What is the Price For Taking a Human Life?

Here is the aforementioned rant, read or skim the previous post for an idea of what I’m all worked up about.

Apparently here in Xenia, Ohio (the self-proclaimed “Bicycle Capital of the Midwest”) it’s $17,175.91 and 60 days in jail, if the victim happens to be a cyclist and the weapon an automobile.

Each time I hear about one of these (all too common) tragedies my sense of outrage and disgust rises exponentially. Have we, as a people become so blinded by our love affair with the automobile?

Automobile “accidents” are the leading cause of death among our 16-20 year olds; not guns, drugs, AIDS, or cigarettes… cars. If people were being killed and maimed at a similar rate by any other means (about 42,000 Americans killed per year), the public outcry would be overwhelming; but hey, we love our cars, we gotta drive, we’ve got places to go, we’re busy people!

Now, I’m not some radical proposing we do away with cars altogether, but what I am suggesting is that we hold ourselves to a higher standard. I’m sick of people acting with wanton disregard for anything other than getting to their destination as quickly as possible, killing someone then shrugging their shoulders and saying, “It was just an accident.”

If drivers faced serious punishment and extended jail time for killing or maiming someone through negligence, carelessness, or downright aggressiveness; I don’t think they would be so cavalier about buzzing by at 70MPH six inches from my handlebars. And maybe, just maybe, the streets would be safer for all of us.

One thought on “What is the Price For Taking a Human Life?

  1. Thanks for the rant and previous post. I agree that $17k + 60 days in jail are not enough, especially considering that the money will likely come from whatever liability insurance the driver had, to compensate for the loss of a human life. I am always sorry to hear of the loss of cyclist in such a careless fashion.

    One thing mentioned in the article but not your rant was that he got a five year suspension without occupational privleges. Having had my licnese suspened, I can tell you this will be life changing. I’ll bet our driver either takes up cycling (how ironic) or drives under suspension. Almost makes you want to check up on him, huh?

    For me, I don’t think long jail terms will wake people up to the fact that cars must share the road. Fines that can’t be paid by liability insurance and loss of driving previleges will. But more bikes on the road and consequently more motorists learning how to behave around cyclists will help even more. So let’s get out and ride! To arms! I mean, to bikes!

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