Hugh Pickens writes:
The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges against a sheriff’s deputy who fatally struck cyclist Milton Olin Jr. while he was apparently distracted by his mobile digital computer. “Wood entered the bicycle lane as a result of inattention caused by typing into his (Mobile Digital Computer),” according to the declination letter prepared by the Justice System Integrity Division of the District Attorney’s Office and released Wednesday. “He was responding to a deputy who was inquiring whether the fire investigation had been completed. Since Wood was acting within the course and scope of his duties when he began to type his response, under Vehicle Code section 23123.5, he acted lawfully.”
To establish the crime of vehicular manslaughter, prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Wood was criminally negligent. While Wood was texting shortly before the collision, there was no evidence he was texting or doing anything else that would have distracted him at the time of the collision. Olin’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county, the Sheriff’s Department and the deputy, alleging driver negligence and seeking to obtain more information about the incident. “Just because the law allows someone to do something while driving doesn’t mean they are allowed to do something unsafely while driving,” says Eric Bruins. “Hitting someone from behind is very clear evidence that whatever was going on in that car was not safe and should have been considered negligent.”
Update: A day after prosecutors declined to file charges against a distracted sheriff’s deputy who fatally struck a cyclist in Calabasas in December, an official with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said it is launching its own administrative probe into the deputy’s behavior.
Suicide by cop? Really?
Asshole comments like this are why roads are not safer, for *anyone*, not just cyclists. The cop screwed up BIG time. His inattentiveness to his task resulted in the death of a third party. There's no way that isn't negligent. How should the cyclist have prevented this? By not riding? So you want to add *MORE* cars to the road? That's a great idea, let's make even more congestion!
Motor vehicle operators need to start facing jail time for negligent behavior. Accidents happen, but if it's the result of inattentiveness to the task at hand, that's pretty clearly negligent behavior, no matter if it's "legal" or not. To be fair, cyclists too should face fines for breaking laws, as well as pedestrians who jaywalk.
"There's no way that isn't negligent."
Sure there is. Roads are not safe when they combine bicyclists and cars. That its traditional to combine them, resulting in way too many dead bikers, is not the fault of the guy driving on them.
Its hard to imagine a biker not knowing roads are unsafe, so its not like its unfair what happened to him. He was participating in a very dangerous activity in a location not designed for his safety and a minor issue with another road user resulted in his death. If he had bothered to prepare and take responsibility for his ... result, he would have been inside a car. A little touch up paint, maybe a replacement mirror, and he'd be fine rather than dead.
It would be as dumb as legally allowing/requiring motorcyclists to drive on the sidewalk and then blaming the motorcycle riders when they mow down pedestrians. Why the heck would an intelligent pedestrian walk on a sidewalk knowing motorcyclists will probably end up killing him, that would just be idiocy on the part of the pedestrian, and secondly, why would poor civil engineering design somehow be the fault of the motorcyclist who's stuck using a poorly designed system?
"as well as pedestrians who jaywalk."
Its hard to feel sorry for a jaywalker who gets splatted just a short walk from a crosswalk.
A lot of it comes down to not wanting to take responsibility for outcomes. Well it shouldn't be that way, because life is so unfair, and I'm gonna do it anyway because its just wrong that ... well you can try to live your life in a dream like that, but in the real world that kind of stuff apparently ends in "splat" followed traditionally by declarations its everyone elses fault other than the guy who decided to end in "splat". Or rephrased, don't want to end up under the wheels of a truck or car, try not doing things that result in ending up under the wheels of a truck or car. Experimentally that works pretty well.
Wait...so hitting a pedestrian a few feet from a crosswalk is not ok, but crossing a white line (aka the legal edge of the motor vehicle lane) and striking a cyclist is ok?
You're making contradictory arguments and make no sense. Either it's a free-for-all or we all follow the rules. We can't just make rules up on a whim. Seriously, pick a side and stick to it, you can't argue both.
Welcome to geektard fantasy-land where you pick one narrow interpretation of reality that suits your personality, ignore any conflicting evidence and/or logic and then declare yourself the only sane person in the room. This kind of rationalization is epitomized in the Sheldon Cooper character on The Big Bang Theory.
It appears you common sense is broken.