AG: Dead Right
rOn Mon, 5 Feb 2018 11:46:52 -0500, Frank Krygowski
On 2/4/2018 9:31 PM, John B. wrote:
Of course, to put a different slant on the story it is equally
accurate to state that the average poster here is incompetent to
discuss the legal system and its derivatives as used in the U.S. and
its various states. Witness how many times when a bicycle and an auto
come in violent contact the cry "Off with his head echoes through the
realm. If one attempts to interject a little reality, like, "is there
any evidence what took place? Any witnesses? Can a case be made? There
is an immediate outcry, generally in the vein of "bicycle got hit it
must be the auto's fault. No other possibility exists.
The interesting thing is that although the cyclist is often found to
be at fault - breaking traffic rules, drunk, etc., no one seems to
admit that it is very possible that the major problem with the
question of bicycle safety is the people that ride them. Nope, we
argue that all we have to do is build another MUP and everybody will
be safe as safe can be.
Reality is a terrible thing to have to face.
"Paint & Path" advocates are skilled at _not_ facing reality.
But regarding the "off with his head" cries about motorists that kill or
seriously injure bicyclists: I think the most common complaint is that
the current U.S. system absolves drivers far, far too easily. There are
countless examples of drivers who merely say "I didn't see the
bicyclist" and thereby let off the hook. If a cyclist had legal
equipment (IOW, legal lights and reflectors at night; you shouldn't need
anything special to ride in daylight) then that statement should be
taken as an confession of guilt. When you drive, it's your JOB to see
where you're going; and that's true even if it's dark, if the sun is too
bright, if it's foggy - whatever.
And it's not only "I didn't see him." No matter the details of a
car-bike crash, the default assumption is that the motorist is a fine
person who just made a mistake. Unless he was drunk, drugged or 20 mph
over the speed limit, even if convicted the motorist who kills a cyclist
or pedestrian will pay just a couple hundred dollars and do some
community service. That's wrong, in my view.
But doesn't this echo the current U.S. attitude that evil doers are a
victim of their environment, or some other nambi-pambi excuse? After
all, it couldn't have been his fault. If the 7-11 hadn't had all that
money they wouldn't have gotten robbed.
I'm in favor of changing the default assumptions. Let's assume that the
person operating the obviously more deadly piece of machinery must
exercise as much care as, say, a person carrying a loaded AR-15 into a
shopping mall. Or an operator of a fork lift or an overhead crane in a
busy factory. If one of those people hurts someone, the assumption is
that _they_ screwed up. Their license was supposed to demonstrate
sufficient training, and their training was supposed to prevent hurting
an innocent victim, even if the victim made a mistake.
But aren't you the one I had a discussion about executing murderers or
some similar subject. As I remember you felt it was cruel and should
Isn't that kind treatment toward those who made a mistake or perhaps
didn't notice the cyclist simply an extension of that thinking.
I would take a rather jaundiced view to your comment "even if the
victim made a mistake" as making the mistake of not noticing the red
light and swooping our into 8 lanes of traffic may not be an innocent
act that should be ignored.
If a bicyclist truly did something unavoidable - say, riding no-lights
facing traffic on a dark night, or blasting through a stop sign directly
in front of a moving car - then the motorist should be allowed to defend
himself. But in other cases - "I didn't see him" or "He swerved in front
of me" - the motorist should be assumed guilty.
And I'm not asking for prison time. But I firmly believe those motorists
should never, ever be allowed to operate a motor vehicle again. Legally,
perhaps make that a condition of their parole. And if they are found to
violate that parole condition, then yes, they do go to prison.
- Frank Krygowski
But Frank, those poor bedeviled motorists work 60 miles from their
home and loss of a driver's license means loss of a job.
Not that long ago killing someone fell under a very few
classifications - murder, manslaughter, etc, and in nearly all cases
resulted in prison time or worse. Now, from what I read here, auto
"accidents" result in 24 hours of community duty and a 60 dollar fine.
My own feeling is that the U.S. has lost sight of the fact that
basically penalties are not, in essence, simply punishment for being a
bad person but historically have been intended as a deterrent and that
a legal system was intended to protect society from individuals, not
individuals from society.
Imagine if the penalty for a motor vehicle "accident" were changed to
execution of the individual at fault. Do you think it would have an
effect on the numbers of "Accidents".
I enclose accidents in quotes as, at least since 1931, when W.H.
Heinrich developed the so-called domino theory, 88% of all accidents
have been considered as being caused by unsafe acts of people, 10% by
unsafe actions and 2% by acts of God.
I find it strange that Industrial Safety still uses those figures
while Traffic Safety apparently ignores them.