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Thread: Driver who killed cyclist in Bethesda not facing any criminal charges

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    Default Driver who killed cyclist in Bethesda not facing any criminal charges


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    There was an article on Velonews about laws to protect vulnerable road users - peds., cyclists, etc - to deal with this concern that the current legal penalties are insufficient when a driver is not under the influence or grossly negligent. http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/...er-laws_388889 I presume the WABA advocacy folks are aware of this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MFC View Post
    There was an article on Velonews about laws to protect vulnerable road users - peds., cyclists, etc - to deal with this concern that the current legal penalties are insufficient when a driver is not under the influence or grossly negligent. http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/...er-laws_388889 I presume the WABA advocacy folks are aware of this.
    It would be great if we could get something like that in the area. It sucks though that we're still having a hard time getting our old contributory negligence laws changed.

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    Default Civil Court

    This is a bad proprietorial decision and sets a bad precedent. As one person's comments to the main article said "If the only penalty for driving unsafely around a cyclist, even if you hit and kill them, is a point on your license, there is no deterrence or compelling reason to exercise care".

    Fortunately, the much maligned civil side of the legal system may help some here. Civil liability should be easy to establish here and I hope there is a significant insurance payout. Not for the money sake itself, but as a deterrent. When people complain about civil damages they need to realize that the prospect of civil liability is sometimes all there is to deter bad conduct.

    Now is the time for Maryland to criminal strengthen its laws. I certainly hope the criminal law result would not be the same in Virginia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by S. Arlington Observer View Post
    Civil liability should be easy to establish here and I hope there is a significant insurance payout. Not for the money sake itself, but as a deterrent.
    I agree that I hope the family can pursue some civil action. However, I don't know if it really acts as much of a deterrent. The insurance companies would face the pain, not the drivers. So unless one the becomes impossible to insure after killing someone, I don't see it having teeth.

    On then making their insurance premiums so high after an accident, it would require much more than 1-3 points. Then again, I'm not sure how the black box of insurance premiums are calculated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by annoyedindc View Post
    I agree that I hope the family can pursue some civil action. However, I don't know if it really acts as much of a deterrent. The insurance companies would face the pain, not the drivers. So unless one the becomes impossible to insure after killing someone, I don't see it having teeth.

    On then making their insurance premiums so high after an accident, it would require much more than 1-3 points. Then again, I'm not sure how the black box of insurance premiums are calculated.
    The individual can also be sued although the pockets are probably small. Even so, it could put a hurt on the driver.

    I suppose I was "lucky" in that the driver who hit me last year in Arlington was criminally charged and found guilty and he didn't even kill me (thank God!). The criminal charge was a misdemeanor and the net-net was $100-some dollars in fines and court costs but he does have a criminal conviction on his license. And the owner's insurance company paid me fairly for damages and medical/pain and suffering. But it seems that criminal citations are not the norm.

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    Default Vision Zero

    As a result of the death of a pedestrian run over by a dump truck in September 2015, Alexandria is proposing a Vision Zero program to bring all components of city government together to eliminate deaths and serious injuries caused by motor vehicles.

    Vision Zero programs typically use the mantra of Education, Engineering and Enforcement to guide discussions within the program. However, the enforcement part of a Vision Zero program only focuses on police enforcement by stopping law breaking motorists and writing tickets. No where does Vision Zero discuss changing laws to make the legal ramifications of running over a pedestrian or bicyclist more severe.

    With better laws holding motor vehicle drivers accountable for injuries and deaths the Commonwealth Attorney in Alexandria may have field charges in the death of the pedestrian in September.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vision_Zero

    http://patch.com/virginia/delray/no-...xandria-report
    Last edited by AlexandriaBiker; 11-12-2015 at 10:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexandriaBiker View Post
    No where does Vision Zero discuss changing laws to make the legal ramifications of running over a pedestrian or bicyclist more severe.
    I don't think that's true of Vision Zero generally. Did you mean Alexandria's Vision Zero? I would think that's a Dillon rule issue (i.e. it has to be done in Richmond)

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    Yes, as was discussed at the last BPAC meeting, vision zero means different things in different jurisdictions. Certainly I think DC Council Member Cheh and others looking to change contributory negligence do so thinking that is part of vision zero. But Alexandria cannot change Va criminal or civil law (and IIUC the same limit on localities applies in non Dillon rule states as well)

    Similarly the ability to reduce speed limits varies by state. Hoboken NJ, IIUC, as adopted a default speed limit of 20MPH ("twenty is plenty") but in Virginia a locality may not reduce the speed limit on a public road below 25MPH (except adjacent to a school or hospital) Also Virginia limits speed cameras to one per jurisdiction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    but in Virginia a locality may not reduce the speed limit on a public road below 25MPH (except adjacent to a school or hospital) Also Virginia limits speed cameras to one per jurisdiction.
    ...because freedom and local government

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