Sunday, October 05, 2008

Where's the outrage?

Or even the traffic ticket.
Two Women Are Fatally Hit by Taxis

"This one taxi tried to beat the light," Mr. Medrano said. "He hit the first girl. She flew up and into oncoming traffic. He ran over the second girl."

Both taxis stayed at the scene, and the police said no charges had been filed against either driver.
No charges?! Are you fucking kidding me?! How about speeding? How about reckless driving? I think it's safe to say that any time you hit a pedestrian you're being reckless!

The basic problem is that the car is never at fault as long as the other party was also doing something wrong. And that counts jaywalking as wrong, which isn't the case in NYC.

How about this for a law: any time a car hits a pedestrian or bike in New York City, the car is at fault. Period. That's the law in Amsterdam. It's a great law. It makes cars slow down. It saves lives.

Yes, that's right, you can be riding swerving drunk, at night, no lights, the wrong way down a one-way street, and running a red light (though they usually turn them off at night). You go right in a car's way. Bam! The car was minding its own business. The car is at fault. Always.

Here is New York City?

Bike hits pedestrian? Bike at fault. Bad bike.

Car hits bike? Bike at fault. Bad bike.

Car hits pedestrian? Oops. Sorry. Accidents happen. You're dead.

So if you're one of those namby-pamby people who bitches about bikes running lights, get some perspective and stop friggin' whining.

Or if you think that the public will love you because you're a "good" rider and wear a bike helmet and smile when you come to a complete stop at stop signs... Yeah, fat fucking chance.

If you think it's wrong for me to advocate that bikes rationally (and courteously) ignore most traffic laws, you have a Teutonic sense of moral order that would make Rudy Giuliani proud.

And if you think that "following rules" and being "in the right" is protection against being killed, don't frown. You must live in Big Rock Candy City where the cars are cushioned with marshmallows and the curbs overstuffed with down.

It's a big city and every now and then a bike will hit a pedestrian. Sorry. If the bike is at fault, give the bike a ticket and move on. In the meantime, get a fucking grip and bitch about what's really killing you and me: Cars. That's why I hate them.


Heff said...

A friend of mine was hit by a cab a few months ago. He was legally crossing the street, and was actually in the bike lane about to get up on the curb, when a cab trying to make the turn smashed into him and knocked him down seriously damaging his shoulder. Since he's a real estate agent they are now trying to claim he was working (which he wasn't) and therefore his employer should cover it. Of course since he's a real estate agent he's self employed, which means he would have to pay for all his physical therapy he's already received himself, as well as the upcoming surgery on his damaged shoulder. And they dumped all this on him a few weeks before his surgery is supposed to take place.

Oh and what did the hospital report say for when he came in? "Hurt crossing street". No mention of being hit by a cab or damage to his shoulder, which of course the other insurance company is using to make the claim that maybe he wasn't even hit at all. I guess he was just walking too hard and ripped his shoulder out of socket then. Silly pedestrian, streets are for cars.

PCM said...

Poor guy. Wish him luck.

Nothing to make getting hit by a car worse than having to deal with the healthcare system.

Getting that first police, ambulance, or hospital report to say the right thing is so important.

But Who's got the wherewithal to think about such things when you've just been hit by a car?

John said...

I am one of those who stops at red lights and at stop signs, Wears a helmet, has blinky lights and all that shit. However, I will not argue with you about going through the lights. I stop, check traffic, and proceed with caution through the red light. At a stop sign I normally just slow to a crawl, check traffic, and stop totally if necessary.

While I agree with you that the rules in place do not promote safety for the cyclist I dis-agree with advocating laws that leave ZERO responsibility with the pedestrian/cyclist. I do share your out rage at the Taxi incident. And at the huge amount of lopsided rulings in the favor of the auto drivers. I am hard against any law that allows people to displace their own personal responsibility. On a bicycle, on foot, or in a car you have to act responsible for your own and others safety. But it seems that in this city of self-entitlement that will never happen.

PCM said...

But blaming the car no matter what saves lives. Isn't that the goal?

Even with the law in Holland, it's not like people are running in front of cars. You still have responsibility because it's your life. It's simply saying the onus is always on the car to avoid a collision with a bike or pedestrian. And it gives bikes the right-of-way.

It also sends a good message to car drivers that even though you're using the road, the road does not belong to you.

The traffic pecking order in Amsterdam, by the way, is streetcar, police car, asshole taxis, bike, cars and most taxis, pedestrian.

Heff said...

It's all fine to say lets treat everyone fairly in regards to the law and their own safety, but first things have to actually be equal. The whole point here is that in the majority of cases the law, the media and people in general are more inclined to look at things from the motorist point of view.

a cyclist said...

the bottom line is that regardless of who is in the right, auto drivers MUST drive with CAUTION at ALL times!

if a driver hits a pedestrian or a cyclist, "I did not see him/her," should not cut it. it should simply suggest the driver is blind (even if only temporarily/culturally) and should have his/her license revoked.

its that simple.

PCM said...

Very well said.

John said...

I absolutly agree about the view point of the motorist being the acepted story.

The bull that passes for excuses is terrible. And in no way should any driver get away with hitting any person, no matter the excuse. I 100% agree with that. The problem comes when everyone feels entitled to do what they want. "I feel entitled to the whole road," says the driver. "I feel entitled to cross the street whenever I want," says the pedestrian. "I feel entitled to ride however I want," says the cyclist.

That again speaks to personal accountability that we seem to have lost. When you hit a pedestrian, or a cyclist, you should get your liseance revoked. I am a driver (not in the city) and a cyclist, yet I believe that driving is a privilage not a right. And as a driver you are responsible for controlling a 2 ton rolling machine that can cause a huge amount of damage.

I suppose my outrage and comment is directed at the fact that laws DO exsist that should punish the drivers who hit pedestrians or cyclists. Current laws are NOT enforced. And if they are, they tend to be in a privilaged manor. And yes, as in your view, I see it at the cars receiving the privilage. That should not be the case in NYC where the population density is so great and there are so many better alternative forms of transport.

Hmmm, so I guess I could understand your point for the law. In NYC at least.

PCM said...

Yeah, accepting the "it's not my fault because I didn't see the pedestrian" line should never be acceptable.

It is you job, and your moral duty, to see pedestrians when you drive.

a cyclist said...

exactly!!! a driver signs a piece of paper (or whatever electronic gadget it is today) that basically says i have been given the privilege of driving a behemoth and therefore promise to obey the laws, etc., etc..

what a mockery that has become, not to mention how easy it is to get a license.

PCM said...

Can you imagine how different things would be if cars were invented today? Can you imagine the red tape and lawyers involved with people getting "licenses" to drive these killer beasts?

You mean you're just going to let anybody drive one of those things?! Not a chance.

John said...


Good point! It would be a mess with all the red tape. Or they would be totally different machines.