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'[OT] Focus on the REALproblems'
2004\09\23@082655 by hael Rigby-Jones

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{Quote hidden}

They are very different scenarios though, not really comparable.  No-one (or
at least very few) people drive a car with the actual intention of killing
someone, they simply want to get from A to B.  Wandering around in a crowed
area swinging a hammer has to rasie some doubts about that persons intention
does it not?

>We've gotten to accept most anything that happens on the road
>as an "accident", as if it were god-given and not a matter of
>choice. In Germany (and I suspect in most countries) there is
>a basic /law/ that says you may only drive as fast as is safe
>within the circumstances. In my interpretation, that means if
>you hurt or kill somebody, you drove too fast, or in the wrong
>place, and violated the law.

But do you also agree that pedestrians and cyclists should be held
accountable for their actions rather than simply blaming car drivers for
every accident on the road?

Mike

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2004\09\23@101436 by D. Jay Newman

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> But do you also agree that pedestrians and cyclists should be held
> accountable for their actions rather than simply blaming car drivers for
> every accident on the road?
>
> Mike

Yes. There was a case in my area a few years ago where a pedestrian and
his dog were killed while walking on a road with no sidewalk. Despite
the witnesses saying the pedestrian was walking in the middle of the
road around a curve where he could not be seen, the driver was held
responsible. This seems to have mainly been because the pedestrian
was a very popular man.

And I live and work in a college town where bicyclists routinely
break the traffic laws (going above the posted speeds, running stop
signs, and cutting drivers off). They should be ticketed at the
very least.
--
D. Jay Newman           ! DCX - it takes off and lands base down,
jayspamKILLspamsprucegrove.com     !       as God and Robert Heinlein intended.
http://enerd.ws/robots/ !
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2004\09\23@104212 by Dave VanHorn

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At 09:11 AM 9/23/2004, D. Jay Newman wrote:

>> But do you also agree that pedestrians and cyclists should be held
>> accountable for their actions rather than simply blaming car drivers for
>> every accident on the road?
>>
>> Mike
>
>Yes. There was a case in my area a few years ago where a pedestrian and
>his dog were killed while walking on a road with no sidewalk. Despite
>the witnesses saying the pedestrian was walking in the middle of the
>road around a curve where he could not be seen, the driver was held
>responsible. This seems to have mainly been because the pedestrian
>was a very popular man.

Here in Muncie, most (not all) of our sidewalks have wheelchair ramps, but in some cases there is a telephone pole in the middle of the sidewalk, not 10' from the ramp. In some places, your only choice would be the street, as a brick wall is the other side.  So, we frequently have people deviating into the street.  They just had a festival downtown, so they put up temporary signs on big heavy concrete bases. Right in the middle of the sidewalk.

>And I live and work in a college town where bicyclists routinely
>break the traffic laws (going above the posted speeds, running stop
>signs, and cutting drivers off). They should be ticketed at the
>very least.

I know the feeling, the BSU students here act like there is no traffic.
I frequently see them just walk diagonally into the road at any point, without looking.
The kids on their ninja-bikes are about as bad.

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2004\09\23@112415 by James Newtons Massmind

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Yes, but again, the intention does not have any effect on the "deadness" of
the victim. Intentional or not makes me no nevermind. I want to know if it
was preventable.

James.

> {Original Message removed}

2004\09\24@103617 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
>> This accident thing is really strange. Think about it...  someone
>> running around in a crowded city swinging a hammer and  eventually
>> hurting or killing people, not many, just one or  two every few years
>> -- he would obviously get prosecuted. But  his friend, taking is 2 ton
>> hammer on wheels every night to  the bar, also eventually hurting or
>> killing people, also not  many, is only causing "accidents".
>
> They are very different scenarios though, not really comparable.  No-one
> (or at least very few) people drive a car with the actual intention of
> killing someone, they simply want to get from A to B.  Wandering around
> in a crowed area swinging a hammer has to rasie some doubts about that
> persons intention does it not?

Many people drive for fun, say to the bar at night. No real purpose other
than having fun. They do that more or less consciously creating the risk of
killing someone -- every time you drive your car you know that just by acts
of god you don't kill anybody. We were not made to be safe at 50 mph.

How is that so different from someone running around swinging a hammer,
just for fun? The main difference is that the former is socially accepted,
"normal" behavior, the latter is just plain "weird". But both don't intend
to kill anybody, yet both create the risk of doing so, and both don't have
any essential reason to do what they do. Yet the consequences of the former
usually don't get prosecuted in the same way as consequences of the latter.

{Quote hidden}

Everybody is responsible for their actions. Of course there may be
differences as to what is acceptable. There was a point in time where
public space was public. Later on, after the automobile became more
popular, people realized that in order to be able to really use
automobiles, they had to restrict most public space to automobile use
/only/. Whether that's just or fair is really not a trivial question. The
only thing that's trivial is that it is the basis of an automobilistic
society.

There are some strange turns in logic and responsibility in that area.
Let's take a child, any child. Children are not made for living with
automobiles; for them, automobiles are dangerous, life-threatening,
unpredictable creatures. So if a child is on a road and a driver runs over
it because he couldn't stop in time, it is generally considered not to be
the responsibility of the one operating a machine that is not safe, it is
considered to be the responsibility of the parents to keep the child out of
the way of the dangerous machine. In order to be able to create an
automobilistic society, we had to take away responsibility for actually
operating safely from the driver, and burden others with the responsibility
of creating an environment where the inherent unsafe-ness of motor vehicles
doesn't create excessive (whatever the current societal consensus about
this is) damage.

I think it's just as plain simple as that: someone kills somebody means
someone killed somebody. It's not because somebody else didn't make sure
that the one he killed was not in his way; it's because he ran them over.
But our automobile laws turn that around: when someone kills somebody with
a car (as opposed to most other "things"), it's often considered the
responsibility of somebody else, who didn't make sure that nothing gets in
the car's way, rather than the driver's responsibility to make sure he
doesn't drive over somebody.

You'll notice that pretty much all traffic laws are made to keep the car
traffic flowing. Some may think that some laws are for the benefit of
pedestrians, for example, but in reality they are made to keep pedestrians
out of the dangerous ways of the cars. There would be nothing unsafe for
pedestrians if they were allowed to just walk on the streets and cars would
have to drive safely between them -- the only difference would be that the
cars would have to go /much/ slower.

This is again this thing about collective choice. We choose that it's ok to
kill with cars. That's nothing inherent in the legal system, the economic
system, the political system or any other part of society; it's a
collective choice how to deal with motor vehicles.

Gerhard
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