Long Island Cyclist Killed. No Charges Brought.

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Art Harris, Jan 23, 2003.

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  1. Art Harris

    Art Harris Guest

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  2. Comutrbob

    Comutrbob Guest

    "A bus in the intersection probably blocked Louros from seeing Schmitt, Sternesky said."

    This galls the daylights out of me. I just got home from physical therapy for the broken hip, pelvis
    and ankle I suffered in THE EXACT SAME situation. It is the left-turning driver's responsibility to
    be sure the right-of-way is clear and that it is safe to proceed before they make their turn. The
    presence or lack of presence of the bus is completely irrelevant.

    I'm more than thankful that the county deputy who responded in my situation was aware of that and
    enforced the law properly -- citing the teenage driver for failure to yield right-of-way and
    inattentive driving.

    My heart goes out to the poor man who died. What message does it send to drivers when this sort of
    thing goes without so much as a citation?

    Bob C.
     
  3. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On 10 Jan 2003 04:30:35 -0800, [email protected] (Art Harris) wrote:

    >http://www.newsday.com/mynews/ny-lifata093080163jan09.story

    Sad. Obviously no blame attaches to the driver, as her sight line was apparently blocked -
    presumably the only alternative to proceeding at risk to anyone who happened to be in the way would
    have been slowing down or stopping, which is not to be considered.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  4. Mike Z

    Mike Z Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On 10 Jan 2003 04:30:35 -0800, [email protected] (Art Harris) wrote:
    >
    > >http://www.newsday.com/mynews/ny-lifata093080163jan09.story
    >
    > Sad. Obviously no blame attaches to the driver, as her sight line was apparently blocked -
    > presumably the only alternative to proceeding at risk to anyone who happened to be in the way
    > would have been slowing down or stopping, which is not to be considered.
    >
    > Guy
    > ===
    > ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    > dynamic DNS permitting)
    > NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    > work. Apologies.

    Don't write the Law enforcement folks off just yet. The article was written only the day after he
    died. Typically if there is a motor Vehicle accident that looks like the injured party might not
    survive, the person at fault is not charged with a traffic violation or crime until the injured
    party is "out of the woods" or passes away. I was told that it had something to do with double
    jeopardy, Where the person can pay the traffic fine and then not be tried again (criminally) for the
    same offence if the person dies. They can still be held liable in civil court either way.

    Mike Z
     
  5. Ray Heindl

    Ray Heindl Guest

    [email protected] (Tom Kunich) wrote:

    > "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    >> On 10 Jan 2003 04:30:35 -0800, [email protected] (Art Harris) wrote:
    >>
    >> >http://www.newsday.com/mynews/ny-lifata093080163jan09.story
    >>
    >> Sad. Obviously no blame attaches to the driver, as her sight line was apparently blocked -
    >> presumably the only alternative to proceeding at risk to anyone who happened to be in the way
    >> would have been slowing down or stopping, which is not to be considered.
    >
    > Obviously your sarcasm is going to be missed by most of the other posters.

    That's why Guy's sig includes the line "** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of
    irony." From what I gather, irony in the UK (where I believe Guy resides) is equivalent to
    sarcasm in the US.

    --
    Ray Heindl
     
  6. Hunrobe

    Hunrobe Guest

    >[email protected] (Art Harris)

    wrote in part:

    >cyclist died this week after being hit by a left turning car.

    I don't mean to pick on Art personally but since this accurately summarizes *all* that we know about
    the fatal crash, why bother to post it? There is simply not enough detailed information in the news
    article to make anything like an informed decision as to fault/blame/responsibility. In case the
    link becomes unavailable, here's that news article's entire description of the crash:

    "He died yesterday, about nine hours after a car hit him while he was riding his bike near West John
    Street and Jerusalem Avenue in Hicksville Tuesday afternoon, Nassau police said. About 5 p.m.,
    Christine Louros, 26, of East Meadow, was driving a 1994 Hyundai, turning left onto Jerusalem
    Avenue, when she hit Schmitt, said Second Squad Det. Len Sternesky."

    What we don't know: Which street was the decedent riding on? Were the decedent and the driver
    travelling in the same direction? Opposite but parallel directions? Are there were any traffic
    control devices at that intersection? Were any devices present functioning properly? Did either the
    driver or the decedent disobey those devices? Assigning blame without having answers to even these
    very basic questions serves no purpose beyond revealing our own individual bias. Since this is a
    cycling NG it's probably fair to say that most here tend to have a pro-bike bias.

    Regards, Bob Hunt
     
  7. Rnh17

    Rnh17 Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On 10 Jan 2003 04:30:35 -0800, [email protected] (Art Harris) wrote:
    >
    > >http://www.newsday.com/mynews/ny-lifata093080163jan09.story
    >
    > Sad. Obviously no blame attaches to the driver, as her sight line was apparently blocked -
    > presumably the only alternative to proceeding at risk to anyone who happened to be in the way
    > would have been slowing down or stopping, which is not to be considered.
    >
    If her sight line was "apparently" it doesn't follow that she's "obviously" blameless. And why is
    slowing down not to be considered?
     
  8. Tom Kunich

    Tom Kunich Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On 10 Jan 2003 04:30:35 -0800, [email protected] (Art Harris) wrote:
    >
    > >http://www.newsday.com/mynews/ny-lifata093080163jan09.story
    >
    > Sad. Obviously no blame attaches to the driver, as her sight line was apparently blocked -
    > presumably the only alternative to proceeding at risk to anyone who happened to be in the way
    > would have been slowing down or stopping, which is not to be considered.

    Obviously your sarcasm is going to be missed by most of the other posters.
     
  9. Rich Clark

    Rich Clark Guest

    "rnh17" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > On 10 Jan 2003 04:30:35 -0800, [email protected] (Art Harris) wrote:
    > >
    > > >http://www.newsday.com/mynews/ny-lifata093080163jan09.story
    > >
    > > Sad. Obviously no blame attaches to the driver, as her sight line was apparently blocked -
    > > presumably the only alternative to proceeding at risk to anyone who happened to be in the way
    > > would have been slowing down or stopping, which is not to be considered.
    > >
    > If her sight line was "apparently" it doesn't follow that she's
    "obviously"
    > blameless. And why is slowing down not to be considered?

    You misse the invisible /sarcasm switch.

    Don't we all understand that when you drive, if you're forced to slow down you lose points? And
    everybody is playing for points, which are cashed in at heaven's gate (God being a NASCAR driver).

    RichC
     
  10. On Mon, 13 Jan 2003 01:52:25 GMT in rec.bicycles.misc, "rnh17" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > If her sight line was "apparently" it doesn't follow that she's "obviously" blameless.

    She's obviously blameless because she was going straight and had the right of way. The driver made a
    left turn into her, which is why he's at fault.
     
  11. Rich Clark <[email protected]> wrote:
    : Don't we all understand that when you drive, if you're forced to slow down you lose points? And
    : everybody is playing for points, which are cashed in at heaven's gate (God being a NASCAR driver).

    just how many points is it for a cyclist, anyway? must be an awful lot.
    --
    david reuteler [email protected]
     
  12. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    12 Jan 2003 05:14:33 GMT, <[email protected]>, [email protected]
    (Hunrobe) wrote:

    >>[email protected] (Art Harris)
    >
    >wrote in part:
    >
    >>cyclist died this week after being hit by a left turning car.
    >
    >I don't mean to pick on Art personally but since this accurately summarizes *all* that we know
    >about the fatal crash, why bother to post it? There is simply not enough detailed information in
    >the news article to make anything like an informed decision as to fault/blame/responsibility. In
    >case the link becomes unavailable, here's that news article's entire description of the crash:
    >
    >"He died yesterday, about nine hours after a car hit him while he was riding his bike near West
    >John Street and Jerusalem Avenue in Hicksville Tuesday afternoon, Nassau police said. About 5 p.m.,
    >Christine Louros, 26, of East Meadow, was driving a 1994 Hyundai, turning left onto Jerusalem
    >Avenue, when she hit Schmitt, said Second Squad Det. Len Sternesky."
    >
    >What we don't know: Which street was the decedent riding on? Were the decedent and the driver
    >travelling in the same direction? Opposite but parallel directions? Are there were any traffic
    >control devices at that intersection? Were any devices present functioning properly? Did either the
    >driver or the decedent disobey those devices? Assigning blame without having answers to even these
    >very basic questions serves no purpose beyond revealing our own individual bias. Since this is a
    >cycling NG it's probably fair to say that most here tend to have a pro-bike bias.
    >
    >Regards, Bob Hunt

    Good work detective. From that we know it was almost dark and she was turning left. Weather and
    lights, or lack of them, aren't mentioned. I'd like to know whether she initiated the turn from a
    stopped or from a moving condition and how fast she was travelling when she hit him.

    The way the story constructs, in my head, he was travelling in an opposite but parallel direction on
    roads with traffic signals. It sounds like he'd just been passed by the bus "in" the intersection.
    She'd probably not been able to see him as he was screened by the bus before the intersection. I'm
    guessing she'd timed her turn just behind the bus, perhaps narrowly in front of cars approaching the
    intersection behind Shmidtt. It's a classic trap he might not have been able to see setting up
    because of his proximity to the bus.

    If the facts fit the scenario then I'd figure the driver was 100% at fault. Being a cynic, I'd
    figure if Schmidtt had survived he'd be assigned some share of responsibility by the insurance
    companies even if he were in full compliance with the law.

    When I've found myself in situations as I've described, I'll usually do a shoulder check to see if
    there are cars close enough behind to preclude the possible conflicting left turn. Stale yellow
    lights are bad for increasing the likelihood of it happening.

    I've used varying strategies in the situation, depending on mood and terrain:
    a) Sometimes standing and sprinting to clear the intersection with the bus as my screen and
    being prepared to brake/negotiate/avoid the bus heading for the curb and a possible stop
    immediately after.
    b) Slowing prepared to stop, just in case and to give a left turning driver more than a two second
    to see me, mindful that stopping may be the likely option if the sun angles are causing glare.
    c) Altering my pace to allow following traffic to catch up and be my physical screen from
    conflicting left turns.

    I know that when traffic is steady I'm more likely to encounter drivers not "seeing" me when I'm
    approaching an intersection during a blank spot in the flow. They're focusing on cars. Left-turns,
    right turns from cross streets and driveways or cars turning out from a parking spot are all more
    likely to jump in front of a bike if they don't see a car close-by so figure it's their "break" in
    traffic. It's predictable.

    Be that as it may, I particularly liked this about Schmidtt.

    "I would offer him a ride home from church," Plunkett said. "But it could be two degrees out and he
    wouldn't get in the car."

    I think it says something about Plunkett's driving he was too polite to ever voice.

    RIP Robert Schmidtt, Wheelman.
    --
    zk
     
  13. Art Harris

    Art Harris Guest

    Hunrobe wrote:
    > I don't mean to pick on Art personally but since this accurately summarizes *all* that we know
    > about the fatal crash, why bother to post it? There is simply not enough detailed information in
    > the news article to make anything like an informed decision as to fault/blame/responsibility.

    I partially agree with this, and I certainly would like to have seen more details in the article.
    The whole tone of the article was more of a human interest story about a lonely old hermit that had
    an unfortunate accident, rather than a true news report.

    But the police officer made no mention of the cyclist doing anything wrong, and stated that the
    probable cause was the motorist's blocked view. To me, if a motorist's view is blocked, it's his/her
    obligation to make sure the way is clear before proceding.

    Art Harris
     
  14. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    14 Jan 2003 02:37:43 GMT, <[email protected]>, [email protected]
    (Hunrobe) wrote:

    >My point is simply this- sufficient facts to draw any conclusions simply aren't in the article.
    >Let's not assign blame to *either* party involved based solely on our bias.
    >
    >Regards, Bob Hunt

    The conclusion I reached was based on traffic situations commuter cyclists deal with daily while
    riding legally. The scenario was based on my experience as a law abiding traffic savvy cyclist
    in my town.

    I believe my point was that's it's understandable how an experienced cyclist riding normally can get
    creamed by a driver driving normally.

    I was using the opportunity to share what I've learned about avoiding putting myself in the position
    I'd constructed with the scenario.

    I did run through other possible scenarios and road configurations similar to those you proposed and
    concluded there are ways in which a driver could hit and kill a cyclist and not be at fault before
    the law. While I find myself choking on those words, I did not assign blame to either party under
    any circumstances outside the situation I'd proposed.
    --
    zk
     
  15. "Art Harris" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hunrobe wrote:

    ...
    > But the police officer made no mention of the cyclist doing anything wrong, and stated that the
    > probable cause was the motorist's blocked view. To me, if a motorist's view is blocked, it's
    > his/her obligation to make sure the way is clear before proceding.
    >
    > Art Harris

    Half the time it means what you say, the other it means that the police officer doesn't take the
    bicyclist serious and doesn't expect much from a cyclist in traffic. The latter fits a cyclist
    moving along side a slow bus or paused and coming out into the intersection from the right side of
    the bus. The 'bikes as toys' crowd wouldn't consider that remarkable in a literal sense and would
    look to the driver as the only one to have any control over the situation. Unfortunately, the 'bikes
    as toys' crowd have some of their most serious supporters in the 'bikes at no fault' crowd. Both
    would have us powerless and victims on the road.

    We need more details to pretend to know what really happened.

    Curtis L. Russell Odenton, MD (USA)
     
  16. "ComutrBob" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > My heart goes out to the poor man who died. What message does it send to drivers when this sort of
    > thing goes without so much as a citation?
    >

    The message is pretty clear to me by watching how people drive.
     
  17. Gocycle

    Gocycle Guest

    Whenever a fatal MVA occurs, the facts must be presented to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles. The hearing
    examiner is responsible for making a decision as it relates to drivers license status. Of course,
    this will take into consideration the facts presented by the officer. In this case, maybe the
    situation presented itself as truly enviromental or accidental in nature and though unfortunate,
    resulted in NO CRIMINAL charges. This of course does not alleviate the driver of civil suits. At
    these hearings, there are lawyers coming out of the woodwork. One for the victim, one for the
    victims family, one for the defense and one for the defendants insurance company.

    Luigi
     
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