Friday, January 25, 2008

'Tis just a spleen, 'tis just a fleshwound

Interesting story here. In August, a local attorney driving a Cadillac turned in front of and struck a law abiding cyclist at the corner of W 116th and Lake Ave. in Cleveland. The cyclist, who happened to be a state congressman, was thrown from his bike, ruptured his spleen, and broke his collarbone.

According to the police report, the facts of the accident were undisputed, the driver was faulted, and the police report cited "driver inattention" for crossing the yellow line into the oncoming traffic. In the box for possible cyclist error, the police report bears the notation "none."

The driver, however, received no citation for causing this accident. No ticket. No fine. No points on his record. In other words, your $100 ticket from those obnoxious traffic cameras for driving 11 mph over the speed limit at 10:30 p.m. on Carnegie is $100 more than this driver had to pay for hitting a cyclist and rupturing his spleen.

I'm glad that our local law enforcement treats cyclists with such respect. Or am I jumping to conclusions here....because I'm sure that there are many incidents of car on car accidents where fault is undisputed, the victim is seriously injured, but no citation is issued. Yeah Right.

A November article from the Free Times that discusses this incident can be found here after scrolling down a bit.

A recent letter to the editor of the Plain Dealer regarding this incident can be found here.


Gary said...

Wow - I'm almost speachless, but really not that suprised in a way...

I'm linking to your post; you've got a great blog!

Julie Lewis-Sroka said...

Do you think the driver knew "someone"? This seems so odd, but at the same time, totally believable. Outrage is the emotion that comes to my mind. I was hit by a car in Brooklyn, NY as a young teen, and even though I was severely injured, and took 17 years to recover, the same basic result occurred then. The kid ran a red light in his mom's Firebird, plowed into me, I flew about 25 feet in the air and my bike went through his windshield, which is the only payback I got. He was fine, and I could hear him yelling at me as I went in and out of consciousness. His insurance paid the value of the bike (a Ross 10 speed), my destoyed clothing, and $50 for pain.

ds said...


Anything is possible, but I don't think that played a role in this case. According to the Free Times article, the lawyer has represented the city in labor negotiations/disputes against the police. The driver even said in the article that the cop probably would not have been so easy on him had the officer known that the driver represents "the other side" in these labor disputes.

As far as the bicyclist recovering $$, I would suspect that he or his insurance company could go after the driver/driver's insurance to cover medical expenses, etc. At least the cop did state on the police report that it was the driver's fault, even if he didn't ticket him.

Also, I want to make clear that I'm not trying to villify the driver here. Mistakes happen, the sun was apparently bad that day, etc. etc. The real travesty here is that he was not ticketed or cited, and I refuse to believe that would have been the case if he hit a car instead of a bike.


Julie Lewis-Sroka said...

Hey Dave, I actually was agreeing with your point. It wasn't about the money. It was the fact that neither the kid that hit me or his parents (they were supposed to be in the car with him since he was 16and it was after 5pm) didn't get a ticket or suffer any sort of legal consequences.

Ben said...

First off, this story is deeply disturbing. However, it confirms my thesis that Americans consider cars the only legitimate means of transportation. Bicyclists, bus and train passengers, pedestrians, etc. are all considered second-class citizens and are treated as such. I would almost always rather go a mile or two by bicycle or more than that by bus or train, but Cleveland (and most of the U.S.) is set up to favor cars. This apparently extends to our penal system as well.

For some satircial commentary on the status of alternate transportation, check out the Onion's "30 Miserable Lives Lost in Greyhound Bus Crash"

Gary said...

You guys are gonna love this:

lawsuit post over at Drunk Cyclist