No Free Pass on Bike Death | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

No Free Pass on Bike Death

Letter of the Week

 This week's featured letter comes from Daniel Brewster, who happens to deliver the Source's downtown route by bike and knows a thing or two about the interactions between drivers and bikers. For more on the tragic death of Keith Moon, see this week's Boot, Page 8.

It is sad to see the Bend Police Department taking such a passive stance on the tragic bicycle accident that occurred Wednesday, August 13. If someone breaks a traffic law (cyclists included), they need to be cited. If there are no consequences for carelessness, then we as cyclists are in a lot of trouble.

Here are some facts that might be useful in this particular case.

ORS 811.050 A person commits the offense of failure of a motor vehicle operator to yield to a rider on a bicycle lane if the person is operating a motor vehicle and the person does not yield the right of way to a person operating a bicycle upon a bicycle lane.

A summary of this would be that it is a class B traffic violation for a motorist who does not yield to a cyclist in a bike lane.

ORS 814.485 A person commits the offense of endangering a bicycle operator or passenger if the person is operating a bicycle on a highway or on premises open to the public and the person carries another person on the bicycle who is UNDER 16 YEARS OF AGE and is not wearing protective head gear.

Keith Moon was 50 years old. He broke no law by choosing not to wear a helmet. Would wearing a helmet have saved his life? We don't know, but the fact that he was not wearing a helmet has absolutely no relevance in WHY this accident occurred.

I have heard on two separate occasions Bend Police officers stating that the majority of Bike vs. Car accidents are the fault of the cyclist. Even though this statement is an opinion (ODOT statistics show about half with 56% as motorists' fault) I can't help but wonder if Bend's finest go into every accident with the preconceived notion that the cyclist was at fault. When it turns out that it is the fault of the motorist, it's shrugged off as an accident.

This man lost his life. His family lost a husband and a father. We need to realize that when we get behind the wheel, we are operating a deadly weapon. We need to pay attention as if someone's life depended on it. Some choose not to travel by motor vehicle. Give them space. Treat them like they were your husband or father.

Daniel Brewster, Bend

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