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Old 04-28-2013, 05:47 AM   #31
mrpete64
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kick a dog...

If your neighbor saw you "kicking your dog" you would get a longer sentence. Justice, in America, all comes down to this: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:54 AM   #32
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First of all colodak, I am very sorry for your loss. I know exactly what it feels like. My uncle was killed on his bike because a woman pulled out in front of him and the collision tore his aorta. He died from the internal bleeding at the hospital (after he held on long enough to say goodbye to my aunt). The feeling you get is very hard to deal with and at first I wanted this woman to spend her life in jail for it. When all the dust had settled, she faced a fine, and I think some driving suspensions. But my aunt... The one person who should have wanted this lady dead, seemed to have forgiveness in her. Why? Because it wouldn't bring her husband back.

And contrary to some of the bullshit psychology ramblings on this thread about how "we can't help it"... I would bet money on this lady looking VERY closely for bikes for the rest of her life. It will have an effect on her. Heavy punishment will NOT bring your friend back, and although it might keep this particular kid from doing it again, chances are he's screwed up enough from knowing they killed someone that they will be paying real close attention from now on. Whether they spend 30 days in jail or not. Punishing that 20 year old WILL NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM. It won't stop the next guy from running over a motorcyclist. Don't take the effect and make it the cause.

Yes he killed her. Yes it was an accident, not a murder. He didn't wake up and decide to kill a motorcyclist.

These things happen. I wish like hell they didn't. It could happen to me or you. He WILL remember it. If you say he'll go right back to his old ways, because that's what the studies show... Tell me.... How many human lives have you taken with your car? Or at all for that matter?

That being said, I feel if you want to focus on the problem, it's our system of "earning" a drivers license in the U.S. it's a joke how little you need to know. If you can fog a mirror and aren't blind you can get a license and older people don't have to "retake" their license test often enough. (or at all)

Contrary to the "psychology" behind people "not being able to see bikes", I would bet good money that if you took a very large sample of both people who just drive cars, and us (people who ride bikes and drive cars) the number or percentage of drivers who have killed a motorcyclist Would be staggeringly lower for people who also ride bikes. Do we have some sort of genetic mutation that enables us to see movement better?

And don't say they can't help it, for some reason those of us who also ride can help it. That's a shitty defeatist attitude. (i know the op didnt write this) But that in no way means that he meant to kill the guy. Saying he MIGHT have been able to prevent it doesn't change a damn thing about the past. IT'S CALLED AN ACCIDENT BECAUSE IT WAS ACCIDENT. As in not intentional. Forgiveness will help heal the pain. Believe me.

As far as I'm concerned... It is too easy to get a license, there are stupid people and distracted drivers (especially now w phones). Make sure your skills are sharp and your ready for them.

Personal responsibility goes both ways. We must know that we're hard to see and we won't fare well if hit by a cage. Ride as if every single one of them wants to kill you and you will have a good chance at not being a statistic.

Again, colodak, I am very sorry for your loss and my intention is not to offend you. I am just speaking from a little bit of personal experience.

Remember the good things about your friend and the good times and he will stay with you always. That kid can't bring him back and neither can a judge.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:14 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by E.O.T.D. View Post
And don't say they can't help it, for some reason those of us who also ride can help it. That's a shitty defeatist attitude. (i know the op didnt write this) But that in no way means that he meant to kill the guy. Saying he MIGHT have been able to prevent it doesn't change a damn thing about the past. IT'S CALLED AN ACCIDENT BECAUSE IT WAS ACCIDENT. As in not intentional. Forgiveness will help heal the pain. Believe me.
That's a good point about riders would most definitely have fewer SMIDSYs. My head snaps to bikes in my peripheral vision and I don't even realize I am looking at one until my head is already turned sometimes. Weird instinct...

If the driver had been able to do something to prevent it, and it is his due diligence based on driver education in this country that he should have done this thing, then he should be charged with manslaughter to make an example for other drivers who are also not doing this thing that would help prevent SMIDSY accidents. Doing so would reduce the SMIDSY incidents, the punishment would have an effect(despite your contention it only makes the offender's life worse). There's a huge difference between him being able to do something and screwing up and not being able to do anything about it.

Unfortunately, it isn't bullshit psychology that humans literally cannot see bikes sometimes and you can test motion blindness yourself on that MSF link posted earlier. It is an absolute fact that humans cannot see everything all the time, even when it is right in front of their face and they are trying to see it. There are coping strategies to allow us to overcome this weakness, scanning the horizon focusing on multiple points, changing our vantage point by moving around a bit etc etc. However none of this is taught to regular drivers or is in the DMV tests, so nobody can claim a driver did not perform his due diligence by looking left right and left again. Given that fact, you cannot prosecute someone based on the fact they are human and possess a visual detection system that has inherent flaws.

Edit: once those techniques are taught and required knowledge on the license tests, then that opens the door to manslaughter charges for every single SMIDSY accident on the road. At that point a SMIDSY becomes the result of negligence, and not a fault of the human vision system. This would seriously reduce SMIDSY accidents by a huge %.

shaddix screwed with this post 04-28-2013 at 08:23 AM
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:58 AM   #34
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Very tragic accident, that's all I can say about that. My heart goes out to his family. I also feel for the kid who hit him. Even if he was being careless (i.e. not *looking*) I doubt he meant to kill anyone and if he's not a sociopath this incident has probably destroyed him. He did an incredibly stupid thing. It doesn't excuse not looking properly for things in your path.
I don't think there's any excuse to not see someone or something in the road (be it a pedestrian, cyclist, biker, another car, or whatever). Ok, maybe motion blindness actually works the same way that an optical illusion designed to create it does. Maybe. Where are the studies? I would like to see some real world studies where people have actually failed to see oncoming objects in a driving situation. I am willing to bet a lot of the people who claim "I didn't see him" are telling a half truth, the other half being "I didn't really look closely enough", or, even more likely, "I thought he was further away". Those mistakes are driving mistakes, not inborn human perception problems.
The reason you look both ways in traffic - every single competent person in the world knows this - is not to look for "danger", or just another car, it's to look to see if anything is coming. You are looking to see if the road is empty, and if not, to judge the speed of what's coming. You shouldn't have to be told that in driver's ed. You're told to look. What that means is self-evident.
I think all drivers have the potential to do the same thing. The drivers that are vigilant of things in the road, that take the time to look properly (left, right, back to the left, at minimum) I think will have much fewer incidents than those who glance and roll.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:48 AM   #35
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I say we advocate for locomotive type lighting, (spiraling spotlight) being added as standard equipment on bikes. Then if someone pulls a SMIDSY ........throw the book at them!
Make the SMIDSY impossible to claim as a defence. "Your honor my client would like to plead not guilty due to the fact he thought it was a train that he was pulling in front of, not a motorcycle."
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:29 PM   #36
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A Better Answer

Idaho STAR published this about a year ago: http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=...&id=b82c54e557

Worth a read.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:39 PM   #37
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There are two reasons to have a harsh penalty for such killings:

1. Deterrent. I don't buy into the idea that there is nothing we can do as a society. We can make the penalty so harsh that it forces people to change their behavior. We want people to take driving seriously and not as a passive event like stirring coffee. We want people to be a LOT more serious when they get behind the wheel. We want them to have situational awareness as a primary goal when driving.

A friend of mine once suggested that the number of red light runners would be cut to zero if 10% of all airbags were loaded with swords. Everybody would know that if they ran into somebody, there would be a 10% chance that instead of a life-saving airbag, a sword would pierce their heart. That is the kind of punishment that is required to change attitudes about driving. No, of course the sword thing isn't serious, but VERY harsh penalties for continuing to drive the way we do as a society could have an effect.

2. Retribution. This is society's need to feel like somebody has paid for a crime. It is why we still need the death penalty. We (collectively), need to know that the harm caused is matched by the right penalty against the perpetrator. No, it will not bring back the dead but it will bring a feeling of justice to those who are dealing with the loss.

That's my two cents anyway. Take it for what its worth.
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Old 04-29-2013, 02:16 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffy109 View Post
There are two reasons to have a harsh penalty for such killings:

1. Deterrent. I don't buy into the idea that there is nothing we can do as a society. We can make the penalty so harsh that it forces people to change their behavior. We want people to take driving seriously and not as a passive event like stirring coffee. We want people to be a LOT more serious when they get behind the wheel. We want them to have situational awareness as a primary goal when driving.

A friend of mine once suggested that the number of red light runners would be cut to zero if 10% of all airbags were loaded with swords. Everybody would know that if they ran into somebody, there would be a 10% chance that instead of a life-saving airbag, a sword would pierce their heart. That is the kind of punishment that is required to change attitudes about driving. No, of course the sword thing isn't serious, but VERY harsh penalties for continuing to drive the way we do as a society could have an effect.

2. Retribution. This is society's need to feel like somebody has paid for a crime. It is why we still need the death penalty. We (collectively), need to know that the harm caused is matched by the right penalty against the perpetrator. No, it will not bring back the dead but it will bring a feeling of justice to those who are dealing with the loss.

That's my two cents anyway. Take it for what its worth.
Here in MI, causing a death while DUI is now prosecuted as second degree murder. They immediately will have the offender blood tested for alcohol. We had a case where a man ran into a car and killed a woman and her two kids, then tested at .32 BAC! He's now in prison for at least 20 years before he can even be considered for parole.

One problem now is that there are more hit-and-run incidents than before, especially those involving pedestrians, because once the driver's out of sight he can't be prosecuted for DUI.
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:36 PM   #39
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Here in MI, causing a death while DUI is now prosecuted as second degree murder. They immediately will have the offender blood tested for alcohol. We had a case where a man ran into a car and killed a woman and her two kids, then tested at .32 BAC! He's now in prison for at least 20 years before he can even be considered for parole.

One problem now is that there are more hit-and-run incidents than before, especially those involving pedestrians, because once the driver's out of sight he can't be prosecuted for DUI.
Yep, I think sentencing has to take into account whether its punishment won't escalate the crime, for e.g., rape does not carry as harsh a penalty as murder because then there would be very little "incentive" to leave a victim alive (if you murder them then you are less likely to be caught, but the penalty will be the same).
Maybe it's a good thing that there are less harsh penalties for certain things, especially ones that were not intentional. People might stick around at the scene instead of running off.
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:27 PM   #40
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My 2 cents worth; my own son had a drinking/substance abuse problem as a young adult. Never killed anybody mind you, but definitely trouble. After 3 DUI's the state took his driver's license. That was eleven years ago. In October 2015 they'll let him try to get it back. Point being he was a danger on the road. A driver who has killed a biker that was lawfully operating a motorcycle and told the judge that crap about ''I didn't see him'' has effectively admitted to being incompetent to drive. In the face of my son's experience I personally feel that such an individual should lose their driving PRIVELEGE long term and screw the consequences to their personal life.

Wait til they meet the handicap that not having the right to drive anywhere...
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:59 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by shaddix View Post

The point I am trying to make is that the experts on these types of accidents say there is nothing the driver could have done to allow him to see the biker. And everyone on the road is capable of doing this. It would be like charging someone for manslaughter when they had an epileptic seizure or a sudden aneurism and ran a bike off the road in the process.
I hope a LEO joins this discussion. He will tell you that motorists will crash into/pull out in front of a police motorcycle or car with reflective decals and displaying flashing red and blue lights.

The reason why the cager did not see the biker is he did not look and pay attention. Research with eye movement detectors show that cagers do not look at the road (ie are not actually driving) for 11% of a journey.

I do not understand why human life is so cheap in law when we are talking about vehicle deaths. Can someone explain?
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:19 AM   #42
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John,
Laws vary from state to state. In some states, to be considered DUI-Drugs, you have to have a certain concentration in your blood. similar to the BAC for alcohol. In states where drug use is illegal, ANY amount is enough to be considered DUI-Drugs. This also accounts for prescription meds. A fatality accident with DUI can be a very serious crime in many states.

However, lawmakers reason out that in 99% of those accidents, they are just that... accidents. Without intent, most cases will not rise to the level of felony. Most will be misdemeanors on one level or another.

It doesn't take a LEO to tell you that there are careless idiots everywhere, and yes they pull into the path of emergency vehicles all the time. Most times, the operator of the vehicle is alert enough to avoid a collision... or just lucky.

To me, whether a driver sees the other vehicle or not carries very little weight. One must yield to another who has right of way. Failure to do so is in violation of the law. Period. When we write the tickets, we understand the "I didn't mean to" plea... but it does not excuse the offense. I hope that the case goes before a non-jury trial. You never know what a jury will do.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:57 AM   #43
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Contrary to the "psychology" behind people "not being able to see bikes", I would bet good money that if you took a very large sample of both people who just drive cars, and us (people who ride bikes and drive cars) the number or percentage of drivers who have killed a motorcyclist Would be staggeringly lower for people who also ride bikes. Do we have some sort of genetic mutation that enables us to see movement better?
No, it's because we are riders and are much more inclined to LOOK FOR and SEE motorcycles. A) Because we're riders and aware that there are motorcycles on the road and B) because we have an interest in them so they are much more likely to attract our attention.

Here's a good example: Several years ago my brother threatened to take up riding. Of course I recommended that the first thing he do was take the BRC - which he did and he passed. Several days after completing it he told me that he had had no idea how many motorcycles were actually on the road. Of course it was the same number both before and after he took the BRC but his interest in them had changed his awareness of them on the road and his brain was much less inclined to miss them when processing what he saw.
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:45 AM   #44
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[/QUOTE]

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I don't have a criminal mind, but if I had one, I would take into account the chance I wouldn't get caught as well, as far as murdering goes.
You don't have a criminal mind at least in part BECAUSE you take into account consequences beyond the next 10 minutes to 24 hours.

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I would be surprised if deliberate murders didn't go up if the country abolished the death penalty and surprised if it didn't go down if every state adopted it.
Do some reading. It really shouldn't come as a surprise to you that criminal minds think in quite different ways to you.

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With these SMIDSY deaths, the drives aren't calculating anything, they never intended or desired to kill anyone, unlike a murderer.
While this may be true of some planned murders; in many cases an otherwise likeable idiot suffers a rush of blood to the head and does something incredibly stupid. For example, advertising aimed at getting people to look after their drunk mates in public is designed to reduce assaults by drunks.

But getting back to your main point, drivers:

Quote:
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So on one hand, there's no deterrent needed.
There was a proposal a while back to dramatically increase penalties against car drivers who open car doors in front of cyclists. At the time I wrote:
Unlike speeding or running red lights, accidental "dooring" of cyclists is something no one sets out to do.
How many of us have any idea what the fine for driving on the wrong side of the road is? We don't drive on the left simply because we might get fined for driving on the right, and the few who do are typically foreign tourists having a brainfade.
Likewise, for the vast majority of motorists and right side back seat passengers, the prospect of injuring a cyclist with a door is quite sufficient motivation not to do so, and the prospect of a fine will make no difference to behaviour.
In safety terms, dooring is not a deliberate act in defiance of safety rules, it's a true lapse of attention. As such, the problem is likely to respond to advertising and awareness campaigns (which cost money) and less likely to respond to increased penalties after the event (which do not cost money) without any attempt to improve awareness.
A single TAC* advertisment addressing the issue would make far more difference than increasing a fine which people will only find out about when they've already done the deed.
*TAC is the Transport Accident Commission; the Government organisation that manages compulsory transport accident injury insurance in my state. They have very considerable input into road safety policy as well as funding high profile road safety awareness advertisments on the basis that they pay for themselves in reduced claims. If you're not an Aussie, you may still have seen TAC advertisments on youtube.

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Additionally to that, their minds literally do not register the bike being there, so even if the death penalty was applied to it, it would not make a difference, they're still going to kill the biker. What does severely penalizing the driver do? Costs more tax dollars, that's about all. They aren't a dangerous driver, all drivers are dangerous, what does it matter which one takes you out?
Penalties stop people doing things they might otherwise decide to do.
Education helps make people think about the consequences of doing things they think are harmless, or of forgetting to do things they may think are unimportant, like consciously having a good hard look for motorcyclists.
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:55 AM   #45
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I know legislating behavior is a tricky thing and often doesn't work and even creates unintended consequences. I still think we need to look carefully to figure out a way to create better situational awareness of all drivers on the road. The reason we see better isn't because our vision is better. It is because we have trained our minds that the consequences for inattentiveness is severe. This means we tend to be better drivers as well as riders.

So how do we make the consequences of inattentive driving severed enough to make people change their behavior? Car makers haven't helped because cars are so much safer today. There is little risk of personal injury in a car if the passengers are wearing seatbelts. The moral code that would cause guilt for taking the life of a biker is reducing all the time as is the moral code for just about everything else. So what is left? How do we make people pay more attention? I think it is time to make legal consequences so harsh that people have it at the front of their mind every time they start the engine.
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