Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sad, untimely deaths in bay area cycling.

I was still in LV when I read the very sad news regarding the two cyclists who died in an accident just this Sunday, where a deputy patrol car crossed a double yellow divider near Stevens Creek/Montebello, and collided head-on with the cyclists. It is indeed very sad that this has happened to two promising athletes, but indeed any nonsensical death or injury to anyone (pro, amateur, recreational rider) is one loss too many. Let us hold these two dear souls in our prayers, for their loved ones let us console them through our thoughts and kind words. The whole incident is still under investigation - the latest unofficial word is that the deputy fell asleep while driving.

Last week before all this happened, I was reading an article on professional rider David Zabriskie and he mentions in an interview how he has been involved in several car-bike accidents. Dave has ridden, trained in all parts of the world, but these accidents have all happened in the US of A. He is still feeling residual pain and limited movement on one of his legs from an accident where he broke several bones. There seems to be something in our culture where cyclists are more at risk than in any other place. I would like to extend heartfelt sympathy to the families and friends of our fallen fellow-cyclists.


BobbyG said...

Its unfortunate what has happened. This could happen to anyone of us who ride whether for recreation or commuting.

Our society for the most part has not taken the bicycle as a form of serious transportation. Is is considered by most a recreational toy. New and current drivers are not trained to expect a cyclist on the road.

Because we ride, we drive with more awareness of other cyclist on the road. I don't ever recall in any DMV test that even touch on the subject with regard to pedestrians/cyclists for that matter. I only am now aware of cyclist(s) because I ride.

I did read that article with Dave Zabriskie that you mention and I am trying to make change in my community by attending my city BPAC (Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Commission) meetings and voicing my concerns as a pedestrian and as cyclist.

Here is a good link that tests your awarness:

Think of all the drivers out there that are only trained to look out for other cars when you see this video. Its a scary thought.

Manny D said...

Well put, BobbyG. It does take a cyclist to know a cyclist. My older daughter makes fun of me since not too long ago when I was just a mere car driver, I would seethe at the sight of a cyclist and would mouth off childish complaints that they should not be on the road (blah blah blah), and now that I myself am a cyclist (e-Se clista to be exact), I'm very aware and careful when cyclists are on the road - giving them the respect & consideration that they deserve.

I'm glad you were able to read the article on David Z. Just as an FYI, here is a link to Dave Z's "Yield to Life" tips for cyclists. It's full of very useful advice, two of which I'm already guilty of breaking. It also has rules for motorists. Very nice read. Thanks.

MadoneLemon said...

FYI, Last note on the deputy; he got a DUI record in 2001.Probable cause would be another DUI.

Manny D said...

Thanks for the update Mr. Madone. Past actions should not determine future results as they say in financial prospectus, and I think this may apply to people who are given 2nd chances. If however, he did this second DUI it would be a potential major lawsuit against the Santa Clara PD, being that one of their finest was under the influence while working to supposedly enforce the law, and not break it. On this DUI scenario (not yet proven), and given that it was their (Santa Clara PD's) own, question is - would they even acknowledge the alcohol level in the deputy's blood at the time of the accident, which also begs the question - did they even perform a blood-alcohol test? In cases like this (not many I hope) there should be an independent investigator not affiliated with Santa Clara PD. I'm not sure who, but there's vested interest (big time) here to save face, save department. Until a complete investigation is done, it's hard to say what triggered this unfortunate event, and I truly hope it is done equitably and honestly as though a regular Joe ran through that double divider and not a deputy police.

There's also a 2nd scenario (which I mentioned in the initial post) that of dozing due to fatigue. I heard that the deputy was just coming off an earlier 12-hour shift and plunging straight into another shift; if this were the case it would undermine the potential fallout caused by sleep deprivation especially in jobs such as a deputy, which requires full mental awareness, and unhampered judgment.

This really looks ugly either way (DUI or fatigue due to consecutive shifts). With the carnage we've just witnessed, this should bring new/enhanced laws/education to the table - as BobbyG suggested perhaps a mandatory section in the driver's test/exam which runs through cyclist rights, and safe driving habits/scenarios when coexisting in the same space as cyclists. Since DMV is under the jurisdiction of the State, maybe we should start a writing campaign to Sacramento to revamp DMV education and training with regards to cyclists. Best regards.

johnV said...

So guys when we ride our bikes outthere becareful and safe especially on a tight road. ride on a singlefile and respect the street signs and traffic lights and used hand the drivers could see us.

MadoneLemon said...

I am just curious how he was hired with his 2 previous records of DUI. The 1st count would be alledgely being intoxicated while speeding and the 2nd having a BAC of 0.08%.As per the report, his father is also a police officer.(ahuh)(cynics). That was 7 years ago at 20 years old. He's 27 now.Well, I've encountered much older people who acted like a recycled teenagers.I am pretty much sure that this will be a topic with FFBC on there next meeting at the Silliman complex in Newark.