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I hate to correct my own posting, but Virginia does have two laws it uses in cases where drivers negligently hit a cyclist. One is reckless driving and the other is involuntary manslaughter. In one case, a driver who failed to see the cyclist was charged with reckless driving. In the other the driver passed too close and was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

I'm a little uneasy about using incarceration in some of these cases. The impact of incarceration on families, communities, government budgets, etc., often outweighs its deterrent value. Wouldn't an alternative, suggested in other threads, be a much harsher approach to license *suspension*. It might get more people onto bikes, too.

Well, I'm not calling for incarceration in any particular case, and I'm probably more forgiving than you think, but I'd like for the judge to give a harsher sentence as she sees fit. A weekend in jail and a long probation can do wonders for attitudes (I know a few people who spent a night in the pokey after drinking and driving and none of them will drive if they've even sipped a beer in the last eight hours). You have reminded me that I think that a negligent driving verdict should also allow a judge to assign a driver points all the way up to 8 (the minimum for a points suspension in Maryland at least).

I don't think every negligent driver should go to jail. Or that most even should go. But I'd like to give judges more options. [Spending a whole weekend in jail, spending multiple weekends cleaning up trash, long probation etc...]

The Dan Hersh fatality in Virginia Beach reportedly occurred before sunrise. Thus, I believe the police had no evidence that the motorist had been blinded by sunlight.

Reportedly, the Commonwealth Attorney argued that he could not charge the motorist under any statute, such as following too closely. The Virginia Bicycling Federation is now seeking to modify Virginia's following too closely and 2-ft passing statutes to make it more difficult for police not to cite motorists who rear end bicyclists with at least ordinary negligence.

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