By on September 12, 2013

state

It’s a video that simultaneously sends chills down the spine of every motorcyclist and confirms the worst fears of those who advocate for distracted-driving laws. A young man is flying down the right lane of a freeway at night in a V8-powered sedan. There is a couple riding a motorcycle at a normal speed in the middle of the lane. Without so much as touching the brakes, the young man hits the motorcycle, putting both of the riders in the hospital. After asking “Are you okay?” the driver starts checking his car for damage.

There’s no obvious malice in the video and the driver is stone-cold sober. It seems like an obvious case of texting and driving. When asked what caused the accident, the driver insists on referring questions to his attorney. But why he has an attorney isn’t immediately obvious, because he’s not being charged with anything.

What’s going on?

The image at the top of the article contains the clue: the driver was an on-duty patrolman. In the video obtained by CNN, you can see Ohio State Trooper Jacob Daymon ramming a motorcyle for no apparent reason. There are two obvious questions that arise after viewing the footage:

What was Trooper Daymon doing when he struck the motorcyclists? Was he texting? Chatting? Surfing the Internet? Most of us have seen troopers doing all of the above; your humble author was texting at a stoplight the other day when I realized the car pulling up behind me was an Ohio patrolman. I quickly hid my phone, but there was no reason to worry; the trooper was busy texting someone on his phone. Perhaps he wasn’t doing anything personal at all. It’s possible he was simply operating one of the myriad of in-car information systems that are part of the modern police car. If that’s what happened, then we need to ask: What makes us think that police officers have any more ability to safely operate a vehicle when looking away from the road than anyone else would? Did the in-car computers in Trooper Daymon’s car compel his attention to the point where he simply didn’t see the motorcycle approach for several seconds?

Why wasn’t Trooper Daymon charged? It’s a virtual certainty that a citizen in the same situation would face some sort of charge. At the very least, it’s reckless operation; at the worst, it’s an attempt at vehicular manslaughter. Particularly in rural Ohio, one might expect to have to face an arraignment and make bail in this situation. We keep hearing that distracted driving is equal to, or worse, than drunk driving. Imagine a drunk driver hitting a motorcycle under these conditions. He wouldn’t be sent home. Even a drunk cop might face discipline. What if there had been a fatality? What would have happened then?

Right now, there are more questions than answers. And as long as Greene County, Ohio implicitly supports Trooper Daymon’s actions, there probably always will be.

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126 Comments on “Distracted Driver Rams Motorcycle On Freeway, Faces No Charges...”


  • avatar
    afflo

    Reminder to fellow motorcyclists – watch your six. They never reacted at all.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Also, ATGATT. Without helmets, those two would be in a morgue, not a hospital.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        I saw the interview with the motorcycle couple on the news as they sat in their hospital beds. She lucky she has the structure under the skin of her nose as it looked as if they were not wearing full face helmuts, but half helmuts.

        • 0 avatar
          aristurtle

          Yeah, I saw a picture. I didn’t know if it would be tasteful to bring it up, but seriously, wear full face helmets.

          My lesson only cost me a small scar on my chin and not half my damn nose; in retrospect I got off easy.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          When I went to my first Autocross school decades ago the instructor said, “if you have a $50 head, buy a $50 helmet. If you want to spend your life sucking apple sauce through a straw, get a half-helmet.”

          I still remember these words to this day, and live by them in recreation and on the track.

      • 0 avatar

        A warning to fellow DONORcyclists…

        …it’s only a matter of time…

        • 0 avatar

          Everyone dies eventually.

          We should just stop breathing to be safe.

          Bad troll attempt, and tasteless considering the subject matter.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Have you ever heard of odds? Sure, everyone dies eventually. But that statement alone doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things.

        • 0 avatar

          Death rate for motorcycles is 400% higher than passenger vehicles.

          Death rate for passenger vehicles is 1,800% higher than buses and 21,000% higher than commercial aircraft.

          If you really care about your safety I hope you give up your obsession with private automobiles and stick to mass transit.

          • 0 avatar
            chicagoland

            Oh God, keep that ‘everyone must move to Manhattan and depend on big Gov’t’ crap for a NYT site.

            Anti car zealots want us all dependent on Gov’t owned transit, and pay higher taxes each time there is a worker strike. And us all a ‘nation of renters’.

            Eff that!

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Safest would be to just plug in to the Matrix and happily gurgle our lives away. I’d go for that if I could pick my fantasy.

            Silesia….1762…a prosperous village newly unmanned by the last Silesian war…

            Lavishly endowed, healthy, healthy Teutonic women contemplating enforced celibacy for the remainder of their days…and then came Kenmore.

            Yeah, I’d swap cars for that.

          • 0 avatar
            aristurtle

            Mass transit? Sounds dangerous — why not get a job that lets you work from home, then have groceries delivered to your house, so you never need to leave?

          • 0 avatar
            friedclams

            Kenmore, your plan has a weakness: the state of mid-18th-century dental care. Those ladies’ smiles might be a surprise. Back to the time machine, quick!

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            @friedclams

            I did think of that and generally of the 18th Century healthcare I’d be subjecting myself to. So I made a deal with our AI masters:

            I and all women remain as medically perfect as our genetics allow, all men except my lineal descendants get killed in wars or develop leprosy.

            You want to go into this kind of thing with your eyes open.

        • 0 avatar
          Detroit-X

          Or another way to say it is: “Ride a bike and you agree to the risk of a huge bodily injury from road accidents that would be minor dent in a car.” I personally do not agree to this choice of increased risk, so I do not ride on the road. But others do, even at night, even without helmets. Therefore: I have minimal sympathy for the obvious consequences of adults making their own choice on bikes. And then… there are those bikers who ride, darting and zooming, like idiots in traffic. Boo-hoo.

        • 0 avatar
          69firebird

          People like the commenter “Big sucks review”,make me almost consider opting out of the organ-donor program.Almost.Classy post.I’m glad I don’t ride bikes anymore,with window-lickers like this guy on the road nowadays.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Gordon

      I had the exact opposite occur to me. Motorcyclist hit me…totally misjudged his weaving in and out of traffic, bastard was lucky not to come off but he dented my car and didn’t even stop.

  • avatar
    blackbolt

    I see bikers adding lights to their wheels and frame lately. Wonder if the bike lit up might have caught the trooper’s attention. Thought those lights were a little too much bling but after seeing this I’m definitely getting them.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      In many states those are illegal to have on while in motion

    • 0 avatar

      Bikers are also apparently starting to wear lime green jerseys the sort of thing bicyclists (like me) have been wearing for more than a couple of decades. If you’re on two wheels at night, it pays to be lit up like Piccadilly Circus, or Winnemucca Nevada (take your pick). And in the daytime, you should wear clothes that enhance visibility. The sooner they notice you, the less likely they are to crash into you.

  • avatar
    jco

    i remember distinctly one evening leaving a movie with some friends. we were in my truck, and pulled up next to an unmarked panther sedan. because we were higher up and it was night, we were able to clearly see the officer paging through what looked like a shopping page for tactical gear. we were driving, in light traffic, on a marked 45mph 4 lane road.

    i understand officers are trained to use this stuff, but the interior of their cruisers is filled with comm gear. and they don’t always have partners to assist with the operation. i’m surprised this kind of thing isn’t more frequent.

    this guy won’t keep his job, no way

    • 0 avatar
      SomeGuy

      I doubt it. The police union exists for a reason.

      He will keep his job, at worst he’ll get a suspension…with pay, because, you know, he has family to support. So in other words, extra vacation days.

    • 0 avatar
      tooloud10

      No, you’re being too nice–there is no LEO training that makes them any better at browsing a catalog while driving than it is for any of the rest of us.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “It’s a virtual certainty that a citizen in the same situation would face some sort of charge.”

    If you research that, I’m willing to bet that you’ll find that probably isn’t true.

    Drivers who are at fault for even **fatal** crashes are often let off lightly, particularly if they are sober.

    Prosecutors like to have high conviction rates, and they fear that juries will take a “but for the grace of God go I” attitude, and fail to deliver a conviction.

    Here’s one example:

    A review of five years of pedestrian deaths (in the San Francisco Bay Area) by the Center for Investigative Reporting shows that prosecution rates are still low. Sixty percent of drivers who were found to be at fault for killing pedestrians or suspected of a crime like hit and run did not face criminal charges. When prosecutors did file, the punishments were often light. In fact, more than 40 percent of drivers charged with killing a pedestrian did not even have their licenses revoked. Four of ten drivers who were convicted, were sentenced to just one day or got no jail time at all.

    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/assignment_7&id=9084364

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      This is the correct answer. Who does and doesn’t get charged/tried for an auto accident is highly variable. Several years ago a 16 year old girl texting in her parent’s Ford Excursion ran a red light at 55 MPH and hit the driver’s door of a Ford Escort. Driver killed instantly, his wife badly injured, and their small son narrowly escaped severe injury. Charges were a slap on the wrist, as everyone seemed to feel for the teenage girl. She spent a grand total of 30 minutes in the back of a squad car and that was it.

      About a year later she was pulled over for DUI and that’s when the authorities went after her.

      The criminal justice system does not function in a completely objective, consistent manner. When it does, it usually involves zero tolerance stuff that makes things worse rather than better.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “The criminal justice system does not function in a completely objective, consistent manner”

        When perps are handled with kid gloves while victims are ignored, problems ensue. If the justice system functioned in a mostly objective, consistent manner, we’d see better results for all.

        Instead, we’ve made the perfect the enemy of the good.

      • 0 avatar
        stuart

        Another anecdote:

        My new manager at work was riding his motorcycle on a rainy day, and stopped to make a left turn (presumably legally). While stopped, some car clipped his motorcycle, sending him sprawling across the pavement, into oncoming traffic.

        An oncoming Jeep *ran* *over* him. He died. The Jeep didn’t stop.

        The Jeep driver was eventually located, and when facing the Judge, said “I didn’t realize that I ran over anything.” I presume this was a first offense; the Judge apparently believed the Jeep driver, and there was no penalty.

        The story was related to my by my manager’s widow.

        stuart

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      My perspective, from living in the People’s Republic of NY, is that the local prosecutor and jurisdiction make a huge difference. Penalties can range from fines to a string of weekends in jail.

      A rural Ontario county prosecutor did a nice job in this case:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/28/nyregion/bus-driver-is-sentenced-to-prison-for-accident-that-killed-five.html

  • avatar
    lmike51b

    If there is not some disciplinary action for this LEO, these kind of incidents will continue.

  • avatar
    Boff

    I’m surprised there are not MORE police involved in rear-enders, as the NEVER seem to be looking at the road, at least in low-speed situations around town.

  • avatar
    TR4

    “he’s not being charged with anything.
    What’s going on?”

    It’s called “professional courtesy”.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      If they are going to remain “professional” they ought to not extend such “courtesy” to each other unless they plan on doling some out to the rest of us from time to time.

  • avatar
    Mikemannn

    I was nearly run into (on my motorcycle) by an officer at an intersection, as he failed to maintain his lane as two lanes turn right (he was to my right, and tried to proceed straight). I hit the gas as I saw him coming over in my peripheral, and his front bumper missed my back tire by inches. My friend behind me said the officer didn’t look up from his screen when the light changed to green, and only reacted when HE honked.

    I also personally know one officer who was responding to a message on his computer, and managed to roll his cruiser into a snowy field. No charges. Still laughs about it.

    I wonder the same thing, what if I did this in my own car?

  • avatar
    readallover

    Even though he got off criminally, there is nothing stopping the victims from suing the officer and the law enforcement agency.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      Instigation rarely leads to better service. “Reduced services” from the police can be a nasty thing.

      I will be surprised if there are any repercussions. Justice is usually a lost cause when the police offend.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Even if this isn’t a criminal act, the victims should have receive compensation for their trouble and for the officer’s negligence.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        This is a perfect situation for a 1983 suit. The officer is indemnified by the department (the taxpayers) and probably won’t face any personal civil liability.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        Absolutely, and they’ll probably have medical expenses covered, and might receive some extra money from a civil suit, but changing lives through negligence deserves punitive measures, I think.

        But, as Pch101 mentioned above, it’s easy to convince a jury of our peers that of course, we all could be guilty of a lapse long enough to mow down some pedestrians or knock over a motorcycle on an empty road, right? Right.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Interestingly enough, I just spoke to a friend of mine who was recently a passenger in a car that hit a pedestrian. The pedestrian was in a crosswalk.

          We’ll see what it happens, but if the experience of that driver corresponds with the statistical averages, then it is unlikely that much will happen to the driver, who was sober at the time and not otherwise driving aggressively.

          The pedestrian was hit hard and was taken to the hospital, but seems to be alright.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Must be Ronnie’s yoga night.

  • avatar
    kkop

    Ah yes, Ohio. Where cops are above the law, but I-75 has been turned into a tax-collecting venue.

    A few years ago two cops (one a trooper) were caught doing 149mph on their motorcycles, basically racing each other on the Interstate, during the day, with traffic present.

    They weren’t charged until shit started hitting the fan when the cruiser cam video became public. Even then, they were not deemed to be racing (which is punished heavier that simply speeding), and got off very lightly in the end. No loss of job or license.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      It’s not just Ohio. In New Jersey cops get away with all kinds of crimes that would get a civilian thrown in prison for years.

      As for not being charged, other people have said it, and I agree, unless their is some other criminal behavior going on, traffic accidents rarely result in criminal charges, even for civilians, unless the person involved is being used as a scapegoat to cover up for someone who is connected.

      As concerns the cop’s attorney advising him not to speak, that’s standard operating procedure for lawyers. First thing any lawyer will tell you is to shut your mouth. Even though there are no criminal charges here, the couple run over by the cop will file a civil suit.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    “….riding a motorcycle at a normal speed”

    Never a good idea. Ride with the flow of traffic and know from the photograph you’ve taken with your brain who is behind you, their closing speed and if you need to get over because some dumb ass is barreling up the highway.

    I hate it when someone gets hurt through no fault of their own but wow, time to wake up cycle rider. Might not be a next time.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Yes, always speed up when a police car is approaching you. Nothing bad can happen from that.

      • 0 avatar
        manbridge

        Seriously?

        My life is worth a hell of a lot more to me than any hassle from speeding up a bit to move over. YMMV.

        • 0 avatar
          69firebird

          No kidding.One thing I do know,that’s don’t be caught traveling next to a car on a multi-lane same direction road,unless you can see them looking at you.Even then…it’s questionable.They never see you,and the “I’m sorry/the Hands up in the air” thing doesn’t really help me too much,even if I did survive their stupidity.You can’t really cruise,you have to accelerate constantly in that situation.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Attorney is probably provided by either his PBA or the state, and told him to keep his mouth shut. Ohio knows a lawsuit is coming and they haven’t a leg to stand on; anything the cop says is only going to make it worse. Unless there was evidence he hit them intentionally or was drinking, probably no grounds for a criminal charge. This tool has demonstrated he’s entirely too stupid to keep his badge. Another pair of millionaires made courtesy of the state, your tax dollars at work.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    So about the police cruiser.

    The police officer’s cruiser is like anyone else’s office. Much of the stuff that is accomplished behind a desk in a “normal” job often has to be done inside the confines of a cruiser in the cop job. In rural areas a police officer can be thirty minutes away from an office where he/she can accomplish something useful, hence the prevalence of in-car data terminals. An officer on patrol may need to still work cases like robberies, assaults, narcotics, you name it, and this will require using the phone. As will fielding calls from the prosecutor’s office, the court, or even dispatch for some forms of communication that need to stay out of the dispatch traffic.

    All of that can be accomplished with hands-free technology.

    Police officers do receive more driver’s training than most drivers in the same way that they receive more firearms training than most gun owners. The training can range from being very good to being very mediocre, and the officer’s personal investment in the training and learning the lessons can vary considerably too. Merely attending minimum required training does not result in a candidate that is imbued with super-human skill.

    It’s impossible to operate a terminal or text using your hands while safely piloting a car at highway speeds. There are times when it’s appropriate to use the in car electronics and the cell phone, and there are times when it’s inappropriate. Using it at the wrong time leads to this sort of thing.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    If anything, a police officer is called to a higher level of behavior and awareness on the road than is a normal civilian. So if a police officer causes a wanton accident that hospitalizes two motorcyclists, it definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly…

  • avatar
    bringmecoffee

    There will eventually be charges, of that you can be sure. With officer involved crashes when the officer is at fault the process just takes a while. Most likely he will be cited for failure to maintain an assured clear distance ahead, same as any other motorist that did the same thing. In addition to discipline at work. The wheels move slower, but they still move.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      All the highway patrol here (Florida) seems to be good for in motorcycle accidents is to charge the at-fault driver with some wimpy $150 charge for “failing to _____,” whether the biker is hospitalized or killed seems to make very little difference on the outcome.

      On a related note, after watching how some local stories have gone down, I suspect they may have some policy about not giving a breathalyzer or drawing blood if a certain number of hours have passed since the event (not that such things would make much difference in court, but it’s still the principal of the thing).

      Of course, a few idiots come out of the woodwork on internet news comments, usually such drivel as, “But now the driver has to live with the guilt and he/she has already suffered enough.”

      Anyhoo…

      • 0 avatar
        69firebird

        Yep…moved to the Tampa area.Sold my bikes after riding various toys since I was a kid. These people in Tampa scare me when I’m driving down here in a car,and I’m a DC/VA Capitol Beltway Veteran.

        A motorcycle? Don’t think so.Almost every time I cross the Howard Frankland bridge,over Tampa Bay,someone passes me doing maybe 100mph.

  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    He’ll probably be forced to take at least two weeks suspension with pay. Maybe he’ll go to Disneyworld on his paid vacation.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    This may or may not have happened, I’ll let your imagination figure it out;

    Once upon a time there might have been a guy I that happened to be a LEO. He was driving one day out of his apartment complex and his windows were fogged up. The defroster hadn’t quite cleared it up yet when he hit a parked landscaping trailer, pinning one of the landscapers between the trailer and the vehicle it was attached too. Whoops….

    The landscaper happened to be illegally in this country, and didn’t make a deal of it, even though he was cut up real bad and had to seek medical attention. The LEO got a few “points” on his record, added to where he backed a city into a parked car. He also might have totaled a patrol car around a light pole, but that wasn’t on public ground and didn’t count on his record.

    Lets be honest for a second. Cops get off from a lot, but it depends who catches them. Troopers don’t go very easy on off duty city cops. But State Trooper > City cop, for whatever reason.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    First rule: The cars are out to get you
    Second rule: If a car and motorcycle have a collision it’s the bikers fault. Always.
    Third rule: Drivers in cars do not see you. Ever.
    Fourth rule: If it’s your time then that’s it. All the training, preparation and safe driving won’t matter if your number comes up.

    I’ve been riding for years and have seen the pavement a few times. I still get back on. A bike represents the last liberty of travel left and one that is largely unregulated by the car nannies that dictate how many airbags are needed and the size of buttons protruding on a dashboard.

  • avatar
    V-Strom rider

    This incident illustrates so many failings of contemporary society that I won’t even try to list them. As a motorcyclist, my response is to wear the best helmet I can find, avoid riding at night if at all possible and constantly check my mirrors. I know I shouldn’t have to do these things, but no-one else will look out for me like I will!

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Do you ride around with the high beams on day and night? That seems to be a thing here in VA, for whatever reason (and I’m cursed with an auto-dimming mirror that dims only when it deems convenient for the mirror and not the driver) but I find any high beam tends to dazzle me both day and night and obviously worse at night.

      I get that the rider wants to be noticed, but it seems pretty silly head on at night since my natural inclination when blinded by oncoming traffic is to steer towards the center of the road as all I see is bright white light and from behind I just turn the mirror up and rely on the side mirrors.

      I just figure riding with the brights on is a universal behavior?

      • 0 avatar

        We are taught in MSF to use high beams during daytime & normal lights at night. Motorcycle lights cannot be turned off AFAIK.

      • 0 avatar
        V-Strom rider

        I ride with low-beam in built-up areas, day and night, because you’re correct that high-beam can be dazzling/distracting for drivers ahead. If I see someone up the road who might be a risk to me (e.g. someone waiting to pull onto my road from a side street) I will often give a couple of brief flashes of high-beam to maximise the chance of attracting their attention.

        As stated by many posters, my taking precautions doesn’t release other road users from their responsibility to drive safely, but it does increase my chances of enjoying another ride.

  • avatar
    Elena

    Motorcycle riders try their best to be seen (the smartest ones, at least). Many studies confirm the average driver fails to perceive them. Still, I drive a red truck (fire engine red, real bright and tall) and in 3 instances had close calls involving police cruisers failing to yield the right of way while (hopefully) working on their laptops. All 3 acted like I was invisible. Windows up, eyes on computer screen, brain… I’ll leave it there. I’m talking Miami Dade Police, Florida. It’s not just Ohio. Cop, civilian, doctor, tow truck driver and everyone else: If you’re not paying attention you’ll end up causing a wreck. Only question is when.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    Yes LEO have lots of equipment in their car including their personal high tech phone.
    No they obviously should not be surfing and texting while driving.
    Here is where I go out on a limb.
    In my opinion the effectiveness of the modern suburban/rural/state cop is not what it used to be.
    Why you ask?
    Because many times I believe they park their running Tahoe with tinted windows by the side of the road, set their radar gun at 10 or 15mph over the limit. They are then free to entertain themselves with all those electronics, no more getting bored from spending time all that time observing the world outside the car windows.

  • avatar
    Syke

    I’ve been riding for 37 years now. In that time, I’ve been down twice seriously enough to see hospitalization. Figure your law of averages, the two times happened in April 1998 and June 1998.

    I don’t worry about it. Like a previous poster already said, the motorcycle is the last transportation freedom you’ve got. It may kill me tomorrow. If so, I can take pleasure of having had one hell of a good run. It may not kill me tomorrow. Which means I’m riding again on Saturday.

    I’ll take all the precautions I’ve learned in the last 37 years, treat every car driver as a Down’s Syndrome idiot, and enjoy the open road.

    I will not waste my time cringing in idle speculation of what could happen to me.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “the motorcycle is the last transportation freedom you’ve got”
      - Sorry, this line sounds like it came from a song. I’m not in bondage because I drive a car.

      “Down’s Syndrome idiot”
      - Uh, “idiot” would be sufficient. You’re better than this.

      But you’re right that bikers can’t live in fear of riding.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “You’re better than this.”
        A really annoying recruitment-phrase I frequently hear.

        Sans-PC translation:

        “Agree with me and reach your full human potential.”

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        “Uh, “idiot” would be sufficient. You’re better than this.”

        Actually, I’m not better than this. To put it bluntly, I’m a bigot.

        I’m bigoted against any driver who has spent his/her life entirely piloting four wheels, a steel cage (and all sorts of airbags and safety nannies in the modern versions) all their lives; and have never spent any appreciable time in traffic on two wheels with their body out in the elements. Take your pick: bicycle, scooter, motorcycle. If you’ve avoided utilizing any of those forms of transportation, you’re most likely a second-rate driver who really believes you can multi-task behind the wheel (anything from setting the radio station to texting), don’t overly have to worry about the effects of weather on your driving, and aren’t terribly worried about your state of well-being during your trip.

        After all, you’ve got all that steel, and aluminum, and neato little government-mandated technological outs to insure that you don’t have to really know what you’re doing when you’re behind the wheel. Therefore, until your behavior shows otherwise, I will assume you’re a Downs Syndrome idiot (politically in-correct insult intended).

        I will give a pass to those car-only drivers who have legally raced at some time in their driving career. They’re the only car-only types that take the kind of risks us two-wheeled devotees consider normal, and I feel safe to assume it affects their driving skills in a positive manor.

        • 0 avatar
          AoLetsGo

          I am with you regarding the two-wheel comments, the majority of cars and trucks drivers are not that skilled and are distracted. When I take my road bicycle out I have now limited myself to a few select roads that have wide shoulders and that are somewhat “safe”. Even on the safest road I ride I know of two people who have been hit one by a car drifting across the on coming lane and getting them on the other shoulder the other was t-boned by a driver doing a U-turn in the middle of the road.
          Some of my friends don’t understand why I skip some group rides that have routes on high speed roads that are in poor shape and no shoulder. For me it is just not worth it.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            2 wheel vs. 4 wheel

            A bunch of Sanjay Guptas strolls into a bar full of Ndamukong Suhs, stays there, and then complains about the outcome.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            Where I live there are a fair number of people who idly drift onto the wide shoulder and stay there for miles on the country roads here. By a lot of people, I mean a cross section of you name it (rubes in beat up old pickups, soccer moms, yuppies in Euro cars or Asian luxo sedans, etc.).

            Over the last few years a lot of those wide shoulders have been marked as bicycle lanes. Sometimes the errant vehicle/daydreaming driver in the bike lane has one of those “Look Twice for Motorcycles” bumper stickers… oh, the irony. Next time I see one do that I think I’ll snap a picture with my cell phone camera ;)

          • 0 avatar
            aristurtle

            Yes, there is no greater irony than to be riding a motorcycle, have some driver absent-mindedly almost hit you (with that “sorry man I didn’t see you” expression on his face, of course) and then see a “Look Twice For Motorcycles” sticker on the back of his car.

            Happened to me yesterday, in fact.

          • 0 avatar
            joeveto3

            I’ve stopped bicycling, something I really enjoy because of this. It sucks. I now run facing traffic with hopes of making eye contact before they run me down.

            But if they are staring at the screen in their lap…

          • 0 avatar
            AoLetsGo

            Kenmore vs. Semi Truck
            Two vehicles driving down the road, sleepy trucker crushes Kenmore’s car who then complains about the outcome.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @Syke:

          I’ve only ever been a passenger on a motorcycle (many times in high school), and from that experience I appreciate the plight of bikers, giving them a wide berth, especially at red lights and passing situations.

          But you really sound like a victim bigot: “The ‘Man’ in the car doesn’t know the sufferin’ I’ve seen.” I get it now.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Double standards aside… Cops are not well paid and still have much responsibility and risk in their work, but…
    I don’t, for a second, think this cop should get away with ramming a motorcycle off the road though. Just because they are smaller and more vulnerable does not give them ANY less right to be on the road. That cop has even less excuses, as a person in a position of responsibility, than the next person…
    Letting the cop get away with this is a complete abuse of power and I find it important to point out, not necessarily the cops fault…

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Cops are paid exactly what they’re worth. At least I don’t hear them complaining, or they know exactly what I would say.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I suppose it depends on where you live, but in my area the borough police are quite overpaid to patrol the posh neighborhoods that surround me and the only “action” to be had is setting speed traps on the local roads (around $80K plus overtime per officer, contributing to a $1.9 million budget shortfall this year).

      For lack of a better word, the Ohio State trooper f***ed up, but fortunately no one was killed. The trooper at the very least should apologize and accept discipline. I think the focus should be on how to prevent such occurrences in the future not specifically chastising this man or police at large.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      Cops (with overtime) are generally very well paid and the job itself is not all that dangerous or risky, as cops would have you believe.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        Cops in my town average $140K per year. I live in Bergen County, New Jersey. With OT, special assignment…babysitting utility trucks and the like…some are coming up to the $200K mark.

        According to the US Department of Labor, police officer doesn’t even make the top ten in terms of death or injury on the job. The most dangerous job in the US is logger.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        Ditto for firefighters. I know several who make over $120k per year and hardly ever have to answer any calls. One called me at work one day asking for help with his new $1500 laptop (note:I don’t work in IT or anything close to it) because he wanted to watch Netflix on it in his spare time. On the clock.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          Yeah, but that’s the very nature of firefighting. It’s very much a “hurry up and wait” job. They do go out and run code inspections occasionally, but that comes at a (potential) cost to response times if a call goes out, even though they bring their gear. Plus, 24 hour shifts. They are also expected to sleep on the clock so a little electronic entertainment is all good with me.

          This story doesn’t seem to be so much about LEO authority abuse as it is about this officer knowing full well how to handle the situation once it comes up. He isn’t saying anything stupid and knows the system well enough to keep it that way. It looks like an accident after all, and there’s not really any proof right now he was on his phone or receiving road head. We may all suspect that even if there was there would be no charges, but that’s a way broader discussion.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      All of you, my intention is really to remind us all that cops have a purpose and we, the taxpayers, put them there.
      However… We need to make sure they are doing what we pay them to do.
      Taking out motorcyclists is NOT their job…!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      There’s a local cop around here that makes 109k a year writing speeding tickets.

      There’s a rule about publishing public employees making more than 100k. Yep, the guy whos issued a muffler ticket to every motorcyclist and most modified looking vehicle owners I know is on there.

    • 0 avatar
      69firebird

      I live in Florida,near Tampa.2 police officers live in the more expensive phase of my community,which are 10 yr. old homes pushing 2800 sq,ft.and pools,with 3 car garages.They also drive newly issued Challengers as patrol cars.They seem to make okay money here.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      “Cops are not well paid and still have much responsibility”

      Ha on both counts. Both are lies perpetuated by the Fraternal Order of Police and other unions that exist to fleece taxpayers and defend thieves, murderers and rapists as long as they are in the right club.

      Look up what your local cops make after a couple years (the pay usually ramps up to the mid eighties or higher after three or four years, before overtime or any other bumps (e.g. detective, higher rank). Six figures comes super easy. And well, as for responsibility, this guy isn’t facing any charges.

      I know a lot of lawyers and other highly educated people becoming cops because you don’t have to work that hard, get paid a lot and retire very young with a very generous pension. Plus the uneducated masses think you are some kind of underpaid hero, when really you’re in it for the money just as much as any banker. I hope. Because the best case scenario a cop is in it for the money. The bad ones are in it for a power trip, and the money is a side benefit.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        Jersey cops can retire after 20 years at half pay and no benefits. 25 years with 65% pay and full medical/dental/vision for himself and his life partner. 70% after 30 years. Survivors get 70% of the total pension plus any benefits. The local chief of police retired last year with a pension of $128K. In addition, the town will maintain a million dollar life insurance policy on his behalf for rest of his days. He was also paid over $300K lump-sum to buyout his unused sick/vacation/personal days. The day after he retired from the PD, the municipality rehired him to run the municipal planning board. I know policemen who have retired with $90K pensions at 46 years of age. There is a former policeman who resides on my street. He went out on full disability when he was 36 years old. He gets $65K pensions, full medical, and works full time at a non-LEO job…all perfectly legal.

        Don’t believe they PBA/FOP BS about how police work is dangerous and underpaid. Police officer doesn’t even make the top ten list of most dangerous jobs in the US. Airline pilot is the only profession in the top ten most dangerous that pays more than police officer. In most places police officer pays significantly better than civilian jobs with similar education levels.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          I can’t believe I’m defending law enforcement here but so be it.

          They should be highly paid. The job requires extreme trust and responsibility, not to mention an element of personal risk (not just on duty either). This is one of those jobs where people hate you and are vocal about it, and that shouldn’t come cheap (I wouldn’t be that guy without a nice pay package.) I want them to make a lot, part of it is to pay for a good attitude despite it all, the rest is paying for integrity.

          I think that most of the problems with law enforcement stem from poor legislation they are tasked to enforce, but primarily from poor leadership demanding that they aggressively do so, hence the quota cop syndrome. That right there is 90+% of the problem with NYC’s police force right now. Stop and frisk + a numbers obsessed mayor and chief (people who have never and will never see themselves wearing the other shoe) = zero respect for police officers and the wrong guys getting promoted. For a nice example please check out the audio clips that have emerged out of the NYC stop and frisk lawsuits, appallingly poor leadership on display at the precinct level, no thought given to long term consequences on the management level whatsoever.

          Same arguments apply if we’re talking about silly modified exhaust laws or minor infractions getting aggressively ticketed.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    If seat belts are required for cars & trucks, then motorcyclists must wear helmets! I don’t care what those old hippies say about ‘freedom’ and ‘wind in hair’. They cost taxpayer money when they have accident and get sent to ER.

    And not just old hippies, but Frat Boys in shorts and flip/flops going 80 weaving through urban traffic. A brain dead vegetable waiting to happen.

    I don’t care if anyone disagrees. If so, then lets get rid of belt laws, child car seats, and air bags in the name of “freedom”? Didn’t think so.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “If so, then lets get rid of belt laws, child car seats, and air bags in the name of “freedom”?”

      I agree that none of those things should be mandatory.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      That just tells me that helmetless motorcycle riders are a statistically unimportant number. If those deaths appreciably amounted to something no helmet laws would disappear fairly quickly.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “A brain dead vegetable waiting to happen.”

      Sometimes it’s fast food.

      Saw that in Madison one fine sunny Saturday. I was standing at State & Gorham when two Frat Rats in flip flops on huge Suzooks flashed by on Gorham, accelerating, toward North Bloom where Lysistrata used to be.

      Two women in a minivan on Bloom pulled out to cross Gohram never seeing the two speeding specks coming at them. Two dead, one veggie Rat and one repeat inpatient for the rest of her days.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    I rode over 4000 miles this month. A game I’d play was “How many people are texting.” The game quickly got old as I quickly lost count.

    When people nearly kill you, they guve a sheepish “oops, sorry, ha ha.” They never realize how their miscues can kill someone. Never ceases to amaze me.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      A bike liberates you from the over protecting cocoon that a car provides. I hear your!

      • 0 avatar
        joeveto3

        I don’t disagree with the benefits of proper gear, training, licensing, insurance, etc. These are all important and statistically reduce a rider’s chance of being involved in an accident and injured.

        The absence of the above, does not waive the responsibility of the other operators. Is their lack of attention any more forgivable if I’m in a modern cocoon? Is the woman in the bar culpable, “asking for it” because she chose to wear something revealing? Of course not.

        Here’s a thought: You choose your mode of transportation and I’ll choose mine. Then let’s look out for each other and everyone else, as if our lives matter to someone.

        Lastly, point taken about insurance. If you cant afford to pay for the mess caused by your head hitting the pavement, dont expect us to. Let Darwin go to work.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Any form of accident whether a violation or oversight is sad.

    But, if motorbikes were ‘invented’ today no advanced country would allow them to be road registered. They would be relegated like snow mobiles and quads with limited use.

    Just do a simple risk assessment. I’m not saying ban them, so please realise this isn’t an anti bike comment.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I recently moved out of NYC out to actual America, where back roads and highways are pretty much not lit. A sharp contrast to NYC, where street lights pretty much maintain daylight (much to my delight as a light sleeper). I REFUSE to ride at night, largely for situations like this. Driving in pitch black darkness is scary enough.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      I don’t have numbers to prove this out, but I suspect that a motorcycle’s visibility to other motorists is better at night than during the day.

      The visibility of a motorcycle during the day is defined mainly by the shape and size of the bike and rider; which is (1) much smaller than a car/truck and (2) unusual. Both (1) and (2) bias people towards not seeing motorcycles.

      At night, motorcycle visibility is defined by their lights. Although the light output of a typical bike is about half that of a 4-wheeled vehicle, 1:2 is a much better ratio than you get during the day. Plus at night drivers are looking for lights, rather than a specific shape or size of moving object.

      Lack of streetlights probably improves visibility of motorcycles at night, as a bike headlight stands out much more against an otherwise completely dark country road than it does against a brightly-lit cityscape.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        You pretty much nailed it with what *most* drivers subconsciously look for and what they expect to see (or rather, if they do not see a car or truck then they automatically and subconsciously assume that the way is clear). Most, although not all drivers.

        Also, when turning right on a green light, especially when they were not at the front of of the line, most drivers do not check to make sure they are not cutting off a cyclist approaching from behind and to their right…

        But rest assured, in these scenarios, the going rate for forever changing another person’s life is about $150 and a couple points on your license.

      • 0 avatar
        GS650G

        As ugly as they are, bright colored jackets and helmets really add safety. No one wants to wear blaze orange over a black jacket and bright colored helmets are actually hard to find, most are pattered and subdued.
        In traffic conditions I wear my orange hunting vest over my jacket. It’s so bright I get an orange glow on my gauges. I notice I don’t get tailed or squeezed that much.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Make sure you watch the entire 1:42 video clip. Hit the bikers? Yeah, but also he was all over the road for most of the video – straddling the two lanes. This guy was a passenger, not a driver.

    If I were they couple’s attorney, I would ask for the entire shift video, because this clown dollars to donuts was zoned out for a lot longer than 1:42.

    What an asshole – right through to his reaction to the crash, too. “You alright?” Yeah, sure they’re alright, pal – what do you think?

    I saw an unedited version of this, and it takes him like ten seconds to come to a stop, and then another ten to start backing up – and he has to back up a long, long way because his reaction time after he hit them was so bad. A minute and fifteen seconds after the crash, he finally asks them if they’re alright, and then two minutes after the crash, you finally see him out in front of the car, in the video. At no time do you see him rendering first aid to either of them. He’s checking his car for damage with them lying on the road next to the car.

    Totally out of it before, during and after the crash. If the first unit to arrive on scene did NOT put this guy through the full battery of sobriety tests, something is wrong. He’s OUT of it.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Crash data shows that motorcylists in fatal crashes are more likely to be speeding, unlicensed and/or driving under the influence than passenger car drivers. They are frequently at fault.

    If you want to reduce the odds of a crash, start by looking in the mirror.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      If that is a correct statement about the data, then perhaps all it really shows is that the consequences of being stupid tend to be more severe when you aren’t ensconced within 3,500 lbs + of steel, aluminum, and polymer equipped with a number of safety systems.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The data shows that motorcyclists are more likely — not just as likely, but more likely — to speed or to be intoxicated.

        And it’s more likely that they won’t be licensed. Not just as likely, but more likely.

        The conclusion to be reached is that motorcyclists need to stop pointing fingers, and start looking at themselves as a major source of the problem. They have met the enemy, and it is them.

        That obviously doesn’t justify crashes such as the one discussed in this article. However, those on bikes are quite often to blame for their own fate.

        • 0 avatar

          wrong wrong wrong. Keep making stuff up if you want but I think most people should know not to believe you by now, pch101.

          http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2013-03-09/news/fl-finding-fault-in-motorcycle-crashes-20130309_1_motorcycle-crashes-chanyoung-lee-motorcycle-riders

          http://michigan.gov/documents/SERIOUS_CRASHES_INVOLVING_MOTORCYCLES_final_148972_7.pdf

          When involved with cagers, cagers are more likely at fault. You are 100% wrong.

          Really wish ttac had a “filter/enemy” list so I could filter you already PCH101.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            According to a NHTSA study of two-vehicle fatal crashes involving motorcycles, 26.9% of motorcylists were driving too fast for conditions, versus 3.4% of drivers.

            Per NHTSA, “Nearly one-fourth (24%) of the motorcycle operators killed in two-vehicle crashes involving passenger vehicles, had an invalid license at the time of the crash compared to 8 percent of the passenger vehicle drivers.”

            Per NHTSA, “Alcohol involvement among motorcycle operators killed was almost 2.5 times the alcohol involvement of the passenger vehicle drivers involved in these crashes.”

            Per NHTSA, “Nearly one-fourth (24%) of the motorcycle operators killed in two-vehicle crashes involving passenger vehicles, had an invalid license at the time of the crash compared to 8 percent of the passenger vehicle drivers.”

            A Michigan report on serious motorcycle crashes between 2002-4 found that motorcylists were at fault for between 54-58% of the total crashes in which they were involved.

            We can see which enemies you need to worry about, and I’m not one of them.

            www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/810834.pdf

            michigan.gov/documents/SERIOUS_CRASHES_INVOLVING_MOTORCYCLES_final_148972_7.pdf

      • 0 avatar
        GS650G

        And covered in all that protection a person can be very reckless with less consequences. If a driver was in an early 60′s panel van sitting inches from the front of a vehicle would they tailgate? How about doing ridiculous speeds in bad weather? Take corners at double the recommended yellow sign speed?

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The data would suggest that young males who are overly fond of speed are attracted to motorcycles (in particular, sport bikes) and get themselves killed at relatively high rates per mile.

          The conservative riders do have legitimate reason to worry about being hit or cut off by car drivers who don’t see them or who have poor judgment. But those aren’t the only types of riders on the roads, and consequently, the majority of motorcyclists involved in fatal or serious crashes are found to be at fault.

          “The primary factors influencing motorcycle rider fatality are lack of helmet use, speeding, alcohol use, and rider age…Fatal crashes for sport motorcycles are associated with young riders and risky driving behaviour, including speeding.” – Characteristics of Motorcycle Crashes in the U.S.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    According to this a grand jury is looking into charges against the trooper.

    http://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2013/09/13/ohio-state-trooper-cruiser-rear-ends-motorcycle-nearly-kills-local-couple

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Running a bike with high beams on during the day is annoying to other drivers, not a good plan in my book. Loud pipes are very annoying and rightfully illegal in most areas. The headlight flashing between high and low during the day takes the cake for distraction.
    Being seen and heard might prevent an accident but turns sentiment against motorcyclists in many minds. Studies have shown distracted drivers would not notice money blowing out of an armored truck in front of them anyway.

    No matter what you have to look out for yourself. Motorcycling is about responsibility and taking steps to avoid accidents. In short it’s up to you to save yourself.

    Alternatively you can travel in a road tank with 12 airbags, traction control, full restraints, and plenty of safety enhancements. I wonder if car drivers would be more careful if they weren’t in these safety boxes since many drive like they are protected from consequences. A large spike out of the steering wheel would stop tailgating I am sure.

    • 0 avatar
      joeveto3

      Thanks for putting it so succinctly.

      I’ve been riding for over 20 years, Japanese and American bikes. I wont ride with high beams glaring because I don’t want to distract and annoy other motorists. For a plethora of reasons, I wont rip off my mufflers and be one of those “loud pipes save lives” d-bags. Not only is the open exhaust panty dropper mentality irritating when you’re in traffic with these folks, but I dont appreciate it when I’m trying to enjoy the tranquility of my back yard, and I can hear them over a mile away.

      At 5:00 a.m.

      I have a 2013 Road King, and I was in a parking lot getting my rain gear and helmet on. An older gentleman, the town fire chief to be exact, approached me and said “I didn’t know these things even came with mufflers. And surprisingly, you don’t appear to be a dirt bag.”

      I appreciated where he was coming from, thanked him for the compliment, and said as far as I knew, I was riding the only cruiser left in existence that had a stock muffler. Should be a collectible some day.

      My point, is shared responsibility, at all times. As motorcyclists we cant afford to conduct ourselves as a-holes and expect the rest of society to go along with us, no matter how scary and threatening our little group of accountants and insurance salespeople, knee deep in midlife crises, may be.

      (though certainly well educated on meth production, jailhouse stabbings, and snuff films)

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Has Det. Hester officially stopped commenting and/or participating? Jack, get him back here if you can–his comments on this subject might be welcome.

  • avatar
    Legally Brunette

    I queried my favorite law enforcement officer (my brother) about this situation. He said that in his jurisdiction (not Ohio), such an officer would be charged, whether on or off duty, but that it would take some time for the charging to occur (until the investigation was complete, to include a subpoena, these days, of phone records to check for texting, etc). He said the same process would happen for anyone – no charges would be brought/no arrest would occur until the investigation concluded. He also indicated that the trooper should expect a civil lawsuit. I would expect a civil lawsuit with a HUGE payout, since the average person in a jury (if you can get one in Ohio in a civil suit like this) is likely to be unsympathetic to law enforcement, especially with video proof that the guy was paying no attention to the road.


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