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Was she ever brought to trial for the charges of last year. Had she been found guilty perhaps she wouldn't have caused this horrible crime.

I'd like to see some research but, like Bishop Cook, it seems that most DUI manslaughter crashes I read about involve a driver who has previous convictions.

Tom, it doesn't appear that she had been. But yeah, the last three fatal DUI bike crashes I can think of in Maryland have all involved someone who had a prior alcohol-impairment issue. When we have people being killed by repeat offenders, that's sign of some kind of state failure.

My understanding is that there is a minority of serious and repeat drunk drivers, and that it is almost impossible to get them banned from the road under current law.

I'm surprised murderers (I mean the Murder-1 type) don't just feign being drunk and hitting people. It appears the penalties are slaps on the wrist compared to life in prison.

I'm embarrassed by Maryland's statutes. Bigamy has a sentencing guidelines longer than vehicular manslaughter, almost 3x as long. Really, because someone marrying multiple people is more dangerous than someone actually killing people? Talk about misplaced priorities.

This is a terrible loss. They did a lot to make the roads not only safer for cyclists but drivers and pedestrians as well.

Far more drivers die on the roads than cyclists and pedestrians. Of the 32,719 deaths on the roads in 2013, only 743 were cyclists and 4,735 were pedestrians. There is a far greater chance of being killed in a motor vehicle than cycling, walking, taking a train or plane.

Until people wakeup to the fact that drivers are making the roads dangerous for drivers (and others) these senseless deaths will continue.


T: drug possession has a longer prison sentence than killing someone in a car.

In January the driver posted about unfair employment practices at the Calvert County Substance Abuse program.

No facts, but generally: people accused of certain crimes under certain circumstances can enter into a "PBJ" arrangement. Rather than going to trial, or being found guilty or innocent, the accused asks for probation. This might come with certain conditions, such as completing counseling or treatment programs, along with a probation period as if convicted and sentenced. Except it's not a conviction.

The details of those arrangements are only available to law enforcement and justice officials.

Joe F: it is very unlikely that there is a "far greater chance" of being killed in a motor vehicle than cycling or walking (for taking a train or a plane, you're correct).

The chance of something happening depends on one's exposure to it - e.g., a person who never rides a bike has zero chance of being killed while cycling.

The basic measure of exposure for transportation safety is miles traveled. According to the National Household Travel Survey, in 2009 cyclists rode a total of 7.4 billion miles. I'm not sure anyone has a clue how accurate that number, based on a sampling survey, is. But it is roughly 1/400th of the motor vehicle miles traveled that year. And the number of cyclists killed in 2009 was roughly 1/36th the number of people killed while riding in cars.

So as a rough approximation, the chance of being killed while cycling is about 10 times that of being killed while in a car.

T: I agree about a car being the murder weapon of choice for a prudent person. But don't plead being drunk; just say "I didn't see them!

That metric would be accurate if cyclists rode at the same rate of speed as motorists. They don't, so miles travelled isn't fully accurate as a yardstick.

yeah, the tree across the street from my old place traveled zero miles in 10 years, but was hit by cars three times. So exposure is more complicated than that. Plus, I usually travel fewer miles on my bike than I would in my car for the same destination, because I don't go out of my way to get to a freeway or interstate. My car commute used to be 14 miles, but by bike I went 11.5.

Then there's all the flaws in the data (doesn't count single-bike fatalities, fatalities in certain places like parking lots, etc...)

But, I think cyclists are statistically less likely to be hit in a car crash and more likely to be killed in one.

If you could measure by time spent in a vehicle/on a bike/on foot, that would be most helpful, but that would be prohibitively difficult. So I think it's best to use the FHWA metric of VMT, but with a caveat that it applies to automobiles so is imperfectly applied to cyclists (and not at all to pedestrians) and that the data are problematic.

Makes it difficult to compare, and partially explains why you get different numbers depending on where you look. Which is probably why Joe F. was discussing total fatalities instead of rates. And I think you can look at "chance of being killed" that way; just don't interpret "chance" as being a probability based on usage.

There are many metrics that you can use to gauge safety. Injuries or deaths per
1. trip
2. distance traveled
3. time.

Each of these vary according to the specifics of each mode. e.g.planes are much safer per mile in part because they travel a long way in each trip, and the danger in mostly at take of and landing.

With bikes, any danger needs to be adjusted for the location of trips. More bikes are ridden in the city, where there are more accidents.

Big picture, however, is whether we can reduce injuries. In Europe, they have
1. More protected lanes
2. More stringent requirements on drivers, from licensing to cell phone use etc.
3. Stronger legal protections for cyclists
4. Laws that require vehicles to be designed to minimize injury to others outside the car (the opposite of the USA).

So, it can be done. We just need to do it.

Just a reminder that mortality is an imperfect proxy for rates of injury, especially for auto crashes, where technology continues to mitigate damage to bodies.

Injury statistics are also much harder to track, especially for cycling, where there is no agency like the NHTSA to promote reporting and gather data.

We are being side tracked by the method of measurement being used to represent the number of cyclist deaths in relation to the number of driver/passenger deaths. The number of miles travels presents this data in a way that makes it look like less drivers/passengers die. The number 27,000 is much greater than the number 743 More drivers/passengers die each year making the roads more deadly for drivers than cyclists.

The main problem is that in the US is we ignore the fact that driving is dangerous for drivers. People claim removing cyclists from the roads will make them safer, yes but only for cyclists. But what about the drivers? Why don't we care about the highest number of road user who are dying?

If people are really concerned about reducing the death rates on the roads then we need to focus on reducing the death rate of drivers. By doing so the roads will also become more safe for cyclists and pedestrians.

Several good points have been made about the difficulty of comparing the risk of bicycling vs being in a car.

Joe: to use some arbitrary numbers: if 100 people bike and one is killed by a car in a year, and 30,000 drivers/passengers die in car crashes in a year but 300 million people ride in cars, then
(a) more people died in cars than on bikes, but
(b) riding a bike was deadlier than riding in a car - because 1% of the cyclists died but only 0.01% of the car occupants died.

Who claims that removing cyclists from roads will make the roads safer? I never hear anyone making that as an argument (I do hear cyclists expressing fear for their personal safety on roads).

It's true that driving is one of the most dangerous things the average person does (along with overeating), but in fact it is not really that dangerous, on average. The odds are that you'll drive your whole lifetime and never be seriously injured, let alone killed, in a car crash. Of course, you can shift those odds if you drive while drunk/fatigued/distracted, speed, run red lights, etc.

Given that it's estimated that around 90% of car crashes are a result of such driver misbehavior, if "we" could somehow stop people from doing those things, it's true that would make road travel safer for everyone. So "reducing the death rate of drivers" mostly means stopping drivers from doing stupid things (preferably by stopping them from driving at all by developing self-driving cars). But most drivers, secure inside a two-ton steel cage, don't seem too concerned about scrupulously-careful driving.

People trying to get bicycles off the roads spin that roads were not made for cyclists and therefore it is to dangerous for the cyclists to be allowed on the road. They turn a blind eye to the fatalities drivers are inflicting on each other. Chris Core is one of the more famous ones.

The numbers vary depending on if you look at raw numbers or rates. Both are valid statistical methods.

I'm trying to point out that drivers are killing even more drivers than cyclists and peds because they are driving dangerously. This is the root of the problem that is constantly over looked.

Yep, SJE and JHH. It's truly a sad state of affairs. I'm just trying to get more friends from the legislative world to even do BTWD. I figure if they experience the reality then they may see it all from a different perspective.

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