Our Roads Must Be Shared



My precious sister, Debra, was killed by a motorist last Aug. 27, 2013 while riding her bicycle in Newport Beach.

The Orange County DA filed charges vehicular manslaughter and the trial began Sept. 8, 2014.  The DA presented evidence that my sister was properly making a right turn when she was hit from behind.  The defense argued that this was just a “tragic accident.” The jury decided 7-5 and being a criminal trial the decision needed to be unanimous.  Thus the judge declared them hopelessly deadocked (a hung jury) and the charges were dismissed.  The driver received no penalty, no fine, no suspension of his driver’s license, and nothing will reflect on his record.

“There is something undeniably screwy about a justice system that makes it de facto legal to kill people, even when it is clearly your fault,” wrote Daniel Duane in a Sunday Times op-ed piece, “as long you’re driving a car and the victim is on a bike and you’re not obviously drunk and don’t flee the scene.”

Is this justice?  I am at a loss as to how our judicial system allows a person to kill another human being and that person is free to go on as if nothing ever happened. Driving too fast and or too close to get you to your destination two seconds sooner is not worth it. Clearly our laws must be changed and the public must be reminded that our roads must be shared.

Nancy A. Zeff, Golden, Colo.

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  1. Here is a lengthy historical account how users of alternative transportation lost roadway access to the motorist. http://iamtraffic.org/equality/the-marginalization-of-bicyclists/ “Marginalization of Bicyclists” shows in particular how cyclists were pushed to the gutter. Today cyclists are counted as ‘vehicles’ in statute but hypocritically have no safe means of occupying a roadway shared by motorists. A shorter condensed version of this article will appear at Laguna Streets soon. Please read the longer historical version or wait for the short version and be informed.


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