Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
  RIP Dan Hersh

Wes Cheney reports on a fallen cyclist at his blog. I didn't know Dan Hersh, but I do know other cyclists that have died after being hit by vehicles. Sometimes we call these things tragic accidents; they are tragic but rarely "Accidents". Sometimes drivers aim for us, they may be egged on by a passenger or they may just be running late and the cyclist is in their way; sometimes they just don't have the skill (and knowledge of physics) to control their vehicle at the speeds they're driving. I don't like the term "accident". It implies that there was nothing the driver could do (some drivers tell you there was nothing they could do in those final seconds, but if they'd driven slower, given the cyclist more room, etc. they wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place).

When I was a teenager, I had a friend who rolled a car, he says it was an accident, I call it careless driving (excessive speed, wet roads, inexperienced driver).

I've had two cars hit while they were parked in a parking lot, both times, the other drivers called them accidents. I was lucky enough to be in my Cavalier when it got hit, so I'll describe what I saw. The teenager was driving the family minivan. He had a lollipop in one hand and he was driving with the other hand. He came into the parking space too fast, and he wasn't able to turn the wheel enough with one hand so he rammed the back of my precious Cavalier. Then the idiot thought he'd just slide it in and no one would be the wiser, so he puts the lollipop in his mouth, uses both hands to turn the wheel and gives it some gas. The front bumper of his car scrapes up the side of my Cavalier. He finally realizes this isn't working out to well for him and stops. With his front bumper jammed into my door. He gets out of the car and he's wondering why I'm not getting out until I roll down the window and tell him he needs to move his car so I can open my door.

Recently a friend told me I was lucky to have a new car. He said every new car he's ever had got totaled shortly after purchasing it. He told me that in one incident, he refused to let a woman merge onto the highway and she rammed him. Well, no duh. That wasn't an accident.

Don't get me started on how many cars my sister totaled on "accident" when she was younger. To be fair, she hasn't totaled a car in years.

I think the only time it's legitimately an accident is when an animal is involved. Dogs and deer surprise a lot of drivers and once they are in the roadway, they are unpredictable, making avoiding them difficult.

As for a motorist who "accidently" hits a cyclist in broad daylight, traveling in the same direction...That's no accident, it's murder or manslaughter or whatever the legal term would be. I'm sure we'll see the legal wranglings of this case play out over time. According to Wes, based on past experience the authorities are not likely to press charges in this case.


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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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