Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cyclists as victims

Justin Liszanckie in the hospital after the crash. Photo: Liszanckie's mother.
Another injured cyclist

In its daily Today's Headlines feature, SF Streetsblog lists an SF Gate story (2 Bay Area bicyclists killed over a 14 hour spanabout two cyclists dying in street accidents: "Cyclists Killed in Santa Rosa and Fairfield–--Victims Immediately Blamed."

Reading the story shows that apparently the two cyclists were responsible for their own deaths. Maybe later information will show that's incorrect, but that's the only information Streetsblog and its readers had.

The implication of Streetsblog's interpretation: Whenever a cyclist dies in a traffic accident, he/she is by definition a "victim."

I've written before about Streetsblog's grotesque traffic war assumption.

In an account of the accident that injured the guy pictured above, after recounting other cycling accidents, Streetsblog offers some advice:

So where does this leave cyclists? It’s a pretty grim situation that screams that cyclists simply must have video cameras lashed onto their bikes and helmets. Depending on luck isn’t a good strategy. Streetsblog readers will recall the case of Tim Doyle, who was riding in the bike lane when an SFPD cruiser jinked into it, putting him in the hospital. Imagine how that would have played out if not for a good Samaritan motorist with a dash cam? [Attorney Michael]Stephenson also recommends that cyclists, if they are hit, make sure to collect and save evidence (Are San Francisco Cyclists Guilty Until Proven Innocent?).

Yes, cyclists can mount cameras on their bikes and gather evidence after they are in an accident, but after you are hit is often too late.

The idea is not to be hit or have a fall in the first place. A realistic sense of that danger means you shouldn't ride a bike. It's an intrinsically unsafe way to get around. Don't do it! Don't be another "victim" in a Streetsblog story!

And the danger is not all about motor vehicles. Most cycling accidents are solo falls that don't involve other vehicles.

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