Personalizing the Consequences of Bicycle Crashes  the Gerald Apple Story

By Ann Groninger, Bike Law North Carolina

I always wonder what it will take to get the attention of motorists. How can we drive it into people that they shouldn’t take risks when operating a two ton hunk of metal at high speed? Maybe stricter traffic laws – lower speed limits, prohibiting cell phone use – would help; or increasing punishments for those who break the laws, especially when doing so causes injury or death.

Certainly those measures should be considered. But we can also continue to share stories. All of us involved in cycling, whetherwe interact with other cyclists while riding, or on the advocacy side, or in the legal world, have lots of stories to tell. These stories personalize the consequences of taking unnecessary risks when driving.

And to anyone with a conscience, they should be a daily wake-up call.

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Getting Tough on Traffic Violence, Pennsylvania-Style

Two years ago, Frank J. Aritz, Jr. was riding his bike in State College, Pennsylvania. It was after midnight when he rode past a marked police cruiser and shouted something that was unintelligible to the officer. Probably a mistake under any circumstances, but especially so considering that Aritz was riding drunk (against the law in Pennsylvania). And riding on the sidewalk (against the law in State College). And riding without a light (against the law). With all the laws he was breaking, it probably would have been better had he just quietly pedaled past the officer. But he shouted something, and when the officer ordered him to stop, he ignored the order and continued pedaling (against the law).

He did everything he could to attract police attention to his lawbreaking, and as a result, was tried and convicted on charges of DUI, riding at night without a light, and violating the no-riding-on-the-sidewalk ordinance. Aritz was sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 15 days to 6 months. He appealed his sentence, and this week a panel of the State Superior Court upheld the arrest and his sentence. Aritz will serve at least 15 days, and possibly more, up to 6 months in county prison.

The lesson for cyclists? Don’t be that guy. Pretty basic, really.

But that’s not what’s important about this case.

What’s important about this case is what happened to Autumn Grohowski, and her family.

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Words Escape Me

By Rick Bernardi

What does one say, in the middle of the night, when once again, a cyclist lays dead and our system of injustice gives us its grotesque pro forma ritual of shifting the blame to the cyclist, and exonerating the driver? What does one say, when over and over again, the justice we receive is nothing but a mockery of justice? What does one say, when all one feels is a cold fury at the lies that perpetuate our system of injustice? What does one say when there are no words? What does one say?

I will try to find the words.

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The Truth Emerges

It was a summer evening, the last night of August nearly four years ago, when two worlds violently collided on Toronto’s posh Bloor Street. In the aftermath, a cyclist lay dead, and the driver he clashed with stood accused of criminal charges in that death.

But let’s get real.

Motorists rarely face serious charges when cyclists die at their hands. After all, cyclist deaths are “just accidents,” and we don’t want to hold people accountable for “accidents.”

Except this death was no “accident.” The driver’s actions were, according to the nineteen witnesses who stepped forward, intentional.

Still, let’s get real. The cyclist, Darcy Allan Sheppard, was Métis, and had a history of substance abuse and anger control issues. In contrast, the motorist, Michael Bryant, well, he also had a history of substance abuse and a reputation for a "pugnacious streak." But unlike Sheppard, Bryant was an attorney—in fact, Ontario’s former Attorney General, educated at some of the world’s finest universities—and a rising star in Ontario politics. For all of our comforting illusions about the Rule of Law, people like Michael Bryant don’t answer for the deaths of people like Darcy Allan Sheppard.

But there’s still at least the appearance of the Rule of Law to adhere to. Michael Bryant couldn’t just be let off without even a perfunctory nod to the Rule of Law. In the immortal words of Vincent LaGuardia Gambini, there was no way this was not going to trial.

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Sending A Message

“It sends the wrong message.”

That’s how Denise Hudson described a decision by the Supreme Court of South Australia’s to slash the sentence of the careless driver who killed her husband.

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An Unprosecuted Murder in Lebanon, Pennsylvania

This blog post by Joseph Wade was re-posted here to preserve and archive this blog post.

Originally posted on July 2, 2010 - artspace629

An Unprosecuted Murder in Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Non-fiction

A Review of the Case Concerning the Murder of Autumn Grohowski by A Drunk Driver in Lebanon County

By Joseph Wade

She was a pile of blonde hair, white flashy smiles, and bright eyes, wrapped in a small body that barely amounted to one hundred pounds. She had a warm heart that loved stray kittens and dogs, and a soul that did the smallest things which said “I love humanity.” I knew her from the time she was a little girl who loved to tag along with her big brother and I to the age she turned nineteen—that tough age in a girl’s life when she is still a girl but needs to figure out how to be a woman. We made a promise when we were kids that if she was not married by thirty-five we would get married and I would become an official part of the Grohowski family. Her name was Autumn, her father’s name was Kris, and her brother’s name was Kevin and they were, are, always will be family to me.

That family is shattered now and only fragments remain. There is no putting that family back together again and the few remnants remaining are my best friend Kevin, his sons, and the many memories living in our hearts like glass splinters reflecting joy and pain, and always pain at the least.

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Executive Summary of the withdrawal of charges in the Michael Bryant case

Executive Summary

On Tuesday, May 25, Richard Peck, the special prosecutor appointed to try former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant on charges involving the death of Toronto messenger Darcy Allan Sheppard, withdrew the charges against Bryant, noting that "there is no reasonable prospect of conviction in relation to either of the charges before the Court. Accordingly, the charges must be withdrawn.”

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Remembering Cindie Davis Holub

Earlier this week, we reported the unfortunate news that the cyclist who had been hit by a Waste Management truck in Scottsdale Arizona had lost her battle for life. Following that report, we received an email from a reader that told us a little bit more about the cyclist.

As we reported previously, her name was Cindie Holub. However, she was not a Scottsdale cyclist; rather, she was a resident of Westford, Massachusetts. Based on another report we have received, Ms. Holub was in Scottsdale training for a triathlon when she was hit. According to the most recent email we received, Ms. Holub was “Not a novice bike rider.” This reader, who included a copy of Ms. Holub’s obituary (which we are sharing below) concluded “Hope this helps make this very sad and unnecessary occurrence more real and all the more reason for better enforcement of motor vehicle law in Arizona.”

Cindie Davis Holub

Cindie Davis Holub
Westford, beloved wife and mother; 52

WESTFORD -- Cindie Davis Holub, 52, of Westford passed away Sunday February 28th, 2010.

She was born to James Howard Davis and the late Karen Swanson Davis in Oceanside CA. Cindie graduated from New Albany High School in Ohio and received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University. She was married to Dr. Brian Holub for 28 years. Brian and Cindie own Countryside Veterinary Hospital in Chelmsford.

Cindie was a loving mother of four boys. She was an avid reader with a burning passion for animals, especially her dog Penelope and her horse Orion. In addition to her love of reading and animals, Cindie enjoyed traveling with her family. She recently traveled to China with her sister Kim on a Global Volunteers teaching trip. Kim and Cindie taught English on the Hainan Islands.

In the last few years Cindie began training to compete in an Ironman triathlon. Spending her days training twice a day, she completed three triathlons in 2009. She had previously run the Boston Marathon.

She is survived by four sons: Bradley Jake (25), Andrew Karl (23), Kevin James (21), and Adam Scott Holub (18), one sister: Kimberly Davis Holmberg, her father, James Howard Davis, and her stepmother Francine Hitchcock Davis.

HOLUB -- In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations made in her name to the Human Society of Greater Akron, 4904 Quick Road, Peninsula, OH 44264. A memorial service will be held Sunday March 7, 2:30 PM at the Fellowship Hall in Westford Center.

Published in Lowell Sun on March 3, 2010

We would like to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Cindie Davis Holub.
 

Saudi Police, British Embassy: Foul Play Ruled Out In Death Of Murdered British Cyclist

In a follow-up article on the death of a British cyclist who was reportedly “deliberately run down” by Saudi youths outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Arab News is reporting that “Police have confirmed the [cyclist’s] death … was nothing more than a tragic accident.”

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British Cyclist Murdered, Media Blackout, Government Silence-- Cover-Up?

Yesterday, we reported that John Currie, a British cyclist, had been “deliberately run down” in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by local youths. This murder was first reported by the Telegraph on Saturday. On Sunday, Arab News reported that the “UK Embassy Rules Out Foul Play In Cyclist’s Death.” Instead, the embassy was referring to the cyclist’s death as “nothing more than a ‘tragic accident.’”

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