Friday, December 01, 2006
Our town's ringload-downloading driver got sentenced yesterday. Judge stated his regrets that he could only follow the limits of the law, and that he wished he could sentence her for more serious charges.
Disregarding anything individual or personal about the driver, the precedent here is so outrageous - if we can get people to see it - that it may, in fact, be a catalyst for change. I hope so. (However, it is of course a situation where the people in power just don't see aproblem because it isn't one for them. They don't ride; they won't die; it's a shame, but not worth getting mad about.)
Specific to cycling dismay, lots of folks noticed that one of the justifications for this not being "wanton and wilful" disregard was that idea that a driver shouldn't have to expect a cyclist to be on the road or shoulder. Lots of the other folks of champaigncountybikes were rightfully outraged at this, especially since it makes no sense in our fair town; cyclists and joggers are ALL OVER THE PLACE. Some were outraged personally at teh DA for saying it, but I suspect that it's worse than that. The State's Attorney may "simply" have been referring to the Boub case and considering that as a legal precedent.
I do, though, find it reprehensible and morally appalling that she, also, has that (imo wilful and wanton) disregard for human life that she says didn't happen here. Dear cyclists and pedestrians: Despite the fact that you have every legal right to be there, and despite the fact that people like you are there frequently, hey, those of us in our automobiles certainly can't expect to be responsible for something as difficult as staying anywhere near in the road and if you are dead meat, well, we're sorry, but it's not as if we're hurtful people. We just couldn't be bothered to wait until we got to our destination before downloading the ringtones. It's a question of priorities, you see: driver's ringtones, your life. Gosh, I just don't see why you are angry!
I have this dream that a better lawyer in an honest situation will find a way to show that while, perhaps, in that Boub case, cyclists weren't an established presence, that in fact - even without signage - cyclists *should* be expected here. There's an awful lot of evidence that C-U is full of cyclists and pedestrians on the roads and perhaps one of our goals should be to gather it.
Drivers should be held responsibe for the carnage they inflict when they decide to distract themselves **and** kill somebody in the process. Even if cell phones don't get banned, on the (very arguable) grounds that maybe *some* people can pay attention and call, if you *prove* that you can't because you killed somebody doing it, you should be held responsible for that. You can't undo your damage, but at least it should be acknowledged taht you did the damage; not that gosh, asking you to stay on the road is simply not something we should expect.
What does "expect" mean?
From bikejournal.com :
NO surprise to those of us who've thought about it and observed and taken that occasional psych course, but indeed: our brains filter out information which has been deemed not to be important before it ever gets to the brain.
This is why, dear folks, people on the **side** of the road don't get noticed. "I just didn't see you!"
It may be why sometimes a bicycle or motorcycle doesn't get perceived at all - though for most of us, fortunately, if you're *in* the roadway you're "important."
Again, "taking the lane" makes sense not because it's a psychologically assertive way of Claiming Your Right To THe Road, but because it's where you'll actually register on the brains of the drivers before you're a thumping sound.
I would also suspect that, in those studies, had the participants been asked to look for gorillas instead of counting things, they'd have seen things differently. Likewise, when we are trained (by instruction or experience) to look for things like cyclists, our "inattention" will be more selective. We still won't see the weird gyrations happening in that dormitory window, but we'll know that lady with the Christmas Tree on her bicycle was in the right lane. (Going to decorate it tonight.)
The prosecution in this case was absolutely pitiful.
Did Rietz say that Boub had something to do with the case?
(Boub is, of course, wrong.)
BTW, I really enjoy your website.
Alas, I suspect that was her attitude anyway (that a bicyclist on the road - or his survivors - shouldn't complain if he gets hit, any more than somebody walking down The Block in Baltimore should complain if he gets hit on), but it stinks that there's stuff on the lawbooks that endorses that carnage-enablement.
The whole thing is sickening. I hope the cyclist's parents sue and take every item of property the Starks have. When one reads the MySpace page and considers "Little Bit's" driving record, it is clear that the parents should never, ever have let this nitwit drive.
Stark should be in jail and have all her driving privileges revoked for life
What would it serve? It would get Jennifer Stark off the road for one thing, and it would serve as a deterrent to others who think it is ok to drive distracted.
As for Reitz comment on not expecting a bicycle rider to be on that road that is unconstitutional isn't it? I mean aren't we taught in drivers ed that bikes have the same rules and rights as cars do when using the roadways. So therefore isn't that a blanket statemnt to always be expecting the potential use of said roadways (any of them) to be used by cyclists? If not the case then if we crash into a grain truck are we free because we aren't really expecting to see them on the road either during certain times of the year. TOTAL BOGUSNESS!! This girl got off with murder and she knows it and revels in it daily. She has no remorse and has no concept of what she has done and its magnitude. Too bad C-U's paper hasn't gotten ahold of this latest information. She is a menace to the driving community and to the safety and well being of all living things.