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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Okay, on a more serious movement note: Today the News-Gazette wrote up the legalities of the "guilty pleas in traffic fatalities." Even factoring in the general News-Gazette reporting fallibilities, it's downright galling. Essentially, gosh, accidents happen, sorry you're dead. If a driver didn't intend to kill you, then it's not wilful disregard for your safety. Folks, there's a very serious reading comprehension issue here. "Disregard" means you are NOT REGARDING my safety. IT doesn't mean you want to kill me, it means you are doing whatever you want to, even though if you thought about it - regarded it - yhou would realize it was endangering others' lives. Downloading ringtones, applying makeup, dialing up that cell phone... folks, you KNOW that's dangerous and you do it anyway. *That's* when you're showing the wilful disregard.
The fact that a heck of a lot of drivers could get busted for it does NOT change that. People don't drink that fifth beer and go driving because they want to kill somebody... yet if they so much as weave enough to get pulled over, there are serious consequences. They don't have to actually hurt somebody. Let's have a tiny bit of consistency here.

Anyway, here's what will be my letter to the editor in the morning. I suspect the one I send to the S.A. will go a little over that 250 word max. for the paper.

To the editor:

States Attorney Julia Reitz was quoted in the News-Gazette : “ People drive negligently and cause accidents. Because accidents result in fatalities does not justify charging the driver with a felony.”

I beg to differ. Consciously deciding to distract oneself while driving fast enough to kill is wilfully disregarding the safety of others.

“People drive negligently and cause accidents.” Is the law not there to protect citizens from dangerous, deadly behavior by others? Shouldn't that include cyclists and pedestrians?

Why is it asking too much that people drive attentively? Yes, it may interfere with “personal freedoms.” I find it terrifying that Julia Reitz finds someone’s personal freedom to impair their driving more important than the more fundamental freedom to survive riding on the roadways. Unfortunately, our laws and roadways seem to be designed with this same mindset.

As a cyclist, I’m grateful every day to drivers who leave a safe distance passing me, who slow down a few extra yards to make that right turn behind me, who let me across to make a left hand turn. Leaving space always makes driving safer. When we work cooperatively on the roads instead of competing, we can all get where we are going, safely and with less stress. Thank you for respecting my freedom to ride my bicycle and for my life; I’ll gladly afford you the same consideration .

I can only pray * and vote * that the law comes to expect the same.


Well said.
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