Monday, June 20, 2011

Boulder's Car/Bike Wars - my take

Some of you may have heard that a cyclist was killed here in Boulder on Friday when a large truck failed to yield turning left and struck him.

I do not road ride much (precisely for this reason) and I normally try to avoid confrontation with cars. But this case outrages me (to be fair, all the evidence is not yet in, and I will happily apologize/eat my words if the cyclist turns out to be at fault here) because the driver involved previously was charged (and plead guilty) to reckless endangerment for a previous road-rage incident involving a cyclist in which he attempted to force the bike into oncoming traffic (how this is only a misdemeanor baffles me).

I am normally not a vindictive person, but I hope this death haunts Mr. Loven for the rest of his life. And I know that if I were looking to install a wastewater system, I would NOT hire Mr. Loven's company, Power Earth Septic Systems.

'Nuff said. Rest in peace, Eugene.


joel said...

It's appalling how some people in cars consider people on bikes less than human and can justify actions that clearly endanger lives. We have tons of issues with automobile/bike conflict here on the East Coast. Narrow shoulderless roads and distracted and hurried drivers are a bad mix. I have an aunt that was run down by a local politician in Austin. She's now legally blind and has pins and rods holding her together.
I hope this fellow you speak of is prosecuted to the fullest extent (should he be found guilty).

joel said...

Dave said...

The psychology of driving is an interesting topic. Driving tends to engage a competitive, hostile, and intolerant side of our brains, I observe this even in myself sometimes and others I consider to be generally non-competitive, non-hostile, and non-intolerant. See for some interesting reading, some people who get behind the wheel tend to become different people. Yet another problem that can be solved by driving less and commuting/using mass transit more.

That being said, there is no excuse for such a senseless and avoidable tragedy. My thoughts are with Eugene's family. If it's any consolation, he was doing what he loved.

Ed said...

Over the weekend I had a debate with a mutual friend about the truck driver being at fault. He emphatically stated the driver should be thrown in prison. I actually defended the driver figuring that all the facts weren't known yet and we weren't there to witness the tragedy - my default position was (and usually is), it had to be a horrible accident that could happen to anyone.

Now having read the latest news about the truck driver having had previous and very dangerous confrontations with cyclists, I have my doubts; was it really an 'accident'? Was the driver purposely messing with the cyclist? Was he testing the will and the skill of the cyclist to make a stupid point?

Tragic all around. We will never really know what happened or if there was any bad intent behind the action of turning in front of the cyclist.

My heart goes out to the cyclist's friends and family.

Buzz said...

I actually think cyclists are more inconsiderate than the average driver, but cars can kill people, so drivers have to be follow the letter of the law and be held accountable if they don't.

Same with driving drunk: it's a guided missile.

Same with dogs (although this may be more controversial on this blog): I was riding home from town on the bike path this evening, when a large dog lunged at me snarling very aggressively. I yelled at it, hoping stern words would keep it from biting. Then the dog's owner got mad at me! Huh? Then I recognized him - a (previously) friendly acquaintance, a mountain biker. Very very disappointing.

I really don't want to get attacked by a pet dog any more than I want to be hit by a car. People need to follow the law, and I need to protect myself when they don't.

Walt said...

Buzz -

Agreed. People who don't train their dogs (or leash them, or preferably both) drive me nuts. Same with people who drive/ride/whatever like asshats.

C'est la vie, I suppose.

Hassan said...

Driving is ultimately an exercise in sharing limited resources with strangers. Cycling is the same damn thing. When it comes down to it, most people 'round these parts' are idiots when it comes to sharing: Cyclists, dog walkers, and drivers, none of us seem all that willing to participate and actually recognize the responsibilities that underlie any of our privilege.

In my little hippie bubble (Boulder east? or is Boulder Northampton/Amherst west?) you should see the walkers and cyclists go at it on the bike paths. Same exact issue, slightly smaller/less lethal scale. Blows my mind to hear my buddies get all worked up, 'it's called the bike path!" as they buzz oblivious walkers bopping to their ipods.

LeeAB said...

Here in China you might be more likely to get run down but at least it is not malicious, it's just the facts of life. Not to mention it is as likely to happen on the sidewalk or by a car coming off the "sidewalk".

In just 2.5 months, I've seen
-car vs pedestrian, did not end well
-car vs bike, ended OK
-Motorized trike vs bike with a passenger, ended OK
-car vs motorcycle, ended OK

Like others have said, the road or "sidewalk" is a limited resource and people need to share. Over here though people will do anything and everything to be first and it does not seem like life is very highly valued, ie. no seat belts, as in they have been removed.

Cody said...


I've not read the details of this event outside of what is posted on your blog. But it makes me realize how fragile human life is and that the sport that we enjoy so much, truly is more dangerous than what most (recreational) athletes partake in. The emotion filled replies and vulnerability remind me very much of what happened here in Austin with Jason B's accident. I'd be interested in hearing him chime in on this. He always has a thoughtful perspective. If you see him tell him hello for me. Even though we don't talk much anymore, I'm sure glad he's still around and doing well in CO.

Be safe out there.