Today’s Headlines

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    The driver of the Cadillac Escalade remained at the scene and has not been charged.

    It’s nice too know that if I accidentally kill someone, all I have to do is remain at the scene and I won’t be charged. In other news:

    A gun was accidentally discharged yesterday, killing a six-month-old child. The gun owner remained at the scene and has not been charged.

    A piano was accidentally dropped on a ten-month-old child, killing him. The piano delivery workers remained at the scene and have not been charged.

    A vat of sulfuric acid was accidentally poured out a window, killing a seven-month-old child in a stroller. The factory worker remained at the scene and has not been charged.

    Seriously, how out of it do you have to be to back over a baby? My guess is that thre driver was making a cell phone call, tuning the radio or opening a bag of chips while backing out of the parking lot. Driving an Escalade is no excuse: if you buy something with that bad visibility, then it’s your responsibility to get someone to spot you when backing up.

    Where are the people arguing for “personal responsibility” when something like this happens?

  • ddartley

    I tried to post this at Brooklyn Paper in response to “Lessons…,” but the comments page wasn’t working, so instead I’ll bore YOU all with what you’ve seen me say a million times before:

    Re: “if there’s a bike lane use it”

    Often, cyclists’ wish use the bike lane like good citizens is precisely what causes the weaving to which you object. Most bike lanes I encounter are unimpeded and usable for an average length of just ONE BLOCK. Those cyclists trying to do the right thing by using the bike lane simply HAVE to weave into and out of visibility, in order to keep moving.

    My suggestion for cycling on NYC roads with one of the old, dinky little unbuffered bike lanes instead is to take a car lane–that way you can travel in a STRAIGHT, PREDICTABLE, and VISIBLE line, and no, contrary to what I’m sure you’re thinking, motorists DON’T get any angrier than they already are. I get about two honks a day doing this, and I think taxes my body and mind less than teetering on the edge of the door zone, and constantly weaving around obstructions–and still getting honked at.

    And no, I’m not talking about strict “vehicular” or “effective” cycling either: If I’m going slower than the cars, too bad for them, they can go around me (and that’s what usually happens, without any invective by them). And if they’re snarled in self-inflicted, size-inflicted traffic, yes, I go between car lanes and pass them all–cautiously and alertly, of course. And on multi-lane roads, I do that between travel lanes, not between a travel lane and a parking lane, because there are more threats near the parking lane.

  • Dave H

    Slightly different, since you want criminal charges but the basic idea is: guns, dangerous acids and probably (though not sure) lifting pianos are considered ultra-hazardous activities, so if something goes wrong, you are held liable no matter what. Driving is not held to strict liability, which means that as you long as you can show you exercised reasonable level of care, you don’t have to pay for the damages you create.

  • Jason A

    Too many of the bike lanes here in the city are worthless b/c there’s absolutely no enforcement of the laws that are supposed to keep cars out. It’s really exasperating having to constantly cycle in and out of car traffic when the bike lane is obstructed by deliveries, parked cars, taxis etc… I find staying in traffic is much more safer than pedaling in a clogged-up bike lane. Staking out an unmistakable, permanent position on the road (that approaching autos can work around) provides much more comfort than having to deal with the bike lane bob-and-weave…

  • Perversely, the frequency with which automobiles kill (and their perceived necessity) has numbed the public (and by consequence the law) to the “ultra-hazardous” nature they certainly have. If drivers were held liable for the human costs of their boo-boos, a good chunk of them would no longer be able to afford insurance, particularly in cities crowded with unprotected pedestrians and cyclists. Large vehicles that apparently require a camera (!) or spotter to avoid backing over babies in strollers would be particularly expensive to insure.

    So if driving interests manage to stop congestion pricing through impact-study litigious nonsense, incorporating such liability into the cost of insurance would be an appropriate plan B (and a good thing in itself). Automobiles are ultra-hazardous everywhere, but in New York private ones are as necessary as owning a firearm and amateur piano moving are.