British cyclist "deliberately run down" in Saudi Arabia, British Embassy calls it a tragic accident

What happens when national interest conflicts with cyclist justice?

This week, British nationals may have learned that that their lives are considered expendable.

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It Was Just One Of Those Things

 “I didn’t see him.”

It’s the most common excuse negligent drivers make after colliding with a cyclist. And it makes no difference whether the cyclist is wearing bright colors or "lit up like a Christmas tree"—negligent drivers will still utter these four words after hitting the cyclist. Except, of course, in the Netherlands, where the presumption of liability encourages drivers to be more careful about seeing cyclists.

In a recent case in the United Kingdom, a driver accused in the death of a cyclist offered “I didn’t see him” as her defense. “He came out of nowhere,”19 year-old Katie Hart explained.

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A Path To Justice

Rory Tomasello was, by all accounts, a talented, “intensely bright” and creative young man. An aspiring actor and playwright, Tomasello was studying philosophy at De Anza College in Cupertino while he tried to figure out what to do with his life; he had already outgrown the small town confines of Morgan Hill, California, and was considering moving north to San Francisco to finish college.

On October 23, Tomasello’s bright future came to a sudden end in a Morgan Hill crosswalk. Tomasello was on his bike, riding north along the West Little Llagas Creek Trail, a walking and biking trail that was dedicated on June 9. At West Edmundson Ave., a 4 lane street divided by a median strip, the trail continues north through a mid-block crosswalk, which connects to the trail on the north side of West Edmundson. Entering the crosswalk, Tomasello rode to the median strip, where he waited for traffic to pass. A driver stopped for him at the crosswalk, and he proceeded to cross. As he was crossing the final lane, a driver approaching in that lane did not stop, and he collided with the left front of her Cadillac SUV.

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An autumn present, an autumn past

This past week, it’s been a beautiful autumn here in the Pacific Northwest, with blue skies and sunny days reminding us of autumns past.

Two years ago yesterday, our idyllic Portland autumn was shattered by tragedy; in the aftermath, Portland was transformed, in ways that we would perhaps not have foreseen, had our autumn then been as peaceful as the one we are basking in now.

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And That Was That

2008 was a good year for cyclists in Portland, Oregon. The number of cyclists increased, while the number of cyclists injured in traffic decreased. Even better, there were no cycling fatalities. For Portland cyclists, this was a welcome change from the terrible news of 2007, when six cyclists died on Portland streets.

While 2009 shows every indication that the number of cyclists is continuing to rise, the respite from traffic fatalities has not continued. Already this year, there have been two cycling fatalities on the streets of Portland, before the surge of the summer season has even begun.

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