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Drunk driver slams into a Mexican bike race, killing one

by Commute by Bike

What’s your biggest fear during your daily bike commute?

Yesterday an American drunk driver fell asleep at the wheel and plowed into a group of bike racers fifteen minutes after they had taken off. One was killed and several others were seriously injured. Here’s the full story at msnbcVideo coverage can be seen here.

I hesitated as to whether I should post this story on this site. We talk here a lot about commuting by bike being safe and a good choice for the average person, and while I still believe that, the horrifying truth is that the picture from above does happen.

I’m having all of the normal angry reactions and hope only the worse punishment is dealt to this Jesse Campos for the choices he made.  And while I realize there’s no amount of infrastructure or social education that could have stopped this incident from happening, it’s still a reminder that I need to do all I can to educate myself and others on safety and continue to work towards making the roadways safer for every cyclist that ventures out onto them.

 
Burley nomad 229

14 Responses to “Drunk driver slams into a Mexican bike race, killing one”

  1. AC says:

    That’s very sad and shocking. I’ve only been commuting for a couple months and I still think way too much about being hit. It’s getting better as I’m becoming more comfortable, but I have to tell myself not to think about it because if it happens, it’s going happen… I just have to make sure I’m doing my part by staying alert.

    It seems something happens everyday I commute. Someone turns right in front of me, someone in on-coming traffic turns in front of me, if there’s no bike lane inevitably someone tries to pass without budging and coming purposely close. These have all been said a kajillion times before, but this what I experience daily.

  2. Hyper7 says:

    People get killed by lighning and falling coconuts too. Everybody dies sometime. To use something like this as an excuse not to ride sucks.

  3. Casey @ OYFP says:

    What a sad story. Hyper7 has some good points.. it’s easy to concentrate on the negative. This story should serve as a reminder to always be alert, wear a helmet, and DON’T listen to your iPod while riding!!

  4. Blue says:

    This is very sad and reminds me of the cyclists in San Francisco that were killed by the sheriff who fell asleep at the wheel.

    In both cases, you really have to confess that had you and I been in these people’s shoes, we probably would have been hit too (in other words, what can you do? answer: nothing).

    Even so, I can’t help myself from thinking that perhaps I can do something…anything… to give myself a better chance of avoiding being hit…and yet still ride.

    My dad used to say that while biking I needed to always pretend that I was invisible.

    However, for this to work you have to see the car coming, right?

    As another thought:
    Has anyone posted bicycle accident stats here or elsewhere and discussed what the most common type of accidents are, most common type of locations, etc?

  5. Juan says:

    First, I’d like to extend my best wishes for the riders and families involved, and special remorse for the rider who was killed.

    Like Hyper says, everyone has their time, but Casey brings up great points. After many years racing and commuting, I’ve been lucky enough to never be involved in a bicycle/car related accident, but you have to put yourself in a lucky postion to start with. I’m still amazed at all the white iPod cords I see dangling from people’s ears. Another thing I can’t understand is this mentality of pack riders who ride 3 or 4 abreast, out in traffic, just so they can chat while they ride. These are the kind of actions that put you in an unlucky position.

  6. LosFelizRider says:

    The news photograph is horrific. In essence, it is a picture of a mass murder in progress.

    The driver needs the book thrown at him.

    Ride on. (And safely.)

  7. Fritz says:

    This is awful.

    Something to keep in mind: In 2003, George Weller drove his Buick LeSabre 60 mph into a crowded farmers market in Santa Monica, California, killing 10 people and injuring 63. We don’t talk about how “lucky” we are when we escape from an outdoor shopping mall with our lives — we shudder at the tragedy of these losses, but we also recognize them for the random and uncommon events that they are. Cycling is a daily, routine activity for millions of people.

    [ somewhat tasteless cartoon removed ]

  8. bikesgonewild says:

    …fritz, my friend…while your words ring very true, i’m stunned enough by the accident pictures, i can’t even enjoy the ‘message’ of the cartoon…i understand it goes hand in hand w/ the obvious dichotomy you’ve presented for us…

    …unfortunately, people outside the world of cycling need to see photos like that, to be reminded just what it looks like when the vulnerability of a cyclist is violated…

    …harsh fucking reality…

  9. Fritz says:

    Aagh, I didn’t intend to post that video right now. I’ve removed it.

  10. Ghost Rider says:

    Blue…all the crash statistics you can stomach right here:

    http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/facts/

    My heart goes out to the riders and their families. I hope the Mexican authorities throw away the key to the cell holding this menace.

  11. MikeOnBike says:

    Fritz said: “We don’t talk about how “lucky” we are when we escape from an outdoor shopping mall with our lives”

    Same thing when we drive our cars. Despite the 100 car occupants killed in the U.S. every day.

    The common theme is that an out-of-control motorist can kill anybody anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a car, on a bike, on foot, or sitting in your living room.

    It’s the out-of-control motorist that’s dangerous, not the victim.

  12. Tim Grahl says:

    MikeOnBike: Yes, car crashes kill people everyday, but I think it’s the exposure that’s scary. If you get hit head on by a car, the odds are greater that you’ll live through it if you’re in a car vs on a bike. Fritz is right on that riding a bike IS safe and millions do it everyday, but that fact still remains.

  13. Blue says:

    Hey I found a really interesting set of reports:

    http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/docs/ctanbike.pdf

    and

    http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/TSF2003/809768.pdf

    It is interesting to note that with an over taking motorist that failed to detect the cyclist, the cyclist had a nearly 50-50 chance of being seriously hurt (duh, because of the speed!). and there was an equal chance of this happening in the daytime as in the nigttime.

    also note that a lot of adults get hurt in on-coming traffic that is turning left.

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