Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wait and see

The follow up post yesterday on Matthew's condition has prompted a bunch of comments and a number of offline emails.

In the flurry, Jon Snyder contacted our police department to get the latest. He posted this comment:

I've spoken to Captain Braun, the traffic investigations supervisor at the Police Department and have some more information. He assured me this investigation is far from over and is being treated just like a car-to-car accident or a major crime. Capt. Braun told me that the more serious the incident the longer and more involved the investigation. I was told that this investigation would take up to 4 weeks because they need do blood test of the driver, find and interview all witnesses, try to figure out how fast the bicycle was traveling, and figure out the lighting and sight conditions. Once all this is done, instead of issuing a ticket the evidence will be turned over to the County Prosecutor who will decide whether or not to charge. (Possibly including the suspended license? How could they NOT press some charges.)

I told Capt, Braun that the perception in the cycling community is that the cyclist is assumed always to be at fault in these situations. He assured me that was not the case and that police investigators will look at every possibility. I asked him if speed trumped right-of-way in this situation and he said that is possible.

I will wait to see the results of the investigation, but I am very troubled by this and I am concerned that it will be hard to ascertain whether or not the driver was acting in a distracted manner, i.e. talking on a phone.

I wanted to bring this comment out and highlight it so we can recognize that there is a process here and that the original information that the case was closed was not accurate.

In the meantime, as cyclists, I think we should be attempting to raise the level of discourse around the false dichotomy of us vs them in the bike/car world. The fact is, everyone benefits from a transportation infrastructure that recognizes all modes of getting around.

It's clear everyone does not agree with this position, but I'm hopeful (and perhaps naive) that for most reasonable people who disagree, it's not out-attacking or out-snarking their arguments that will sway them, it's a matter of education, which can take a considerable amount of patience and restraint.


Anonymous said...

Could someone there test just how fast you can get going down that hill on a bike? I wonder if it's even possible to go much over the speed limit. The tester could be protected by friends driving strategically placed cars.

Also, checking cell phone records of the driver might be worthwhile.

What a tragedy. I had this same thing *almost* happen to me back in college and escaped with a broken arm.

Sarah said...

I agree with you John. Well put.