Tuesday, February 1, 2011

66-year--old Bicyclist Killed By Pickup Truck Driver In Manatee

Another bicyclist tragedy in west Florida. This time in Manatee.

A 66-year-old bicyclist, a talented musician, was killed by a driver of a pickup truck in her neighborhood.

My bicycle pal Chip Haynes of Clearwater put it this way in an email to me: " I still think we need to push for stronger laws charging drivers who hit cyclists if the cyclist is in the right. Too many times, we see the driver is never charged with anything, since apparently, "I didn't see them" is a valid excuse. I've said it before, and I'm saying it now: If a driver kills a cyclist or pedestrian, and the cyclist or pedestrian wasn't doing anything wrong, there should be a mandatory charge of involuntary manslaughter against the driver. Every time. No more excuses."

And the famed Ghost Rider of Tampa, Jack Sweeney of www.bikecommuters.com, also had great words: "Folks like to joke that hitting a cyclist with a car is the only legalized form of murder, because the flimsiest of excuses is sufficient to get a 'pass' from the cops. Bollocks! 'I didn't see them' means 'I am guilty because I wasn't paying attention' in my book...and I wish that were the case once these things get to court."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am struck by the fact that the State of Florida suspends drivers' licenses if the licensees have been driving under the influence of alcohol, even if they haven't been in a crash or hurt someone while doing so, simply because they are likely to be in a crash and hurt someone. But licenses are not suspended if a person actually does injure or kill a cyclist or pedestrian in a crash and no alcohol was involved (unless the driver leaves the scene in a hit-and-run). I seem to recall some research by the insurance industry that someone who has been in a crash is much more likely to be in a crash during the next 6 months or so (I don't recall the exact duration) than if s/he had not been in the crash. This would suggest that suspending a license until this period has passed might be justified as a measure to improve public safety.