safety, just to arrive at the next red light a couple seconds sooner. what recourse do i have? they think nothing of it because to them we aren’t human. we’re an obstacle to be avoided as long as it doesn’t slow them down at all to do so. i’m sure the girl at fault in this incident will have no trouble moving past it because she doesn’t have to come face to face with the suffering she caused. to her he’s just some cyclist. i tell you what, i had lost interest in the law-breaking aggression of CM, but i will be there this month. if they want a war, maybe it’s time our side exacted some casualties from them.

  2. The problem, bencott, is that a solid majority of motorists are decent, mostly-law-abiding people. It’s only a minority that are the self-centered, aggressive jerks that are threatening you. You can’t attack innocent people in retaliation for offenses by a minority, just because they all share an easily identifiable trait. If you do, then you will end up creating a blood feud.

    • i don’t have anything against those who share the road and treat other road users with respect. i’m a motorist sometimes too. i can even forgive an honest mistake. what angers me is that i have no recourse against those who put our lives in danger, whether they seek to do so or do so because of their own ignorance and/or carelessness. they break the law, put my safety at risk, and then wag their finger at me, saying that i shouldn’t have been in the way. that’s also the message put across when a motorist kills or maims a cyclist on the road, and the justice system throws up its hands and says, “oops, what a tragic accident.” this girl gets to go live her life, but Mr. Katz is scarred for life.

      • Yeah, the rub is in the way crashes that kill bicyclists and pedestrians are treated like collateral damage.

        We (as a society) pretend we have no control over it, we can’t fix it. Speed and traffic flow is imperative. Death is just a consequence of our chosen transportation system… squished squirrels, armadillos, bicyclists and pedestrians are ultimately treated with apathy and inevitability.

        This is why we have police officers harassing law-abiding bicyclists “for their own safety” instead of enforcing the laws that are supposed to protect our safety.

        Examine crash causes and target the behaviors responsible for crashes? Oh no! That won’t do! Let’s just get the vulnerable users out of the road so we can go on mindlessly speeding and texting while putting on makeup and eating our breakfast behind the wheel.

  3. I find the reactions most impressive for two reasons:

    (i) The penalties are most reliable for the least severe accidents.
    If a driver damages another car, it’s typically affordable so they have to pay, even if they have minimal insurance. If they kill other motorists, the deceased can’t file suit or tell their side, so penalties are limited. If motorists hit pedestrians or bicyclists, even deliberately, the bicyclists are often held at fault regardless of the law.

    (2) The reaction is almost always to remove slower users, again regardless of fault.
    Earlier this year, a motorist in Philadelphia hit a horse drawn carriage stopped and waiting at a red light. This was followed by the predictable demands to remove horses from the road. I think this excuse had nothing to do with the speed of horses; presumably a horse waiting at a red light is no slower than a motorist waiting at a red light.

    Similarly, Delaware installed a bike lane on the St. George’s bridge, but DelDOT deliberately decided to have no pedestrian space, to avoid encouraging pedestrians on the bridge.

    It seems to me that most collisions occur when drivers hit other cars. If we need to remove horses when motorists hit horse carriages and remove bicyclists and pedestrians when motorists hit them, the obvious solution would be to remove cars from the road when drivers hit cars. While this would certainly reduce collisions, I don’t think drivers will acknowledge any similarity in the reactions.

    • I think this excuse had nothing to do with the speed of horses; presumably a horse waiting at a red light is no slower than a motorist waiting at a red light.

      In context, no. But I’d be willing to bet the underlying prejudice was very much related to the speed of horses and this was a convenient justification. Getting them off the road for their own safety seems far less selfish than the real reason… they’re slow and might inconvenience us.

      Likewise, while the occasional safety nanny will cry for motorcycles to be banned because of vulnerability, you’d probably not see a similar cry for it after a motorcyclist was hit at a red light.

      Here is an interesting quote from the Salter>Mitchell focus group (done for the civility initiative):

      “A pedestrian wouldn’t stand in the middle of a left-hand turn lane. A bicyclist shouldn’t ether.”- Winter Park, Female, 51

      I’ll wager she’d never say that about a motorcyclist waiting in a left turn lane.

      • I agree with your comments –

        I haven’t heard them say motorcyclists are holding up traffic by using left turn lanes. I have often heard motorists complain that I am in the road at times when I think it is the 4 cars in front of me waiting to turn left that are slowing them down. I have never heard of a policeman threatening to cite a motorist for impeding traffic by going as slowly as all the cars in front of him. (Yes, this happened to me when I was going slower than the speed limit to avoid hitting said cars.)

        To put the Philadelphia collision in context – the horse carriages are all in Center City near Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the site of Benjamin Franklin’s house, in addition to modern office buildings and retail. This is a congested area where motor vehicle traffic is so dense traffic can’t go any faster than bicycle of horse speed anyways. The crash occurred on a weekday morning in heavy (read slow) traffic. But it is easier to identify a horse than it is to identify a dangerous driver before he hits something.

  4. As a cyclist and motorist…as a lot of us are, I think that most cars vs bike incidents are due to the driver of the car not paying attention. If you don’t ride, or haven’t ridden much, you don’t appreciate the laws of mass and physics when it comes to bikes and cars sharing roadways. Drivers don’t think a bike is going as fast as it is when they pass and make a right turn in front of you.
    Drivers need to engage their “bike vision” and their brains when on the road(and stop texting) and cyclists need to think about what new distractions are available for drivers. A driver eating a sandwich, applying eyeliner, or texting is not going to see the bike until they hear the crunch.

  5. Distracted driving is a bigger problem for sidewalk and edge-hugging cyclists than for lane controlling cyclists. Turning and crossing conflicts are still a much bigger problem than overtaking conflicts. If distracted driving were as big a problem for lane controllers as some believe, those of us who practice it wouldn’t be around to argue about it.

    NHTSA estimates that at least 11% of motorists are on the phone at any given moment.

    If distracted drivers take their eyes off the road long enough that they can’t see a cyclist ahead of them in time, then they’d be running off the road more frequently, too.

    (Keri: we’ll have to animate how this works; I have some ideas.)