In Eugene, You Can Kill a Pedestrian While Driving Drunk and be Charged With a Misdemeanor

Sometimes you don’t even have to pay a $1,000 fine in order to kill a pedestrian with your car in Eugene.  Sometimes you will just be charged with a DUII misdemeanor, but not manslaughter or murder.  On July 24th Dallin Steward (19) was driving drunk and killed Nicholas Tendick (32) as he was crossing the Ferry Street Bridge near Club Rd.  It was dark (10 pm) and judging by the lack of criminal charges, it seems the police are blaming Tendick.

If this was the end of it I wouldn’t be bitching about it.  Sometimes people do jump in front of your car and it’s not 100% your fault for hitting them (although unless your job requires it, it is your fault that you chose to drive that day rather than take the bus or ride a bike. Hell, I had a guy on bike cut me off when I was riding 20mph near Willamette and 32nd and we collided, but we both were fine because I’d chosen to ride a bike and not drive that day. If I’d been in a car the biker would have been dead.  I saved his life with my choice to bike and not drive.)

However, Steward was drunk.  If he had been sober he could possibly have seen or avoided Tendick and saved his life.  However, he wasn’t.  He was drunk. Drunk drunk drunk drunk.  He killed a man while driving drunk, and all he is getting is a slap on the wrist.  Whatever happened to automatically being at fault when driving drunk?  If Steward had chosen to drive sober, or better yet ridden a bike, taken a taxi, called friend, or taken a bus home, Tendick could still be alive.

This is yet another example of the disgusting “it could happen to me” car culture BS that we have in this country.  When you choose to drive a car you put everyone around you at risk of death or grave injury.  This is a fact. If you, like me, feel that this is unacceptable, DRIVE LESS and when you have to drive, DRIVE BETTERCars are not healthy for children and other living things.

In Eugene, a human life is worth $1,000

Michael Devon Alston was driving carelessly on November 29th, 2012 when he made a right turn in broad daylight off 18th street onto Chambers and killed pedestrian Tamara Kay Glenn.  Alston’s only penalty after pleading guilty to careless driving that lead to the death of Tamara is paying a $1,000 fine.  This is the same proposed fine that you get for talking on a cell phone while driving, stripping in an airport, having a loud party on campus, or littering.

That’s right, driving carelessly and killing someone with your car is the same at littering in Eugene.  This is car culture at it worst.  How can we pretend to be a bike and pedestrian friendly town and let this slide?

This sentence is a result of the typical “oh, it could happen to me!” attitude of other car drivers (like the judge).  Well you’re right, IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU, which is why when you drive a car you should drive with FEAR in your heart that you may kill someone. Treat cars like loaded guns.  They are not safe in any way.  Every time you drive you put the lives of everyone around you in danger, but rarely your own.  We need to change that. Screw up driving, and YOU GO TO JAIL, not pay a $1,000 fine.  Then everyone will drive better, or maybe even choose to drive less in the first place.

I’m tired of people outside of cars (bikers, pedestrians) being the only ones with skin in the game.  We risk our lives existing around cars, but all car drivers risk is a few dollars?  They are the drone pilots of the transportation world: free to kill, but with no risk themselves.  If we don’t increase the risk to them, we aren’t going to see better drivers and people won’t stop dying.

Maybe we should get rid of airbags and put a 2-foot long spike in the center of every steering wheel.  I bet we see some careful driving then! (Idea blatantly stolen from an Andy Singer cartoon that I can’t find online)

Eugene man pleads guilty to careless driving charge in connection with fatal crash | Local News | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon.

KMTR News Reinforces Reckless Car Culture, Again.

KMTR ran a news story today that emphasized that all kids should wear helmets, complete with “experts.”  Their main reasoning was that a kid got hit by a car just recently and more kids are riding in the nice weather.  Nowhere in the story did they mention that drivers should be more careful since there are more bikers out.  In fact, there was NO mention of safe driving at all.

I’m not against helmets – I wear one every time I ride, but I only wear one because of the likelihood of some yahoo dipschmuck texter butthole in a car running me over.  If there were no cars, I wouldn’ t wear a helmet commuting.  I’d only wear one when riding offroad or zooming down McKenzie Pass, things that are mildly dangerous without cars. Commuting is not.  Being 8 and riding a bike around your neighborhood is not (if there weren’t cars).

So, news, stop acting like car drivers are powerless to not hit us. Stop acting like biking is dangerous.  It’s not.  Existing around idiots with motorized weapons is dangerous.  People get hit by idiot car drivers all the time while walking, should pedestrians wear helmets?  NO, drivers should stop sucking!

KMTR video link.

In related news, a man was just killed on the Oregon coast while walking on the 101 Oregon Scenic Bikeway.  The driver of the truck who killed him was not even cited.  Was there a big news story about how people should be more careful driving?  Of course not!

 

Register-Guard focuses on helmets, again, when car driver hits a 14-year-old on a bike

A 14-year-old was hit by a turning car while riding on Hunsaker Road on Tuesday, and Register-Guard story implicitly blamed the victim:

The boy was not wearing a helmet when his bicycle was struck about 5:50 p.m. as he was pedaling along Hunsaker Drive near River Road in west Eugene, police Sgt. Kevin McCormick said at the scene.

The boy appeared to suffer only scrapes and bruises, but was taken by ambulance to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, McCormick said.

The boy apparently was riding his bike west on Hunsaker Lane when he was struck by a silver Volks­wagen Passat that was turning onto River Road from Hun­saker Lane.

It was not immediately known whether the woman driving the Passat would be cited in connection with the accident, McCormick said.

Shame on author Josephine Woolington for continuing in the media’s tradition of victim blaming whenever a person in a car fails to control their vehicle and runs someone over.  Helmets can’t stop a bad driver from running you over! It is irrelevant that the boy was not wearing a helmet!

Notably, this intersection is one of the top ten most dangerous in Eugene.

Source:

 

Separate accidents hurt bicyclist, pedestrian | Local News | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon.

Bike on Bike ‘Path Rage’ Puts Woman in the Hospital, Suspect Still at Large

Where exactly on the South Bank Path the incident occured we do not know.

This isn’t the article that I had planned to write tonight, but it looks like the Delta Bridge opening party is going to have to wait another few days.  It’s interesting that this post so quickly follows the one below it.

A KEZI Crimestoppers article/video was posted today about an event that happened “a few weeks ago.”  I’m not sure why it took so long for the article to show up, considering that the perpetrator is still “at large.”  The short version is that a man got mad when Ava Grenzsund passed him on the South Bank Path and  body-checked her off her bike.  She broke her left arm and severely bruised her right arm.  The suspect was stopped by a crowd and returned briefly for a few minutes, but gave a false name and rode away.  Police are still looking for him.

Take the jump for excerpts from the KEZI story and a link to their unfortunately sound-tracked video.

Continue reading “Bike on Bike ‘Path Rage’ Puts Woman in the Hospital, Suspect Still at Large”

Editorial: 30 days in prison is not enough for killing a cyclist by driving recklessly

Is this how legislators view cyclists?

Editor’s Note:  A major goal of WBE  is to report the news in a “positive” manner. This editorial breaks from that tradition, but no one can be positive all the time.

Many car drivers, isolated in their protective steel boxes, fail to realize how dangerous their high-speed heavy vehicles are.  They drive in a way that takes liberties with the lives of those around them in an effort to save time, and prioritize their promptness over the safety of others.  We live in a culture in which driving a car is not considered dangerous – a culture that is reinforced by weak laws and the devaluing of the lives of people who choose not to drive.

Many of us have experienced it:  you are riding your are bike out on a nice country road and suddenly you see two cars heading toward you, side by side.  A driver has decided to pass another car and doesn’t care that you are in the way, or thinks that they can make it without hitting you. The driver has decided that saving a few minutes is more important than the possibility of ending your life.

This is what happened on February 10th when 38-year-old driver Tina Marie Baker tried to pass a car on Highway 99 south of Creswell, sideswiped an oncoming vehicle, and killed cyclist Johnny Cayton in a head-on collision. She was going 15 mph over the speed limit (70mph) and later admitted to being in a hurry and driving recklessly. Her punishment for prioritizing 30 seconds of her life over Cayton’s safety was 30 days in jail, probation, and losing her license for 8 years.  I’ve known people who’ve received 30 days in jail for shoplifting.  Is Baker’s punishment enough?

Continue reading “Editorial: 30 days in prison is not enough for killing a cyclist by driving recklessly”

Police Seeking Witnesses to Tuesday Bike Path Assault

Tuesday’s Fern Ridge bike path assault saga continues with this press release by the Eugene Police Department: (emphasis mine)

Police Seeking Witnesses to Tuesday’s Bike Path Assault

Case No. 10-9171

Eugene Police investigators are seeking any witnesses to a bike path assault that happened on Tuesday, June 8, around 9 a.m. at the Fern Ridge bike path, east of Acorn Park. A 52-year-old bicyclist reported an encounter with two pedestrians in which one of them made deliberate contact with him as he was trying to pass, causing him to crash. He left to get medical attention for his facial injuries, but he said there was a possible witness to the incident. At least two other bicyclists also reported similar encounters in the same general area that morning.

Eugene Police Crime Prevention and Patrol staff have been working with Eugene Parks and Open Space to mitigate tall grass and obstacles. Unusually wet environmental conditions have made it unsafe to use large mowing equipment. A Lane County Sheriff’s Office work crew will be in the area clearing vegetation by hand on Monday, June 14. Bicyclists and pedestrians should be aware of potential congestion during that time.

If anyone witnessed the incident they are asked to help by calling 541.953.9323.

KEZI and the Register-Guard have also picked up the story.

As previously reported by WBE, several people, including myself, had run-ins with these people on Tuesday.  The police have the names of the assailants and have ticketed them for menacing (thanks to the work of other cyclists), but do not have direct witnesses of this assault, so it appears that they can go no further.   Since the case is still open, the police are reluctant to release the names of the assailants.

Group of men harrass and assault cyclists on the Fern Ridge Path, police need your help [updated]

Did you experience these people?  The police need your help!

A group of 3-4 males estimated by me to be 18-21 years old were harassing cyclists on the Fern Ridge Bike Path this morning.  I experienced them under the Oak Patch Acorn Park underpass.  They blocked my path, body checked me as I passed (lightly), and screamed at me.  They did a similar maneuver to one of my 16-year-old students a little to the west of Oak Patch about 10 minutes later.  These incidents happened at 8:30 and around 8:40 am, respectively.

I called the police after my student reported his incident to me, and they said that they’ve received numerous complaints, but cannot find the group of men.  They said that someone has already been assaulted and injured by this group, and they are looking for all possible witnesses.

One of the men was wearing a long, baggy white shirt, had short blond hair, and looked large.  I was focused on him since he was blocking my path, but I think the other two were wearing dark clothes, and my student reported one wearing a hoody.  I’m 90% sure all three (maybe four) were white.

(I was pretty tunnel-visioned on the guy blocking my path.)

If you saw or experienced these people, please call the police.

Update:
The Eugene Police Department is still trying to find these men, but no more attacks have been reported since this morning.  According to EPD there were two separate victims of assault, both male.  One of them walked home “bleeding from facial injuries” and the status of the other was not reported, which leads me to believe that his injuries were less severe.

Update #2:

The assailants were followed by cyclists to the Dairy Mart on West 11th where they were ticketed by police for “menacing.”  They can’t really do more unless the victim with the facial injuries contacts police, since he has not been located.

From EPD:

The police who responded took information about those involved, victims and suspects/persons of interest, however, they were unable to locate the victim who left and who seemed to have injuries from an assault. We’d be very interested in hearing from this person.

In The News: Eugene cyclists circumnavigate a frozen Russian lake, The Bailey Hill Road Safety Plaza, and the Springfield High Cycling Club to ride Lewis and Clark trail

“It was at this point that we learned that in very cold temperatures, liquid fuels such as kerosene and gasoline do not give off enough vapors to be flammable,” Pike said. “I was ready to toss the stove into the endless white and eat frozen bread for dinner.” — Christopher Pike, from the Register-Guard’s “Ice Road Bikers”

Every now and then the local news media publishes a cycling story, and sometimes they publish several.  When this happens WeBikeEugene swoops in with our award-winning (not really) “In The News” wrap-up!

Today’s wrap-up will cover the successful 36 day bicycle circumnavigation of Siberia’s Lake Baikal by two Eugene cyclists (and their three non-Eugene buddies),  the planning and dedication of The Bailey Hill Road Safety Plaza, and the Springfield High School Cycling Club’s planned tour of the Lewis and Clark’s expedition route.

And now, lets take the jump!

Continue reading “In The News: Eugene cyclists circumnavigate a frozen Russian lake, The Bailey Hill Road Safety Plaza, and the Springfield High Cycling Club to ride Lewis and Clark trail”

In The News: Paul’s BWoL Founder Sues Driver, SmartTrips, New Springfield Bike Paths, PIELC Bike Advocacy, and a Survey for Cycling Women

WBE hasn't updated in awhile because I was too busy flying a kites on assorted Oregon beaches. This is what happens when habitual travelers run blogs.

Eugene  and Springfield cycling issues have seen a surge in coverage by the local news agencies lately.  Here are the stories that have caught our eye:

Continue reading “In The News: Paul’s BWoL Founder Sues Driver, SmartTrips, New Springfield Bike Paths, PIELC Bike Advocacy, and a Survey for Cycling Women”