Senate Bill 158 (Ohio Right of Way Bill)

To keep myself from going off on a wild, frothing at the mouth rant, I’ll just pass this message along (for now). Expect the rant to be forthcoming.

Below is a copy of a message from Dayton Cycling Club president, Chuck Smith.

DCC Friends,
I attach below a report on an appeals court upholding the inadequate punishment for the motorist responsible for the death of cyclist Bob Bachtel. As you remember, Bachtel was killed during the 2004 Calvin’s Challenge in Cedarville, OH.

We in the OBF have passed the article along to the Ohio Right-Of-Way Working Group of which we are a member. This group produced Senate Bill 158 which has been introduced into the Ohio Senate. The bill would make sorely-needed increases in the penalties for right-of-way violations that result in serious injury or death. We are submitting the article for possible use in testimony before the Ohio Senate Transportation Committee.

For more information on the working group and SB 158, go to our OBF web site at:
http://www.ohiobike.org/rightofway.html.

– Chuck Smith
_______________________________________________

APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS SENTENCE OF DRIVER CONVICTED OF VEHICULAR HOMICIDE IN 2004 VEHICLE/BICYCLIST ACCIDENT

The Second District Court of Appeals recently issued a decision on the appeal filed by Bradley Johnson, the driver of the pickup truck who struck and killed Akron cyclist Bob Bachtel on May 1, 2004. Johnson was convicted of vehicular homicide and appealed his sentence which consisted of (1) 180 days in jail (with 120 days suspended), (2) $1,000 fine, to reimburse the Highway Patrol for its investigation costs, (3) $16,175.91 in restitution, (4) 5-year license suspension without occupational driving privileges, (5) mental health counseling, and (6) an unspecified term of community service. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s sentencing with respect to the jail time, restitution, license suspension, and counseling. However, the court did remand the case for reconsideration on the issues of the fine and community service. The court of appeals found that it was error for Judge Goldie to characterize the fine as reimbursement to a law enforcement agency.
In addition, the court found that Judge Goldie was required to set a specific term of community service. Accordingly, Johnson will be re-sentenced on these two issues; however, the remainder of the sentence will stand.

Bachtel was killed while participating in the Calvin’s Challenge, an ultra-marathon race near Xenia, Ohio. Johnson crossed a double yellow line to pass a group of cyclists who were signaling for a left turn, and struck Bachtel as he was completing his turn. The Highway Patrol also determined that Johnson was traveling in excess of the speed limit at the time of the crash.