Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Blaming cyclists is part of tragedy

A letter to the editor of the local paper says:
Once again, we hear the tragic news about cyclists killed on the road (Page 1A, March 10), and once again, the tone of the article implies that it is the cyclists' fault. Toward the end of this otherwise fine article, we read the following.
Cyclists along the well-traveled stretch of road talked Sunday about the dangers of their sport - everything from speeding cars to drivers who blare their horns in an attempt to intimidate them. One of the most dangerous things cyclists can do, they said, is ride two abreast. That practice is not illegal but can be extremely dangerous on narrow, winding roads with a large amount of traffic.
So, a sheriff's car crosses a double-yellow line and plows into a group of cyclists, killing two of them, and what we read is sympathy for the distraught driver, and words that shift the blame to the dead and injured cyclists, with absolutely no evidence presented that they were doing anything wrong. This is appalling.

Mark Flynn
San Jose
The paper says the cop fell asleep:
Sunday morning around 10:30 a.m. Council crossed a double yellow line on Stevens Canyon Road and struck a group of cyclists in the opposite lane. Matt Peterson, 29, of San Francisco, and Kristianna Gough, 30, of Oakland, died.

Daniel Brasse was the first to come on to the scene of Sunday's crash. There was no screech, no bang - no noise to warn bicyclist Brasse about what was coming around the corner.

A sheriff's patrol car was facing the wrong way on the wrong side of the road after slamming into Brasse's three riding partners. A deputy was walking around in a daze, later telling at least two witnesses he had fallen asleep.

Peterson was already dead. Another of Brasse's friends, Christopher Knapp, 20, was writhing in agony, with two limbs broken. And Gough, her leg severed and her head bleeding, was gasping for air.
As far as anyone knows, the bicyclists were riding in a safe and legal way. It is a lightly traveled road, and there is no bicycle lane.

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