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posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday September 03 2014, @01:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the unsafe-at-any-speed dept.

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.

 
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  • (Score: 0, Troll) by VLM on Wednesday September 03 2014, @01:57PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 03 2014, @01:57PM (#88900)

    Bicyclists are insane to ride on the roads.

    Now before the flames ignite, I'm not saying its right or the way it should be. Just the way it is. You're an idiot if you ride on the roads in America in 2014. Almost evidence of mental illness WRT intentional suicidal behavior.

    This article is how the real world works, and if you choose to live your life ignoring that or making some political statement, and die trying, I'm not going to feel sorry for you.

    Would it be nice to have a place where cyclists could ride on the roads, sure, I'd like that. Going on all make believe and pretending thats today in the USA is evidence of mental illness.

    Its just a very elaborate story of suicide by cop. The rider intentionally did something incredibly dangerous which killed the rider. Oh well. No sense giving the cop a hard time about it.

    Now if the cop had dented my car I'd expect my insurance company to "take care of it" but obviously no one would be hurt so his behavior was "OK".

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 04 2014, @02:26AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 04 2014, @02:26AM (#89174)

    Ah, VLM - the idiot who doesn't even know what the word "its" means.

    I suppose if the cop had killed a pedestrian who was walking on the sidewalk or standing at a bus stop, you'd also call that victim a suicidal loser. Here's a perfect example. [youtube.com]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @08:07PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @08:07PM (#89053)

    most people reading your post probably thought you were an idiot. i, on the other hand, knew that your post was full of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm - that your post was designed to draw attention to a very important point you were trying to make. however, i, and i'm sure most others, cannot fathom what you are really trying to say. therefore, we still think you're an idiot.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Tork on Wednesday September 03 2014, @03:10PM

    by Tork (3914) on Wednesday September 03 2014, @03:10PM (#88932)
    Spiritually-speaking, I agree with you about American roads being unsafe for cyclists. However, you cannot blame the victim this time around. The officer was clearly distracted and the cyclist was in the bike lane, one of the few places in this country that actually are designed to handle bicycles. You've got a point to make, but this isn't the story to do it in.
    --
    Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
  • (Score: 1) by VLM on Wednesday September 03 2014, @07:24PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 03 2014, @07:24PM (#89036)

    "the cyclist was in the bike lane, one of the few places in this country that actually are designed to handle bicycles"

    LOL thats a great design, real effective and safe. Truly the pinnacle of the engineering arts.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Tork on Wednesday September 03 2014, @07:33PM

    by Tork (3914) on Wednesday September 03 2014, @07:33PM (#89040)
    Yeah because nobody but misbehaving cyclists is killed by inattentive drivers.
    --
    Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
  • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by VLM on Wednesday September 03 2014, @09:47PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 03 2014, @09:47PM (#89097)

    I'll agree with that statement if you agree that your likelihood of survival is the same if "the other guy" crashes into a steel cage with crumple zones or directly impacts flesh.

    This is aside from the whole "keeping up with traffic" thing. Its a really dumb civil engineering decision to put 10 mph unarmored and 45 mph armored vehicles on the same piece of asphalt. Or rephrased, if you know that piece of asphalt is contested by a 45 MPH armored tank, its kind of dumb to throw 10 mpg unarmored flesh in its path and then blame everyone except the engineers who set the unarmored guy up to die.

  • (Score: 2) by quadrox on Thursday September 04 2014, @07:06AM

    by quadrox (315) on Thursday September 04 2014, @07:06AM (#89223)

    You know what? I want go fire my fully automatic weapon randomly in public places. If anyoneone gets hurt, it's their fault for not wearing armor in public - if everyone would just wear bullet proof armor all the time, I could fire my weapon without anyone getting hurt. Clearly it's all those idiots walking around in nothing but a t-shirt that are ruining it for the rest of us. What a bunch of idiots.

    Am I right or what?

  • (Score: 2) by tathra on Thursday September 04 2014, @04:24AM

    by tathra (3367) on Thursday September 04 2014, @04:24AM (#89203)

    changing lanes without a signal, swerving, reckless driving, and running people over have always been crimes. is it really that big a leap to expect people to, you know, follow the law? the privilege to operate that tank at 45 mph comes with the responsibility to maintain control of it at all times; if you don't, you're criminally negligent by definition.

  • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday September 03 2014, @09:52PM

    by Tork (3914) on Wednesday September 03 2014, @09:52PM (#89098)
    We don't disagree. I've gotten on my soapbox before about this very topic. The problem is this isn't a case where he deserved it. I really wish I could get you to understand this because you're destroying your own credibility on the topic.
    --
    Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:56PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:56PM (#88922)

    Now before the flames ignite, I'm not saying its right or the way it should be. Just the way it is. You're an idiot if you ride on the roads in America in 2014. Almost evidence of mental illness WRT intentional suicidal behavior.

    Traffic accidents happen. Something around 700 bicyclists are killed by cars each year. Of course, 5000 pedestrians are killed by cars each year (in the US), about the same number of motorcyclists, and 30,000 or so car and truck drivers. Does that mean pedestrians are also suicidally insane? People are idiots. Accidents happen, and the more mass you have around you, the less likely you are to die. Does that mean we should all be driving around in MRAPs?

  • (Score: 2) by iwoloschin on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:40PM

    by iwoloschin (3863) on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:40PM (#88918)

    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.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by VLM on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:58PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:58PM (#88924)

    "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.

  • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Wednesday September 03 2014, @06:25PM

    by LoRdTAW (3755) on Wednesday September 03 2014, @06:25PM (#89016) Journal

    It appears you common sense is broken.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by iwoloschin on Wednesday September 03 2014, @03:54PM

    by iwoloschin (3863) on Wednesday September 03 2014, @03:54PM (#88957)

    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.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @07:02PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @07:02PM (#89031)

    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.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by arashi no garou on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:25PM

    by arashi no garou (2796) on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:25PM (#88911)

    Did you miss the part of the article that clearly states the bicyclist was in a bicycle-only lane, and the cop swerved into that lane?

    "Olin, a prominent entertainment attorney, was riding his bicycle in the 22400 block of Mulholland Highway when he was struck by L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Wood’s patrol car in the bicycle lane on the afternoon of Dec. 8."

    and

    "“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."

    Still feeling superior?

  • (Score: 0, Troll) by VLM on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:39PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:39PM (#88917)

    Not a superiority thing at all. I don't see it as relevant to the discussion at all.

    It does make the point pretty well that in a car the bike rider would have barely needed some minor body work rather than being killed.

    Lets abstract the situation. Say you've got a subculture that really likes playing Russian Roulette. Really likes it. And once in awhile they die. There really is no point going around feeling sad about it or blaming the gun mfgr or the bullet mfgr or the retailer.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:39PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:39PM (#88916)

    I'd think the OP would describe the believe that a line on the ground can save your life as insane.

  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by VLM on Wednesday September 03 2014, @03:08PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 03 2014, @03:08PM (#88929)

    "I'd think the OP would describe the believe that a line on the ground can save your life as insane."

    I'd add a side dish of an analogy with OSHA where imagine a factory owner intentionally creates a cheap workplace thats known by all employees to be incredibly dangerous, and two living men enter and only one living man leaves like the Thunderdome. Its outright immoral and unethical to blame the lone survivor for the other guy dying. You want a safer system, try fixing the system not blaming the guy who lived.

    I like the OSHA analogy and it would be comical to try to imagine their opinion of "bike lanes" and bicycles sharing the road with cars. I imagine the head of one of those orange vest guys just exploding with rage. The road design of mixing bikes and cars is criminally stupid and the only people dumber than the traffic engineers, is the folks who knowingly jump into the known lethal meat grinder and then try to blame everyone other than the traffic engineers who are doing the actual killing, because "(insert emo voice) life is so unfair so I should be able to do what I want even if it kills me". Well, good luck with that, hope Darwin is kind to you.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by AndyTheAbsurd on Wednesday September 03 2014, @05:36PM

    by AndyTheAbsurd (3958) on Wednesday September 03 2014, @05:36PM (#89000) Journal

    You want a safer system, try fixing the system not blaming the guy who lived.

    The first part of the system that needs fixing is the part that lets people who kill bicyclists by not pay attention to where they are piloting their multi-ton chunks of metal get off without being punished. So what you're saying is that the way to fix the system is to punish this cop.

    That said...it's entirely possible that the bike lane the cyclist was riding on is on an entirely inappropriate road to have a bike lane. There are certainly a number of those in my area, and I refuse to ride my bicycle on those roads due to the level danger, even if it means going out of my way (or, where no other routes exists, riding on the sidewalk instead, where at least the driver will get a big bump going over the curb as a wake up call BEFORE they hit me).

    --
    Please note my username before responding. You may have been trolled.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @08:21PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @08:21PM (#89059)

    People who show up for jury duty are disproportionately older and far more accepting of authoritarianism.
    They are predisposed to acquit cops.

    ...and if the (again, cop-friendly) prosecution doesn't think it can find a jury that is easy enough to manipulate, it will ask for a change of venue to some place that *is* cop-friendly (like a place that is disproportionately populated by cops). [google.com]
    ...and that request will invariably be granted.

    -- gewg_

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by tangomargarine on Wednesday September 03 2014, @07:44PM

    by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday September 03 2014, @07:44PM (#89044)

    The first part of the system that needs fixing is the part that lets people who kill bicyclists by not pay attention to where they are piloting their multi-ton chunks of metal get off without being punished.

    Sounds a bit like deathmatching on one of those instant-kick-for-your-first-teamkill servers when a teammate walks in front of you right as you try to snipe someone. BOTH parties should be aware of what's going on. If I was a biker, I would assume that at all times everyone around me is actively trying to kill me. Hell, I drive a car and I feel like that half the time anyway.

    That being said, this cop was clearly at fault for not paying attention and wandering into the bike lane. After the bombardment of ads about not texting/talking while driving he really has no excuse at all.

    --
    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 1) by skater on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:09PM

    by skater (4342) on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:09PM (#88905) Journal

    To some extent, you're right, but as a cyclist I'm going to continue to do it. Accidents and death this way are actually pretty rare - we hear of the horror stories but not of the thousands of miles cyclists complete without incident every day. I told my wife (a beginning cyclist herself) that we're most likely to get into an accident with a car when they pass us, then turn in front of us.

    But part of me wonders if you are one of the people that swerves toward cyclists in your thought that they all want to commit suicide.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @03:45PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @03:45PM (#88949)

    In my city, when bicyclists ride on the sidewalk to avoid riding on the road the police ticket them.

  • (Score: 0, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Wednesday September 03 2014, @06:57PM

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Wednesday September 03 2014, @06:57PM (#89028) Homepage

    What the rules are and what the cops actually do are two separate things. Cops are supposed to ticket people for jaywalking, but when was the last time you saw that happen?

    And for the record, I believe that there should be investments in significant bicycling infrastructure which separate the cyclists from the automobile traffic. There was a poster back who suggested that there was a high chance of being involved in a collision at an intersection when a car turns. Well, no shit, dumbass. Situational awareness is, heh, a two-way street, and you are much smaller and less visible than another car. Slow the fuck down and quit playing chicken with traffic, you dumbfucks. You're like those dumb college girls who want to magically make rape go away so you can behave like whores and not deal with the consequences -- it simply ain't gonna happen, so be my guest if you want to win a Darwin award.

    Cyclists, in my city at least, are known for being big douchebags anyway. Aside from their riding in the middle of turn-lanes, weaving around traffic and ignoring or trying to beat stop-lights; a group of cyclists actually beat up an old man simply because he was walking in their path (cant find the link unfortunately, but it was at Mission beach and in the news a coupe years ago). Another dumbfuck bicyclist was killed riding on the side of the highway, and yet another dumbfuck bicyclist thought he could beat the trolley past the intersection and lost the race.

    So, anyway, the police ain't gonna ticket you for riding on the sidewalk and staying the fuck out of the way. I do it all the time and have never been ticketed. Nobody gives about your heart-rate, so slow the fuck down and keep an eye out, you might even have to *gasp!* use your brakes every now and then.

    If I weren't pressed for time I'd post the link to the Toxic Avenger scene where they hit and run that guy on the bike and then back over his head. That's a truly cheer-worthy scene, and a fitting end for any asshole who weaves in and out of traffic thinking they can beat a 2-ton vehicle in a game of chicken.

  • (Score: 2) by Snow on Wednesday September 03 2014, @09:16PM

    by Snow (1601) on Wednesday September 03 2014, @09:16PM (#89082) Journal

    I live near a river that has a bridge going over it. 10 meters to the north, there is another bridge which is part of our city-wide biking/walking network. Guess which bridge the spandex wearing bikers use? I'll give you a hint -- it's not the bike bridge.

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @10:22PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @10:22PM (#89108)

    Meanwhile all the non-spandex wearing bikers use the bike bridge.
    What about the spandex wearing walkers?
    Or the girls in yoga pants?
    How about the geeks who think confirmation bias is evidence? I bet they just follow their GPS and walk right into the river because it tells them to!

  • (Score: 1, Troll) by VLM on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:47PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 03 2014, @02:47PM (#88920)

    "But part of me wonders if you are one of the people that swerves toward cyclists in your thought that they all want to commit suicide."

    LOL you must have missed the "I'm not saying its right or the way it should be. Just the way it is."

    Apparently neither of us like that in the real world in 2014 its fundamentally a suicidal activity, but we do differ greatly on our recognition of that aspect of the hobby.

    In my ideal cycling world we would physically separate cars/trucks/cop cars and bicycles. We have hundreds of miles of rails to trails conversions in my state and its very difficult to get killed by being run over by a car when the closest car road is 250 feet of forest away, or on the other side of a farmers corn field or similar.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by skater on Wednesday September 03 2014, @03:52PM

    by skater (4342) on Wednesday September 03 2014, @03:52PM (#88952) Journal

    Meh, I'm still tottering on the "Fuck you, man" angle in response to your post, mainly for the "he deserved it and it's his fault" lines. No, he didn't. You're blaming the victim. You claim you think it shouldn't be this way, but then you go ahead and continue blaming the victim, which just perpetuates the problem. You've decided the situation is so bad that it's not worth saving - so it's his fault, not the fault of the officer that wasn't paying attention.

    But the sport of cycling seems to be growing, not shrinking. I don't have numbers but it seems like every time I turn around there are more and more people doing it. Every time I go on a ride, I see at least two or three other cyclists out there - and this is near DC, where the drivers exhibit a special kind of insanity.

    In your world, what isn't a fundamentally suicidal activity? Driving anywhere - lots of people are killed in automobile accidents too. Staying at home is a fundamentally suicidal activity - people fall off ladders and die.

    And your "death by cop" comment just ices the cake of your absurd comment, as if the victim of this crime could have predicted a cop would get distracted and run him over.

    I get it now, you're just trolling to get this site's numbers up, aren't you? And I've fallen into the trap.

  • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Thursday September 04 2014, @02:55AM

    by mhajicek (51) on Thursday September 04 2014, @02:55AM (#89184)

    Part of the problem is in the widespread belief that cycling is always optional, as you refer to it as a hobby or sport. For many it is, but for many others for one reason or another it is the most reasonable form of transportation available.

    --
    The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @05:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03 2014, @05:09PM (#88982)

    > But the sport of cycling seems to be growing, not shrinking.

    It seems paradoxical but the more people ride bicycles on city streets, the less likely they are to be injured in traffic accidents. [sciencedaily.com]

    > You've decided the situation is so bad that it's not worth saving - so it's his fault, not the fault of the officer that wasn't paying attention.

    No he's genuine in being a total asshole.