Bike advocates in action one year after the death of Susie Stephens in St. Louis

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Brent Hugh, Mar 19, 2003.

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  1. Brent Hugh

    Brent Hugh Guest

    Below is a press release from the Thunderhead Alliance, http://www.thunderheadalliance.org

    ---

    Prescott, AZ - March 17, 2003 - March 21st will mark one year since the bicycle advocacy movement
    lost one of its brightest stars. That day last year, Susie Stephens was struck and killed by a tour
    bus while crossing a St. Louis street. As this mournful day approaches, bicycle advocates, family
    and friends of Susie are taking action in honor of her work to create communities that are safe for
    bicycling and walking.

    Susie was a founding director of the Thunderhead Alliance, the national coalition of state and local
    bicycle advocacy organizations, and was hired as their managing director in August 2000. This
    position followed on the heals of her successful five year stint as the executive director of the
    Bicycle Alliance of Washington (BAW). As director of BAW, Susie built the organization to a powerful
    and respected statewide bicycle advocacy force. She brought that same savvy and determination to the
    Thunderhead Alliance, growing it from a small band of bicycle advocacy leaders to a respected
    national organization.

    All who worked with Susie remember her courage which she would reveal by breaking into song, to
    friends, to strangers, to crowds ready to join her in her crusade. Susie often said, "There has
    never been a successful movement without song."

    At the national level, the Thunderhead Alliance continues their mission of strengthening the efforts
    of state and local bicycle advocacy organizations across the nation; a mission Susie helped create.
    Thunderhead's newest annual event, the U.S. Mayors Bike Ride will be launched this July 4th as an
    annual memorial ride for Susie as it strikes at the core of what state and local bicycle advocates
    do: make a direct connection between policy makers and the need for a safe bicycling and walking
    environment in our communities. Also at the national level, the National Center for Bicycling and
    Walking (NCBW) has committed to changing archaic laws that allow drivers who kill bicyclists and
    pedestrians to walk away with a wrist slap. Every year motor vehicles kill over forty thousand
    people; fourteen on an average day.

    The driver who killed Susie was charged by the city with failing to yield to a pedestrian, a
    misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of $500. Bill Wilkinson, Executive Director of NCBW, asks
    these pointed questions, "Why is it that under our current system of laws the act of killing an
    innocent person with a motor vehicle is of such little consequence? Why is it that the motor vehicle
    operators whose various failures were the direct cause of death ... are in no way being held
    accountable for the consequences of their actions? And, why do we tolerate this situation?" Over the
    next few months NCBW will contact various experts, advocates, and advocacy groups to solicit input
    on what others are doing to respond to this problem. The Thunderhead Alliance and its members look
    forward to helping with this effort.

    Susie helped set the model for these needed changes. As Executive Director of BAW, she helped push
    through Washington state legislation called the Cooper Jones Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education
    Act. This act requires that drivers who either kill or injure a bicyclist or pedestrian be retested
    for their license. The act also provides grants to bicycle and pedestrian safety education programs.

    In Washington state, Susie's advocacy partners, friends and family have events in Susie's memory
    scheduled across the state. In Seattle, the city council has proclaimed March 21 Susie Stephens Ride
    for Life Day. Also, a commemorative bike ride will end at a brewery for a toast to Susie and walkers
    will decorate a hazardous intersection to highlight its pedestrian needs, then walk to join the
    bicyclists. In Winthrop, the Methow Conservancy will lead a bike ride. In Tacoma, an evening bike
    ride will lead to a dinner and toast to Susie. And in Spokane, on their newly designated Susie's
    Spring Walk and Ride Day the Spokane Bicycle Club will lead a ride through the neighborhood where
    Susie grew up as Susie's mom, Nancy MacKerrow, leads a walk in her daughter's memory, both ending at
    Susie's favorite bakery.

    Nancy has had a difficult year, but her daughter has helped her endure. "Susie herself has helped me
    through this year," Nancy said, "because of the connections I made to the wonderful advocates she
    knew who have been so supportive. They have gotten me involved in bicycle and pedestrian activism
    which has given me a way to make a positive change. I am dedicated to making something good come
    from the life she was denied."

    What you can do:

    * On March 21, ride a bike or walk with friends in Susie's memory.

    * On July 4th, help your state or local bicycle advocacy organization take your mayor on a bike
    ride to showcase the bicycle and pedestrian safety needs in your community.

    * Get involved with your state or local bicycle advocacy organization. To find yours go to:

    http://www.thunderheadalliance.org

    * Sing a song of courage to a crowd of temporary strangers looking to you to show them how they too
    can help make a difference for bicycle and pedestrian safety.

    Let's make everyday a memorial to Susie as we continue our push to create communities where everyone
    is safe to walk and ride bikes.

    For more information, please contact Sue Knaup, Executive Director: 928-541-9841,
    [email protected]

    ------

    +++++++++++++++++ Brent Hugh / bhugh @ mwsc.edu +++++++++++++++
    + Missouri Western St College Dept of Music, St. Joseph, MO +
    + Missouri Bicycle Federation: http://www.MoBikeFed.org +
    + Piano Home Page: http://staff.mwsc.edu/~bhugh +
    + Earthquake Fugue: http://mp3.com/stations/MathMusic + +++ Music of the Human Genome:
    http://mp3.com/brent_d_hugh +++
     
    Tags:


  2. Ron Hardin

    Ron Hardin Guest

    She sounds like a public nuisance.
    --
    Ron Hardin [email protected]

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
     
  3. Mlb

    Mlb Guest

  4. Chris Hobbs

    Chris Hobbs Guest

    MLB <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    > Ron Hardin <[email protected]> wrote in news:3E790C90.DB6 @mindspring.com:
    >
    >> On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
    >
    > We do now.
    >

    Nah, we've had it figured out for quite awhile :)

    --
    _ _ _ Replace "heyyou" with "chris" to reply
    | | | | | | | | | | http://www.clanhobbs.org
    ___| | __ _ _ __ | |__| | ___ | |__ | |__ ___ ___ _ __ __ _
    / __| |/ _` | '_ \| __ |/ _ \| '_ \| '_ \/ __| / _ \| '__/ _` |
    | (__| | (_| | | | | | | | (_) | |_) | |_) \__ \| (_) | | | (_| |
    \___|_|\__,_|_| |_|_| |_|\___/|_.__/|_.__/|___(_)___/|_| \__, | __/ |
    |___/
     
  5. Me

    Me Guest

    While her loss was a (needless) tragedy, its sort of like a swimming instructor drowning in his
    own bath tub.

    On 19 Mar 2003 16:17:50 -0800, [email protected] (Brent Hugh) wrote:

    >Below is a press release from the Thunderhead Alliance, http://www.thunderheadalliance.org
    >
    >---
    >
    >Prescott, AZ - March 17, 2003 - March 21st will mark one year since the bicycle advocacy movement
    >lost one of its brightest stars. That day last year, Susie Stephens was struck and killed by a tour
    >bus while crossing a St. Louis street. As this mournful day approaches, bicycle advocates, family
    >and friends of Susie are taking action in honor of her work to create communities that are safe for
    >bicycling and walking.
    >
    >Susie was a founding director of the Thunderhead Alliance, the national coalition of state and
    >local bicycle advocacy organizations, and was hired as their managing director in August 2000. This
    >position followed on the heals of her successful five year stint as the executive director of the
    >Bicycle Alliance of Washington (BAW). As director of BAW, Susie built the organization to a
    >powerful and respected statewide bicycle advocacy force. She brought that same savvy and
    >determination to the Thunderhead Alliance, growing it from a small band of bicycle advocacy leaders
    >to a respected national organization.
    >
    >All who worked with Susie remember her courage which she would reveal by breaking into song, to
    >friends, to strangers, to crowds ready to join her in her crusade. Susie often said, "There has
    >never been a successful movement without song."
    >
    >At the national level, the Thunderhead Alliance continues their mission of strengthening the
    >efforts of state and local bicycle advocacy organizations across the nation; a mission Susie helped
    >create. Thunderhead's newest annual event, the U.S. Mayors Bike Ride will be launched this July 4th
    >as an annual memorial ride for Susie as it strikes at the core of what state and local bicycle
    >advocates do: make a direct connection between policy makers and the need for a safe bicycling and
    >walking environment in our communities. Also at the national level, the National Center for
    >Bicycling and Walking (NCBW) has committed to changing archaic laws that allow drivers who kill
    >bicyclists and pedestrians to walk away with a wrist slap. Every year motor vehicles kill over
    >forty thousand people; fourteen on an average day.
    >
    >The driver who killed Susie was charged by the city with failing to yield to a pedestrian, a
    >misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of $500. Bill Wilkinson, Executive Director of NCBW,
    >asks these pointed questions, "Why is it that under our current system of laws the act of killing
    >an innocent person with a motor vehicle is of such little consequence? Why is it that the motor
    >vehicle operators whose various failures were the direct cause of death ... are in no way being
    >held accountable for the consequences of their actions? And, why do we tolerate this situation?"
    >Over the next few months NCBW will contact various experts, advocates, and advocacy groups to
    >solicit input on what others are doing to respond to this problem. The Thunderhead Alliance and its
    >members look forward to helping with this effort.
    >
    >Susie helped set the model for these needed changes. As Executive Director of BAW, she helped push
    >through Washington state legislation called the Cooper Jones Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
    >Education Act. This act requires that drivers who either kill or injure a bicyclist or pedestrian
    >be retested for their license. The act also provides grants to bicycle and pedestrian safety
    >education programs.
    >
    >In Washington state, Susie's advocacy partners, friends and family have events in Susie's memory
    >scheduled across the state. In Seattle, the city council has proclaimed March 21 Susie Stephens
    >Ride for Life Day. Also, a commemorative bike ride will end at a brewery for a toast to Susie and
    >walkers will decorate a hazardous intersection to highlight its pedestrian needs, then walk to join
    >the bicyclists. In Winthrop, the Methow Conservancy will lead a bike ride. In Tacoma, an evening
    >bike ride will lead to a dinner and toast to Susie. And in Spokane, on their newly designated
    >Susie's Spring Walk and Ride Day the Spokane Bicycle Club will lead a ride through the neighborhood
    >where Susie grew up as Susie's mom, Nancy MacKerrow, leads a walk in her daughter's memory, both
    >ending at Susie's favorite bakery.
    >
    >Nancy has had a difficult year, but her daughter has helped her endure. "Susie herself has helped
    >me through this year," Nancy said, "because of the connections I made to the wonderful advocates
    >she knew who have been so supportive. They have gotten me involved in bicycle and pedestrian
    >activism which has given me a way to make a positive change. I am dedicated to making something
    >good come from the life she was denied."
    >
    >What you can do:
    >
    > * On March 21, ride a bike or walk with friends in Susie's memory.
    >
    > * On July 4th, help your state or local bicycle advocacy organization take your mayor on a bike
    > ride to showcase the bicycle and pedestrian safety needs in your community.
    >
    > * Get involved with your state or local bicycle advocacy organization. To find yours go to:
    >
    > http://www.thunderheadalliance.org
    >
    > * Sing a song of courage to a crowd of temporary strangers looking to you to show them how they
    > too can help make a difference for bicycle and pedestrian safety.
    >
    >Let's make everyday a memorial to Susie as we continue our push to create communities where
    >everyone is safe to walk and ride bikes.
    >
    >For more information, please contact Sue Knaup, Executive Director: 928-541-9841,
    >[email protected]
    >
    >
    >------
    >
    >
    >+++++++++++++++++ Brent Hugh / bhugh @ mwsc.edu +++++++++++++++
    >+ Missouri Western St College Dept of Music, St. Joseph, MO +
    >+ Missouri Bicycle Federation: http://www.MoBikeFed.org +
    >+ Piano Home Page: http://staff.mwsc.edu/~bhugh +
    >+ Earthquake Fugue: http://mp3.com/stations/MathMusic + +++ Music of the Human Genome:
    > http://mp3.com/brent_d_hugh +++
     
  6. Brent Hugh

    Brent Hugh Guest

    Me <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > While her loss was a (needless) tragedy, its sort of like a swimming instructor drowning in his
    > own bath tub.

    Yes, except:

    1. The pedestrian advocate would, among other things, advocate that drivers should yield to
    pedestrians in a crosswalk. Period. This should become not only the law but the custom and
    practice through education and enforcement.

    It is the law in Missouri but no one enforces it or tries to educate anyone about it, and so the
    custom and practice is for motorists to roar through intersections and let pedestrians run for it
    if they can.

    We don't mind pedestrians much--as long as they don't interrupt the flow of traffic.

    2. The pedestrian advocate would point out that the type of intersection where Suzie was killed is
    inherently extremely dangerous for pedestrians.

    The idea of making an intersection safer for pedestrians is a little "out there" for Missourians. We
    just like to keep doin' things the way we always have, no matter how stupid that might be.

    I cross at similar intersections all the time, and they are indeed very dangerous for pedestrians.
    It is typical, when the pedestrian theoretically has the right-of-way, for lines of traffic from at
    least three directions to LEGALLY be able to cross the crosswalk. Theoretically they all should be
    yielding to the pedestrian--but that is, indeed, theory of a deep deep and obscure sort.

    In addition to the three LEGAL lines of traffic, at least two more directions could ILLEGALLY cross
    the crosswalk. So the pedestrian must be aware of all these directions of traffic at once. They are,
    literally, coming from all points of the compass. There is, literally, no way the pedestrian can
    watch all of this at once.

    As an example, if you are crossing at a signalized crosswalk, traffic can legally cross the
    crosswalk from your rear left, front left, and front right.

    Just TRY watching all of those at once. Keep in mind that at least two of them (rear left, front
    left) are approaching AT SPEED at are not even technically required to slow down in in the
    slightest before entering the intersection. Furthermore, we have nicely rounded corners provided
    for the convenience of the motorist, to allow him to keep as much speed as possible all the way
    around--and at the same time making the pedestrian cross as much as 10 feet more travel lane on
    each side of the street.

    A convenience all the way around . . .

    The idea of actually *protecting* the pedestrian from some of these directions of traffic, by making
    the turning traffic stop, is extremely foreign to good ol' boy Missourians. And making motorists
    slow down for any reason, especially . . . pedestrians? Hah!

    Why, them doggone pedestrians are even lower on the totem pole than .
    . . well, than those idiot bicyclists.

    And that's very low, indeed . . .

    In Suzie's case, the bus that killed her came, in an unusually wide arc, from her right rear. It was
    a tour bus, which is likely pretty quiet running, and the engine is most probably in the back, which
    was a long way from Suzie when the bus first made contact with her.

    See diagrams at

    http://home.swbell.net/mpion/susiestephens.html

    The bus driver who killed Suzie just recently received his sentence: a whopping $500. See

    http://www.mobikefed.org/2003_04_01_newsarchive.html#200082719

    You'll excuse me for going on about this issue, but it goes EXACTLY to the problem that comes up
    again and again on all bicycling discussion groups: do bicyclists have rights on the road, or not?
    Do they have equal protection under the law, or not?

    Right now, in Missouri, I say with all due deliberation and some authority, that clearly, neither
    bicyclist nor pedestrians have equal protection under the law.

    If you want to kill someone in Missouri and get off scot free under the law, just make sure to kill
    them with your automobile while they are walking or cycling:

    * The driver who negligently killed Suzie Stephens received a $500 fine.

    * The driver with 19 prior convictions who negligently and recklessly killed cylist Mike Brady,
    received a suspended sentence and did lose his driver's license for one whole year.

    * The driver who, just a few weeks ago, illegally raced around other cars stopped at a crosswalk
    who were legally yielding, and was traveling approximately 35 MPH in a posted school zone,
    killing music student Pei Chen, was charged with a misdeamenor; probable $500 fine.

    This list goes on and on.

    Part of it is that better laws must be written.

    Part of it is that police and prosecutors have no interest in enforcing the laws that *are* on
    the books.

    Part of it is that we just like to kill people, and we don't really care.

    --Brent bhugh @ mwsc.edu http://www.MoBikeFed.org

    >
    > On 19 Mar 2003 16:17:50 -0800, [email protected] (Brent Hugh) wrote:
    >
    > >Below is a press release from the Thunderhead Alliance, http://www.thunderheadalliance.org
    > >
    > >---
    > >
    > >Prescott, AZ - March 17, 2003 - March 21st will mark one year since the bicycle advocacy movement
    > >lost one of its brightest stars. That day last year, Susie Stephens was struck and killed by a
    > >tour bus while crossing a St. Louis street. As this mournful day approaches, bicycle advocates,
    > >family and friends of Susie are taking action in honor of her work to create communities that are
    > >safe for bicycling and walking.
    > >
    > >Susie was a founding director of the Thunderhead Alliance, the national coalition of state and
    > >local bicycle advocacy organizations, and was hired as their managing director in August 2000.
    > >This position followed on the heals of her successful five year stint as the executive director
    > >of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington (BAW). As director of BAW, Susie built the organization to
    > >a powerful and respected statewide bicycle advocacy force. She brought that same savvy and
    > >determination to the Thunderhead Alliance, growing it from a small band of bicycle advocacy
    > >leaders to a respected national organization.
    > >
    > >All who worked with Susie remember her courage which she would reveal by breaking into song, to
    > >friends, to strangers, to crowds ready to join her in her crusade. Susie often said, "There has
    > >never been a successful movement without song."
     
  7. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Brent Hugh" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > The bus driver who killed Suzie just recently received his
    sentence: a
    > whopping $500. See
    >
    >
    http://www.mobikefed.org/2003_04_01_newsarchive.html#2000827 19
    >
    > You'll excuse me for going on about this issue, but it
    goes EXACTLY to
    > the problem that comes up again and again on all bicycling
    discussion
    > groups: do bicyclists have rights on the road, or not?
    Do they have
    > equal protection under the law, or not?
    >
    > Right now, in Missouri, I say with all due deliberation
    and some
    > authority, that clearly, neither bicyclist nor pedestrians
    have equal
    > protection under the law.
    >
    > If you want to kill someone in Missouri and get off scot
    free under
    > the law, just make sure to kill them with your automobile
    while they
    > are walking or cycling:
    >
    > * The driver who negligently killed Suzie Stephens
    received a $500
    > fine.
    >
    > * The driver with 19 prior convictions who negligently
    and
    > recklessly killed cylist Mike Brady, received a suspended
    sentence and
    > did lose his driver's license for one whole year.
    >
    > * The driver who, just a few weeks ago, illegally raced
    around other
    > cars stopped at a crosswalk who were legally yielding, and
    was
    > traveling approximately 35 MPH in a posted school zone,
    killing music
    > student Pei Chen, was charged with a misdeamenor; probable
    $500 fine.
    >
    > This list goes on and on.
    >
    > Part of it is that better laws must be written.
    >
    > Part of it is that police and prosecutors have no interest
    in
    > enforcing the laws that *are* on the books.
    >
    > Part of it is that we just like to kill people, and we
    don't really
    > care.

    In CA, any of these cases would probably have resulted in a manslaughter charge, with at least some
    jail time if convicted.

    Matt O.
     
  8. Brent Hugh

    Brent Hugh Guest

    "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > "Brent Hugh" <[email protected]> wrote in message

    > > * The driver who negligently killed Suzie Stephens
    > received a $500
    > > fine.
    > >
    > > * The driver with 19 prior convictions who negligently
    > and
    > > recklessly killed cylist Mike Brady, received a suspended
    > sentence and
    > > did lose his driver's license for one whole year.
    > >
    > > * The driver who, just a few weeks ago, illegally raced
    > around other
    > > cars stopped at a crosswalk who were legally yielding, and
    > was
    > > traveling approximately 35 MPH in a posted school zone,
    > killing music
    > > student Pei Chen, was charged with a misdeamenor; probable
    > $500 fine.
    > >
    > > This list goes on and on.
    > >
    > > Part of it is that better laws must be written.
    > >
    > > Part of it is that police and prosecutors have no interest
    > in
    > > enforcing the laws that *are* on the books.
    > >
    > > Part of it is that we just like to kill people, and we
    > don't really
    > > care.
    >
    > In CA, any of these cases would probably have resulted in a manslaughter charge, with at least
    > some jail time if convicted.

    Interesting . . . do you think it is just a cultural difference?

    I haven't taken the time to look them up, but I would bet that the laws on the books for something
    like manslaughter, are not *that* different in California than here in Missouri.

    But around here you hear prosecutors saying a lot of things like, "We'll never convince a jury
    of X", where X is anything to do with serious consequences for killing someone with your
    automobile . . .

    --Brent bhugh @ mwsc.edu
     
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