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3 dead in head-on collision. Driver "swerved" to miss cyclist.

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3 dead in head-on collision. Driver "swerved" to miss cyclist.

Old 05-01-19, 01:31 PM
  #1  
Moe Zhoost
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3 dead in head-on collision. Driver "swerved" to miss cyclist.

https://www.heraldsun.com/news/local...229900679.html

Driver apparently swerved suddenly to miss a cyclist, lost control, and rammed another car coming the other direction. Speed limit was 55mph. Road has a few gentle curves but sight lines are generally good.
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Old 05-01-19, 02:00 PM
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If he would have killed the cyclist, he probably wouldn't have been charged, so there's that.

Usually when someone 'swerves' to miss something like that, it's because they weren't paying enough attention to driving.

I've been a first responder on a scene (the guy didn't make it) where something like that happened. It sucked.
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Old 05-01-19, 02:03 PM
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Very sad day.

Information is a bit ambiguous. One really needs a reconstruction drawing of where all the participants were at the time of the accident.

It looks like the road has decent shoulders. This is one of the reasons that I advocate riding on the shoulders. Less swerving necessary to squeeze past.

Of course, it doesn't help that both vehicles were large cars, Mercedes & Caddy, taking up more space on the road.

Also note, those wearing seatbelts fared better than those without.

The Caddy could have more or less safely swerved off the road and avoided the collision. But, everything happens quickly.
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Old 05-01-19, 02:19 PM
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Can you imagine the uproar regarding safety there'd be, if it were decided today, that all road users, from buses to cyclists and pedestrians, would share the road, at great speed differentials, even coming within 1 meter of each other in opposite directions at relatively high speeds... there's no way anyone would think that's a good idea.
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Old 05-01-19, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ridelikeaturtle View Post
Can you imagine the uproar regarding safety there'd be, if it were decided today, that all road users, from buses to cyclists and pedestrians, would share the road, at great speed differentials, even coming within 1 meter of each other in opposite directions at relatively high speeds... there's no way anyone would think that's a good idea.
It is interesting.

Freeways, of course, were designed with 2 or more lanes going in the same direction, and a median strip or physical barrier separating traffic from opposite directions.

In a sense, one-way streets in cities are an extension of that concept.

But, it is far less common in rural areas where governments put in 2-lane roads, and allow passing cars to move into the oncoming lane (less asphalt needed).

Then, of course, mix in bicycles, pedestrians, horses, tractors, etc... and one gets a mess.

It would be nice to have separate but equal bike paths everywhere, but one still has issues with intersections. And, it is expensive for the very few actual users.

100, or 120 years ago, who would have predicted how dominant cars would become?

What about adding seatbelt alarms, and perhaps ignition lockouts in the top of the line cars?
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Old 05-01-19, 07:09 PM
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Not sure which models they were ... not all cCaddys and Mercs are big cars nowadays.
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Old 05-01-19, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
Driver apparently swerved suddenly to miss a cyclist, lost control...
This is the second reason i avoid trafficked roads and highways these days.

1. I don't want the personal risk.

2. I don't want to endanger others.

When things go south out there, only three things can happen and TWO of them are really, really bad.
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Old 05-02-19, 06:30 AM
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Whenever a drivers action on a road is sudden, it is due to one of 2 things. Something unexpected (animal or child darting into the road, something falling on the road. ice patch, blowout, etc...) or driver inattention (on phone, fiddling with controls, taking eyes off road, etc...)
Of course these articles often don't contain the finer details so we are left with conjecture and speculation.
As mentioned, a fairly straight road with good sight lines. Middle of the afternoon. Based on the article, this likely lands in the hands of the driver.
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Old 05-02-19, 06:39 AM
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I have to wonder, does "Swerved" = "Going too fast" or "Failed to apply the brakes"? Could just be bad writing, but I have to wonder when I see that word used, since it implies a certain amount of fault on the part of the driver. I'm glad I don't write these articles (and that I haven't been hit by a car today, yet.)
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Old 05-02-19, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Not sure which models they were ... not all cCaddys and Mercs are big cars nowadays.
Exactly!

My Benz convertible is not all that large.
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Old 05-02-19, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
I have to wonder, does "Swerved" = "Going too fast" or "Failed to apply the brakes"? Could just be bad writing, but I have to wonder when I see that word used, since it implies a certain amount of fault on the part of the driver. I'm glad I don't write these articles (and that I haven't been hit by a car today, yet.)
I'm gonna posture a guess... driving too fast, failing to pay attention, and not planning ahead. Not a single failure, but three. And all three all too common.

I'd throw in following too closely too, but I doubt it was a factor.

I mention all four of these situations as frankly they are quite common... and really, anyone actually paying attention, and driving defensively, will readily observe these all too common situations.

I'm not a perfect driver, and won't claim to be, but when I observe those mentioned conditions... driving too fast, not paying attention, close following, and failing to plan ahead... I give those motorists lots of extra room.
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Old 05-02-19, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
I'm gonna posture a guess... driving too fast, failing to pay attention, and not planning ahead. Not a single failure, but three. And all three all too common.

I'd throw in following too closely too, but I doubt it was a factor.

I mention all four of these situations as frankly they are quite common... and really, anyone actually paying attention, and driving defensively, will readily observe these all too common situations.

I'm not a perfect driver, and won't claim to be, but when I observe those mentioned conditions... driving too fast, not paying attention, close following, and failing to plan ahead... I give those motorists lots of extra room.
Agreed. When I'm driving, I'm driving. I drive a stick, turn my phone off, and pay attention to what I'm doing. This applies when I'm on my bike, in one of my autos, or one of my motorcycles. (Especially on the motorcycles!)

As such, I often see other drivers who are obviously not driving...while they're driving. Some of the more common things I see are cars driving with the driver in the middle of the lane. This means the right wheels of the car are in the next lane (which is often the bike lane or shoulder) well over the fog line; drivers swerving sporadically, which is usually caused by doing other activities (cell phone/texting, eating, putting on makeup, reading a book/newspaper, trying to get the kids to sit down....); and then the most common these days: driving well under the speed limit, having difficulty maintaining the lane, almost inevitably caused by texting instead of driving.

The incident I witnessed a few years ago, I did not see what the driver was doing at the time, but he clearly wasn't paying attention. He, unfortunately, paid the price with his life, and the only fortunate part of that was that no one else was involved. He nearly rear ended another vehicle though.
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Old 05-02-19, 08:00 AM
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"I pay attention when I'm driving."

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Old 05-02-19, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Very sad day.

Information is a bit ambiguous. One really needs a reconstruction drawing of where all the participants were at the time of the accident.

It looks like the road has decent shoulders. This is one of the reasons that I advocate riding on the shoulders. Less swerving necessary to squeeze past.

Of course, it doesn't help that both vehicles were large cars, Mercedes & Caddy, taking up more space on the road.

Also note, those wearing seatbelts fared better than those without.

The Caddy could have more or less safely swerved off the road and avoided the collision. But, everything happens quickly.
I will almost certainly stick to the shoulder on a two-lane 55 mph road if possible, but even when I'm way over, some drivers drastically overcorrect into the oncoming lane to "avoid" me at full speed. I've even seen people do this and speed up while they're in the left lane, apparently in some misguided belief that cutting the time they're in that lane will reduce their chances of going head-on.

There's a "do anything but slow down" impulse among a lot of drivers that may have been in play here, but I agree the info is too sketchy. Given the charges, though, I'm guessing the prosecutor has some pretty good evidence this swerve was completely unreasonable.
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Old 05-02-19, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
I have to wonder, does "Swerved" = "Going too fast" or "Failed to apply the brakes"? Could just be bad writing, but I have to wonder when I see that word used, since it implies a certain amount of fault on the part of the driver. I'm glad I don't write these articles (and that I haven't been hit by a car today, yet.)
If you look at the charges, it's clear that swerved means changing the car's trajectory so that it crossed the yellow line into the oncoming lane. I've never heard anyone using the word to mean maintain or increase speed.
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Old 05-02-19, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Not sure which models they were ... not all cCaddys and Mercs are big cars nowadays.
Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
Exactly!

My Benz convertible is not all that large.
Mercedes Benz S-class (~4,200-5,000 lb) and a Cadillac DTS (~4,000 lb).

-mr. bill
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Old 05-02-19, 09:33 AM
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As usual the story says nothing about the cyclist. Did he stay at the scene?? Was he in the lane??
They always mention that the driver was uninjured when they hit a bicycle.
This road is narrow, with 2 foot shoulders and most likely intermittent shade, all make things more dangerous.
Most people would be driving on or near that fog line most of the time. 55 mph is pushing it on that road. But I managed just fine, to not be in an accident on my tour last summer.
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Old 05-02-19, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Given the charges, though, I'm guessing the prosecutor has some pretty good evidence this swerve was completely unreasonable.
In many cases, someone will want their "revenge" for the accident.
misdemeanor death by vehicle charges
If he had hit the cyclist, half the people on this board would have been asking for first degree murder charges.

I have to presume all participants were reasonably well off, Mercedes + Caddy.

I doubt there will be anything more than a token amount of jail time, but perhaps a hefty fine.

Nonetheless, it was still an accident without any intent. Perhaps additional risk factors. Phone, radio, food, drowsiness, etc. Of course, both cars should have had hands free mode phones. Texting? E-Mail?

And, everyone should have been using seatbelts.
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Old 05-02-19, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
As usual the story says nothing about the cyclist. Did he stay at the scene?? Was he in the lane??
Lights?

Clothing?

A year ago, a rear-end crash happened just behind me as I was riding down the bike path. I stayed at the scene until the PD showed up, then was told to leave, as I hadn't actually seen any of the vehicles (they were behind me).

As far as I can tell, in my case, there were 3 vehicles plus me.

Me: Ahead, marked bike lane.
Lead Car: slowed down to make a right turn behind me (I never saw it again).
#2 Car, slowed down to allow the lead car to turn.
#3 Car, didn't stop in time. CRASH!!!

Fortunately no serious injuries, but as everyone was still moving, I got onto the sidewalk as quickly as possible.

If only I had a rear camera working!!!
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Old 05-02-19, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
If only I had a rear camera working!!!
What product of any practical value would tnat have provided to you; or anybody else involved in this incident?
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Old 05-02-19, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
What product of any practical value would tnat have provided to you; or anybody else involved in this incident?
In the case of the simple rear-end accident, it probably would have done little... the guy in the last car would have still carried liability.

It depends a bit on resolution, reflections, & etc if one might be able to determine attention elsewhere than on the road.

If I had actually been bumped (primary, or secondary), it could have actually helped a lot. Or, as I mentioned, all the vehicles continued moving after the crash, so again, I was at risk of being driven into shortly after the crash (so I exited stage right very quickly).

For the MB/Caddy accident above, a pair of dash cams would have provided a good view of what was happening to the point of almost gruesome detail. But, they would have also helped answer the question of road position, visibility, and driver reaction to the cyclist.

The Face Cam in the Uber Self Driving accident also provided valuable info of what the "driver" was doing at the time of the accident. Although, it would be tough to convince people to install cameras that could be self-incriminating.

Front/Rear cams on the cyclist may or may not have also captured important details.
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Old 05-02-19, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
The Face Cam in the Uber Self Driving accident also provided valuable info of what the "driver" was doing at the time of the accident. Although, it would be tough to convince people to install cameras that could be self-incriminating.
I dunno, some cyclists seem to post on Youtube video evidence of some seriously reckless riding in traffic and elsewhere.

I suspect that unless our camera-toting BF comrades are perfect while cycling, their videos could possibly be used to incriminate them in the event they collide with someone else while in violation of a traffic code or momentarily careless, inattentive, or distracted.
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Old 05-02-19, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
I'm gonna posture a guess... driving too fast, failing to pay attention, and not planning ahead.
I would say you have psychic qualities except that 99.99% of all motorists drive too fast, don't pay attention, and don't plan ahead. So you would be correct a vast majority of the times you would guess this.
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Old 05-02-19, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
I would say you have psychic qualities except that 99.99% of all motorists drive too fast, don't pay attention, and don't plan ahead. So you would be correct a vast majority of the times you would guess this.


"Look Ahead" driving also requires paying attention to potential road hazards, and reacting appropriately.

So, the Caddy driver (who wasn't wearing the seatbelt) should have seen the bicycle ahead, and predicted that the cyclist would impact his own driving. Slowed down, and headed for the ditch if the MB took inappropriate evasive actions.

And, those NC ditches appear to be pretty gentle. He likely could have simply driven off the road and back on, especially if he reduced speed a bit.

And, of course, both drivers should have taken their foot off of the gas pedal. What is 5 seconds worth in getting to your destination safely?
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Old 05-02-19, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post


"Look Ahead" driving also requires paying attention to potential road hazards, and reacting appropriately.

So, the Caddy driver (who wasn't wearing the seatbelt) should have seen the bicycle ahead, and predicted that the cyclist would impact his own driving. Slowed down, and headed for the ditch if the MB took inappropriate evasive actions.

And, those NC ditches appear to be pretty gentle. He likely could have simply driven off the road and back on, especially if he reduced speed a bit.

And, of course, both drivers should have taken their foot off of the gas pedal. What is 5 seconds worth in getting to your destination safely?
Your plan depends on everyone having stunt-man reflexes, pro driving skills/intellect, x-ray vision, and perfect powers of concentration.

We live and move about in a very imperfect world. S*** is going to happen. Daily.

Last edited by JoeyBike; 05-02-19 at 10:01 PM.
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