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News coverage from Albany, Grand Jury starts today, and other updates on Angela Burke

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 22nd, 2010 at 10:42 am

A few things have come across my desk recently about Angela Burke that I want to pass along.

First, a commenter named Nick who worked with Angela recently shared the chain of events that led to Angela being on a bike that night:

"... there was something Angela said to me at work that day that's nagging me, and is related...

She said she didn't know how to put her bike on the bus racks. (She usually would drive, but car was in the shop. Was supposed to be done, too, but mechanic said it needed another hour or two.) So coming into work (and going home, as we see), she biked all the way to/from the MAX downtown.

She kind of brushed it off ("probably faster to bike it anyways", etc.), but coming home in those conditions after work...maybe it would have made a difference.

Is that a common problem---the bus bike racks seeming intimidating or difficult to use for people new to it? Is there a way to increase education about that?"

Also, a legal reporter from The Oregonian got a hold of the police bureau's probable cause affidavit filed with the Multnomah County Court. The document includes witness statements and other details about the crash.

From The Oregonian:

"Witnesses who saw the crash... described the motorist who struck her as traveling at "full tilt."... One witness estimated the Subaru's speed at 75 mph, where the posted speed limit is 35 mph."

The Oregonian's reporting also reveals that the man driving the car, Caleb Pruitt, "failed three field sobriety tests and showed signs of both alcohol and marijuana intoxication." The officer who wrote the initial report on the crash described Pruitt as being "greatly impaired." He also reportedly went through a DUII diversion program in 2004.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, the Grand Jury in this case begins today with officer briefings and witnesses are set to take the stand starting tomorrow. The facts above about Pruitt's behavior and state of intoxication prior to the crash will be crucial pieces of information in determining the severity of charges the court will bring against him.

Pruitt was initially charged with DUII and Criminally Negligent Homicide. The latter of those charges is a Class B Felony and — while it sounds very serious — depending on the judge, Pruitt could receive only probation. The test for prosecutors will be whether or not they can prove that Pruitt's crime should rise to a higher level that would come with mandatory jail time. Stay tuned for updates on the case as it works through the court process.

And finally today, reader Rob Anderson shared a TV news story about Angela that aired on the local CBS station in her home town of Albany:

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Comments
  • matt picio December 22, 2010 at 10:56 am

    That is a heartbreaking piece. I feel so bad for her family. It's amazing and tragic that despite decades of fighting against drunk driving, it can never be completely stopped by "us". It always boils down to an individual decision, one which when made is made impaired.

    May her family find peace, comfort and solace.

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  • Justin December 22, 2010 at 11:16 am

    RE: the bike racks on Trimet buses. I tried to use them once with my Novara Safari, which has a pretty long wheelbase but doesn't seem too ridiculous. Well, it didn't fit by a mere inch. Biked home in my work slacks in the pouring hail and rain, which was more fun anyway even if I did look kinda crazy. For most bikes they aren't too difficult, but for others maybe.

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  • kenny December 22, 2010 at 11:37 am

    I think one issue for me and taking Trimet, has been the driver can be intimidating. The majority of the time they are either just kinda there (almost absent), or even really nice/helpful folks. Other times, I find them extremely rude (for no reason at all). I have had times putting my bike in the front rack where I would make a clear indication with my hands that I have a bike "look at me". Most really appreciate this(even compliment and say they wish more folks would show such awareness), a few have actually chastised me for no reason at all saying that I did not need to make a big thing of putting my bike up front. We should be able to feel really comfortable asking a driver to simply help us putting our bike on the front rack if we did not know. That should even be emphasized that "if you do not know, ask, and the driver will (happily) come out and assist." When they are jerks (again, not all the time, but enough) it really upsets me.

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    • Spiffy December 22, 2010 at 11:57 am

      the instructions clearly state that you have to get the driver's attention and they have to acknowledge you before you step in front of the bus to load your bike... if they give you attitude I would report them...

      http://trimet.org/howtoride/bikes/bikesonbuses.htm

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    • Domes December 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm

      I think this comment is extremely relevant and accurate. Tri-Met drivers and management should read this.

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  • jen December 22, 2010 at 11:41 am

    once upon a time, i was also intimidated by the bike racks on busses, but once you use them once, you realize how silly it is to avoid them. i'm sure plenty of other people are similarly intimidated, however, so it's not surprising to me that angela avoided them as well. it makes me sad to hear that those racks might have been one of the reasons she decided to ride up barbur that night, and i certainly agree with nick that we could probably increase education about their use.

    part of the problem i also find with the racks is that the trimet busses only have space for two bikes, and those spaces fill up very quickly during standard commuting hours. i very rarely use the bus due to that, and i know that other cities (bellingham, for example) have busses with space for three bikes. it would be nice if trimet's busses had similar space, but i guess we'll have to make do for now.

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  • G. Tyler December 22, 2010 at 11:46 am

    At the East Sunday Parkways they had a booth with bus rack that a volunteer helped me practice with my bike and answered a few questions about using the racks. I am glad I have the dry run and know how to go about it but have yet to use the racks on a real Metro bus.

    I understand how she might have felt never having done that before it can be quite intimidating.

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  • Allan December 22, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I will say that I'm in the 'brave and fearless' group but yet I am somewhat clueless when it comes to the thought of loading my bike on a bus. Generally, I'm passing busses, but I hope that I could figure it out if I get a flat and don't want to deal with it. I hear its super-simple, but I have yet to see a simple video with clear instructions.

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    • Spiffy December 22, 2010 at 11:59 am

      they have a video on their site, but not sure if it's up to your standards... might be something on youtube as well...

      http://trimet.org/howtoride/bikes/bikesonbuses.htm

      the video is in the right margin...

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    • Jeff December 27, 2010 at 4:26 pm

      I've seen bus drivers quickly jump down and help someone who didn't understand how to load their bike. It's no big deal even if you have trouble.

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  • Spiffy December 22, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I read the Albany news story this morning and was very moved by how touched her step-mother was at the outpouring of support from around the world for a person that people barely knew, but knew enough of to care about...

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  • Schrauf December 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Here is a somewhat okay guide (but no video) on bike/bus loading:

    http://trimet.org/howtoride/bikes/bikesonbuses.htm

    Here is a video from Spokane Transit. The racks are somewhat similar to TriMet:

    http://www.spokanetransit.com/ride-sta/view/bikes-on-buses/

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  • Tourbiker December 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Use a Gun...go to jail...use a car- go to diversion

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  • Rob December 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Let the process work. But we really need to be watching this one closely given the facts reported so far in this case.

    Probation for Pruitt would simply be a slap in the face to the victim, her family, everyone that was at the vigil on Monday, and anyone that wants to walk or ride a bike safely in Portland. Pruitt (per The Oregonian) was already given a chance to fix things up in 2004, when he was placed in a DUII diversion program. Apparently, the message didn't stick.

    At this point, probation is simply a non-starter for me. The message it would send would be loud and clear - "if you want to get away with killing someone, just wait until they get on a bike and then run them over with your car".

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    • beth h December 22, 2010 at 4:01 pm

      "Let the process work."

      I'd like to believe that it will, but I've seen it fail cyclists far too many times to have that kind of faith.

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  • Will December 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I'm not sure about the bike racks on TriMet busses being hard to figure out, but I do know that they are often full. My wife and I have started regularly riding around folding bikes specifically because we have trouble finding one, let alone two, free bike spaces on a bus.

    Compounding that issue is that we were recently yelled at by a TriMet driver (not hyperbole - he actually yelled). The driver apparently did not know that folding bikes are allowed on busses when folded. They're even recommended by TriMet on their website.

    In our situation, we knew the rules and asked him to call his supervisor and we were eventually allowed on the bus. But if we had been newer rider we could have easily ended up in a similar position as Anglea - relegated to biking on an unsafe road.

    The incident we faced is particularly relevant since the angry driver was on line 96 - a line that connects Tualatin/Tigard with downtown as an alternative to traveling on 99/Barbur.

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  • random rider December 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    If he was walking down the sidewalk randomly swinging a machete and struck and killed someone I guarantee there would be an uproar and much more serious charges would be filed.
    If he was randomly firing a handgun into the air and a stray bullet killed someone he would be facing more serious charges.

    Cars kill more people than guns (or machetes) and I think the fact that such deaths are more common leads to a mindset where people are subconsciously more willing to accept a death here and there. Also, almost everybody drives a car while not everybody owns a handgun (or machete); it makes it easier to almost feel empathy with the killer (there but for the grace of god go I).

    Sadly, after Erzinger and Hanna walked away scot-free I don't have high expectations for a reasonable sentence in this case. Then again, Pruit isn't rich so I guess there's some hope he'll see jail time.

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    • Eric in Seattle December 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm

      It really is appalling the level of carnage we (as a society) accept on our roadways. Can you imagine the outcry if some city built a transit system (rail, bus, subway, etc) where every day there were thousands of dollars of property damage frequent serious injuries, and where a couple of people get killed every week? Yet pretty much every city in the country has built just such a system with the automobile-centric planning of the last 50 years or so.

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    • El Biciclero December 22, 2010 at 6:11 pm

      the fact that [car-caused] deaths are more common leads to a mindset where people are subconsciously more willing to accept a death here and there.

      This is why I compare the streets of today to the Wild West of yesteryear. Back then, if you got accidentally shot, well, you shouldn't oughta' been standin' in front of a bullet. Nowadays, if you get run over by an inattentive, speeding driver, well, you should know better than to wander into the street. Society and the law are heavily biased toward the auto and driver in any kind of motor vs. non-motor altercation. This won't change until non-motorized and public transit travel is at least as common as single-occupant motor vehicle travel. As long as non-drivers are considered "weird", nobody but the families will care when they get killed.

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      • Freeman December 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm

        True that...over 50,000 driver related deaths per annum, countless plot devices for Hollywood...("my daughter was killed by a drunk driver") - its become so cliche' it's the norm...when a driver aims his car at an officer of the law, its "attempted murder", when the person in question is a civilian, its called 'an accident'...why is that? Because one can trust the objective witnessing abilities of an officer 'under fire' and that his testimony about the incident is unimpeachable? When i 'fight back' after a road incident in which i feel or felt my life was in danger, verbally or physically, i sense the other drivers witnessing my aggresion will automatically side with their auto clad cousin, not myself - the actual victim. And in a court of law, forget about a jury of our peers...how many in that Grand Jury got there without the aid of an automobile? 1 in 7, 2 in a dozen? How will there ever be justice without a modicum of empathy?

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        • El Biciclero December 28, 2010 at 10:25 am

          How will there ever be justice without a modicum of empathy?

          Winner: Quote of the Year.

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  • Beth December 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    The racks on the buses are confusing for people who have never used them before. My first time using one, I looked pleadingly at the bus driver for help - a fellow rider got off and helped me work the rack instead. I felt foolish - but I had to take the bus, so I had no other option that night - so I faced the slight embarassment of not knowing what I was doing for the ride; however, I can easily see how people new to the system would feel intimidated. I thanked the lovely lady who helped me the first time.

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  • Eric in Seattle December 22, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Too bad for him he's not a wealth fund manager. He'd probably be able to plead down to a misdemeanor.

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  • Ken December 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Trimet bus bike rack issues aside, even if Angela had hauled her bike on the bus to the closest bus stop to her residence, she still needed to make the heroic sprint across Barbur Blvd. to make it home. How often have you actually witnessed cars stopping for pedestrians at this kinda-sorta crosswalk?

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    • Michweek December 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm

      How often do people driving cars stop for people crossing crosswalks or waiting to cross at an unmarked but perfectly legal crossing? Never. And when I just assert myself, I get a nice honk because I'm not running across I'm walking. For all they know I might have a broken/sprained or otherwise compromised leg. I really wish there were more cross walk stings.

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      • Kt December 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm

        Wow, generalize much?

        That's like saying, "how often do bikes stop at stop signs? Never"-- also not a true statement.

        As a driver, I stop for pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks. I don't care if I get rear-ended, sheet metal can be repaired. Every member of my family also stops for pedestrians. We also all drive 20mph thru school zones, when the signs instruct us to.

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        • matt picio December 27, 2010 at 8:05 am

          It's perfectly true, if sarcastic. If one says "always", "all", or "every", then sure, it's a generalization - but sarcasm isn't quite the same thing. And in both cases, the behavior is largely true - while I'd hesitate to say most drivers/cyclists don't stop, I think it's far to say that many do not - enough so not only to create a stereotype in both instances but also to warrant asking "how many do?"

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  • Eric in Seattle December 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Here in Seattle, Metro has a demonstration rack for people to try. It's locaed at the Bike Port (a downtown parking facility). I think there is also one available for groups to borrow. It's really nice to be able to try it out without a bus full of people waiting for you. I talk to lots of otherwise very competent bike commuters who are a bit intimidated by the racks on the busses.

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  • commuter December 22, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    This guy should never be allowed to drive again for the rest of his life.

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  • rhoneyfi December 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I just wish people would be accountable for their actions. I can already see this guy pleading not guilty.

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  • Lance P. December 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm
    • A.K. December 22, 2010 at 2:32 pm

      I wonder if the killer of someone that isn't famous would have received the same sentence.

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  • Jeff Bernards December 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Tourbiker
    Use a Gun...go to jail...use a car- go to diversion

    DUII drivers are coddled like they're the victim. Having one DUII conviction, he already knows he can basically be irresponsible and a quick weekend class and it's back to the party. When they released him did they give him back his car too? You know he needs it for work! Maybe if he had to start riding a bike he might be a little more careful when he's drinking.

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    • Facts, maybe... December 22, 2010 at 3:34 pm

      My understanding is that they impound a drunk driver's car and he must pay something like $500 to get it released from the lot near the St. Johns Bridge.

      I think he will still be able to drive before he goes to trial. (Innocent until proven guilty and all that.)

      Once convicted, for first time DUIs, it is not a weekend class, but more like 3 months worth of classes. And also no drivers license for those 3 months.

      Since this is a second offense, and since the DUI penalties were increased by Mannix' voter initiative in November (not sure when it actually takes effect), and also since a fatality is involved, this should not be a minor slap on the wrist.

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      • q`Tzal December 22, 2010 at 7:27 pm

        Can you point to the specific law?

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        • Facts, maybe... December 23, 2010 at 8:13 am

          ORS 813.010 – 813.616
          http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/813.html

          The experience I summarized above was what a friend of mine went thru on a first offense in Mult. Cty. about 5 years ago. Things may be somewhat different now – increased penalties.

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  • Stig December 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Is he out on bail already? Inmate roster link? Allowed to drive? Car back in his possession?

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    • Ryan Good December 22, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      As I understand it, his license will be (or is, rather) suspended. And because he already went through the diversion program, he is not eligible for it again. So at a minimum, he'll face jail time, long-term suspension (1 year, I think...?), and some hefty fines. That's just on the DUII- I'm sure it will be worse because he killed someone. But in a non-fatal or non-injurious second-offense DUII (in other words, no accident, just getting pulled over), I believe that you are not suspended from driving entirely; you can drive to and from work or anything work related. And if it's been a certain number of years, you're eligiblefor diversion again. I'm not an expert though, and I know we have a few lawyers who read this- am I right? If so, I find that very frustrating. But on the other hand, it's pretty common for people to drive while suspended anyway, so maybe it doesn't really matter.

      I have mixed feelings about the diversion program. On one hand, I hate to see someone's life ruined over (what could be) a simple mistake; on the other hand, it seems like a slap on the wrist so many people don't take it seriously enough- the recidivism rate is sure high enough to make it seem that way. But that plays back to what a previous commenter said, that we (as a society) sometimes view the DUII driver as almost the victim and make excuses for them. Not in cases like this of course, but in general society's views on it seem to be pretty lax. I'm not sure what the answer is, because suspending licenses doesn't seem to work- read the accident reports and you'll see a lot of accidents involving unlicensed, uninsured, and/or unsober drivers. One way or another we need to crack down on this, because nobody should have to lose their life or a loved one to a drunk driver.

      Sorry for the long post.

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      • matt picio December 27, 2010 at 8:06 am

        It's ironic that the loss of a license for a year is called "long-term suspension". Wouldn't it be great if the legislature increased this to 5 years?

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    • Mork December 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm

      I plugged his name into the Mult. County booking search the afternoon after the collision and he had already been bailed out.

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  • Bob_M December 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    He will walk. It pains me to say it, but I have little faith that our legal system delivers justice.

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  • Josh G December 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    How about revoking his driver's license permanently?

    It makes more sense from a safety standpoint, rather than for him to go to jail for a period of time, and then resume driving.

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    • El Biciclero December 22, 2010 at 6:28 pm

      This is what I would love to see in cases like this. If you have proven yourself an irresponsible driver (as my mom would say, "It looks like you're still too little to handle a car"), you should not be allowed to drive. Period. IF you are ever allowed to drive again, it should not be without a complete re-test, with some additional grilling on issues related to why you lost your license in the first place. You should have to score above a "normal" passing score, and the license you get restored to you should be provisional below even a learner's permit (since you have proven yourself to be a very slow learner). Only after a year or two of incident-free driving should full reinstatement even be considered, and if you ever mess up beyond a minor traffic infraction again, away goes the license for the rest of your life.

      I wish we would start treating driving a car more like the privilege it is than the right most folks act like it is...

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      • q`Tzal December 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm

        It might be cheaper in the long run to permanently revoke repeat driver's licenses and give them a free-for-life transit pass with a weekly allowance of taxi vouchers.

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    • Opus the Poet December 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm

      Even if his license was revoked permanently revoked, what makes you think he would stop driving? It's already illegal to drive while drunk, the point was driven home after his first arrest, would making it illegal for him to drive at any time make any difference?

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      • El Biciclero December 23, 2010 at 9:48 am

        Unfortunately true. However, in this case, if the accused is convicted of either the DUII or the Criminally Negligent Homicide, and a license suspension results, it would be a felony to drive during the suspension (my non-lawyer reading of ORS 811.182). Of course, he would have to get pulled over for something else for the cops to find out he was driving while suspended, but having every little driving mistake potentially be a class B felony might encourage such a person to at least drive on eggshells if they wanted to do it while suspended.

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  • Brad December 22, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Stop complaining about the system and do something about it!

    I call on all of you to use this tragedy as motivation to get something done in Salem once and for all. Write your legislators, bang on the BTA, make as much noise as possible to get a strong vehicular homicide law on the books and zero tolerance for DUII. With the new legislature meeting soon, get this on the agenda and keep pushing it over and over until Salem acts.

    Complaining on a blog is cathartic but essentially useless as it is merely preaching to the choir. Don't let this become another example of a cyclist being killed by a driver only to be forgotten in the fog of our collective ADHD when Jonathan posts an article about a redneck senator, the CRC, or helmet laws and your anger shifts to the topic of the day. We don't need another freakin' ghost bike, we need laws with teeth!

    Take ten minutes tonight and write your elected officials!

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  • tonyt December 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    "The test for prosecutors will be whether or not they can prove that Pruitt's crime should rise to a higher level that would come with mandatory jail time."

    If 75mph in a 35 zone can't do it, then forget it, we've lost.

    As is so sadly and tragically often said, "If you want to kill someone and get off, do it with a car."

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  • S brockway December 23, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Many years ago TriMet had "Demo" racks along with a video (VHS) to obtain a bike pass card.Maybe some racks in prime locations and Video on line if one is not already in place.Skip the card though.

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  • John December 23, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Trimet has a demo bike rack on the PSU campus. One can practice lowering the rack, mounting and dismounting a bike, raising the rack. It's very simple and fast once you get the knack of it. Overly long wheelbase bikes like the Novara Safari won't fit, but my Surly LHT which is slightly longer than average fits fine. My sympathies go out to Angela's family.

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  • Joe in Wilsonville December 23, 2010 at 9:11 am

    dang that news clip gave me tears. soo sad. R.I.P

    be safe all, fight the good fight.

    ride
    Joe

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  • Colin Maher, TriMet December 23, 2010 at 10:09 am

    There are demo racks at Community Cycling Center (NE 17th & Alberta) and the PSU Transportation and Parking Office (at the PSU MAX stop on SW 6th). You can find them at events like Sunday Parkways, too. As others have commented, watch the video online (http://trimet.org/howtoride/bikes/bikesonbuses.htm) and remember to get the operator's attention before stepping in front of the bus.

    Colin Maher
    TriMet

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    • Tacoma December 23, 2010 at 10:17 am

      Thanks for posting. Much appreciated.

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  • Lester December 23, 2010 at 10:51 am

    RE: Novara Safari in a bus rack. That bike should work in a bus rack. Just drop the rear wheel in first. Even if the front wheel doesn't rest on the bottom of the rack, as long as it's fairly deep it should be fine and the sprung arm should hold the front in place.

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  • Roger Averbeck December 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks to Jonathan for the continued coverage.
    To Angela's family, I am deeply sorry for your loss. I have young adult daughters and cannot imagine your grief and pain in this difficult time.

    If Angela had taken the bus home with her bike on front, and got off at the closest Tri Met stop # 155 (4900 SW Barbur), across from the Rasmussen Apts, she would have had to walk or ride across Barbur Blvd to get to her apt.

    At this point, Barbur is 6 lanes wide, including the center turn lane. Posted speed increases from 35 to 45 mph at this transit stop. The crossing has some overhead signs and a median island, but no pavement markings no warning lights and poor overhead illumination. Since it is not an intersection of two streets, ODOT's interpretation is that is not a legal crosswalk, hence no improvements are needed.

    The distance between the signalized intersection and legal crosswalk at SW Barbur and Hamilton, to the next signal and crosswalk at SW Barbur and Miles is 1.5 miles of high speed, high volume traffic with no safe crossings...

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  • esther c December 23, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Until we have forfeiture of motor vehicles for driving while intoxicated this crap is going to continue. Until people start losing their vehicles and end up thousands of dollars in debt for a car they no longer have they are going to continue to do this.

    1st DUI, mandatory jail sentence and forfeiture of vehicle. It will also make it a little more difficult for the offender to get a new vehicle when he gets his license back.

    Until we start taking away their cars there is nothing to keep them from driving.

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  • Facts, maybe... December 23, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    It is interesting to see all the (deserved) invective aimed at drunk drivers.

    But when the topic a week or so was drunk bicycling, there was a lot more equivocation that maybe that wasn't so bad.

    Granted a drunk cycler is less likely to inflict grave injury. But I still would not want to be a walker hit by a drunken biker.

    Why the double standard?

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    • El Biciclero December 23, 2010 at 5:44 pm

      Why the double standard?

      Think about it like this: we license handguns, but not hunting knives. Why the double standard?

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    • Opus the Poet December 23, 2010 at 6:07 pm

      Well, it's like this: Drunk drivers kill about 10K people last year in the US, drunk cyclists might get killed but have caused no recorded deaths to other people in all of 2009 (I looked up the statistics in the FARS). Or to put it in another way, drunks at the controls of transportation WMD cause massive death, drunks at the controls of bicycles cause hysterical laughing and pointing, and maybe injure themselves. Which would you rather have, a drunk behind the wheel of 2 tons of steel moving 30-60 MPH (or faster), or a drunk riding a 30 pound beater bike at maybe 12 MPH?

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      • wsbob December 26, 2010 at 11:08 am

        " Which would you rather have, a drunk behind the wheel of 2 tons of steel moving 30-60 MPH (or faster), or a drunk riding a 30 pound beater bike at maybe 12 MPH? ..." Opus the Poet

        Certainly a point to consider, but rationalizing irresponsible drinking bears a penalty, even when it's arguable that specific types of irresponsible drinking carry less direct harm than others.

        Drunks should not be allowed to take comfort in a notion that the public is ripe to be played for fools. My feeling is that as wider public discussion about drunk biking proceeds, the public will not come to view drunk biking as an acceptable alternative to drunk motor vehicle operation.

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      • Facts, maybe... December 27, 2010 at 9:16 am

        I would not want to get hit by either one. Given, my chances of death would be greater getting hit by a car. But my injuries could be still quite substantial getting hit by a bicycler.

        Extent of injuries does not make drunken operating of a vehicle, autos or bikes, OK. It's just rationalization by bicyclers who want to keep drinking and pedaling.

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  • KWW December 23, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Learn from past mistakes:
    THE TIME IS NOW TO LEAN ON THE DA NOT TO TAKE A PLEA BARGAIN FROM THIS GUY.

    How do we start a petition?

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  • Rebecca C. December 23, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Brad
    Stop complaining about the system and do something about it!
    I call on all of you to use this tragedy as motivation to get something done in Salem once and for all. Write your legislators, bang on the BTA, make as much noise as possible to get a strong vehicular homicide law on the books and zero tolerance for DUII. With the new legislature meeting soon, get this on the agenda and keep pushing it over and over until Salem acts.
    Complaining on a blog is cathartic but essentially useless as it is merely preaching to the choir. Don't let this become another example of a cyclist being killed by a driver only to be forgotten in the fog of our collective ADHD when Jonathan posts an article about a redneck senator, the CRC, or helmet laws and your anger shifts to the topic of the day. We don't need another freakin' ghost bike, we need laws with teeth!
    Take ten minutes tonight and write your elected officials!

    Thanks for the nudge, Brad - I will work on letters tomorrow to Ben Cannon and Jackie Dingfelder after biking to get xmas presents and while baking cookies! The legislators have until January 15th to submit requests for legislation, so we may be able to get something done on this during this session.

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  • Joe December 23, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    also any logic says 45 in a transit zone is just lame

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  • Robert Stapleton December 25, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Man that video is so incredibly sad.I can't handle that kind of stuff.You know there are so many more families dealing with the same situation for the same reason.Doesn't have a damn thing to do with bike racks either.I know the people here mean well but they need to understand that alcohol ruins lives and kills people,a LOT of people.Alcohol is one of the worst things ever in the history of man,a true wolf in sheeps clothing. I think it,s sadly ironic how people are so concerned about eating healthy and worrying about the fate of poor or oppressed people in other countries,things like aids,gay rights,and on and on,but they choose to completely ignore a killer that is stalking ALL of us relentlessly-ALCOHOL ABUSE !!!! Think it's so fun and cute to be drunk,think again. Make sure it isn't you who kills someone and leaves their mother crying and missing her baby forever.

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    • resopmok December 25, 2010 at 11:11 pm

      sure, why lay any blame on the perpetrator of a crime when we can just blame an inanimate object for all the evils of humanity instead? not sure if "personal responsibility" is a set of two words too big for your vocabulary, but i suggest taking the time to research this relatively valid concept.

      human history is rife with examples that prove alcohol and the yeast which produce it will not be eliminated by law or anything else. this leaves society with the issue of trying to mitigate its negative impacts. constructive thoughts about that issue would be a better use of your energy than an angry invective against the substance, in my humble opinion.

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  • Robert Stapleton December 26, 2010 at 12:04 am

    You don't sound all that "humble" to me Mr.Vocabulary.Heaven forbid I should say anything negative about your beloved booze right?The history argument and the personal responsibility thing are just cop outs.Maybe you should get your head out of your dictionary and think about that.Because we as a whole have never been able to fix this problem then we never will. How F-ing pathetic is that ?!!!!

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    • Opus the Poet December 26, 2010 at 8:02 am

      If we're going to blame things for the death, we can blame the car first as that was the direct cause of the death. However I would prefer to blame the person controlling (or not) that car rather than the car itself. Likewise it isn't the alcohol that causes the problems, as many people are able to consume alcohol without ill effects. It is the consumption without taking into account the effects afterwards that is the problem. It's not like these effects are kept a deep, dark secret, I see PSAs every day telling me that drinking "a little too much" is dangerous, that "Buzzed driving is drunk driving".

      I like cars, I think they are cool. I haven't driven since 1995. I like alcoholic beverages, but I got a fifth of Cutty Sark when I turned 21 that I still have about a quarter of the bottle left, I have a sampler of single-malts I got for Christmas 2008 that I haven't cracked the seal on a single bottle yet. I don't let things control me, I control the things I use. To be angry about drunk driving is not to demand the end of cars and booze, but to demand the end of mixing the two, and to call for huge penalties if they are mixed. I'm one of those that thinks mandatory confiscation and destruction of the car a drunk is driving will prevent drunk driving if uniformly and routinely enforced, with prison for repeat offenders who have the money to squander on replacement cars.

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  • Hot Rod December 26, 2010 at 12:22 am

    If the car driver was found driving while drinking in 2004 and he went through some kind of program for that, then either the program is not effective, and does not "hit them between the eyes with a 2x4" to wake them up, or else this guy is too dense to learn. While I don't know the facts of who was at fault in the accident, if this is a repeat offense then they should give him the maximum punishment under the law. I know that will not be enough, but you cannot show leniency toward repeat offenders and expect anything but another tragedy.

    He had his "get out of jail free" card, he spent it, did not learn, now it's time for him to pay the price. Not less than 10 years in prison is my vote; with medical alteration that will cause alcohol and drugs to make him puke profusely.

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  • wsbob December 26, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Alcohol and drugs should not have to be turned into an ultimate bad guy as a means of convincing people of the basic importance of having people that are drunk refrain from operation of vehicles on the road.

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  • Duncan December 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    resopmok and Robert. The two of you seem to forget we are talking about a death here. Yes we can talk about the causes, but can we also show some respect for the gravity of the situation and keep it civil. Please?

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  • Robert Stapleton December 26, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    You're right Duncan,sorry about that folks.It's a very touchy subject for me because of similar incidents in my past.When a loved one is taken from you in such a senseless way the sadness can lead to anger.Seeing the look on Angelas mothers face and hearing the hopelessness in her voice is very strong stuff.It's not a movie or some stupid TV show,it's real.

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  • Domes December 26, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Domes
    I think this comment is extremely relevant and accurate. Tri-Met drivers and management should read this.

    kenny December 22, 2010 at 11:37 am I think one issue for me and taking Trimet, has been the driver can be intimidating. The majority of the time they are either just kinda there (almost absent), or even really nice/helpful folks. Other times, I find them extremely rude (for no reason at all). I have had times putting my bike in the front rack where I would make a clear indication with my hands that I have a bike "look at me". Most really appreciate this(even compliment and say they wish more folks would show such awareness), a few have actually chastised me for no reason at all saying that I did not need to make a big thing of putting my bike up front. We should be able to feel really comfortable asking a driver to simply help us putting our bike on the front rack if we did not know. That should even be emphasized that "if you do not know, ask, and the driver will (happily) come out and assist." When they are jerks (again, not all the time, but enough) it really upsets me.

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  • Robert Stapleton December 27, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Drug and alcohol use and abuse effect you and those around you a lot more than you think.A drunk driver killing someone is the extreme end of the spectrum.It seems as though people are in constant denial about these 2 poisons,go to any length to defend them.Truth is everyone would be better off without them.I love cars too,but I think they should be viewed as a beautiful mistake from the past,an experiment gone wrong.Virtually any other form of transport would be smarter and safer for us.The Angela Burke tragedy is no accident,society as a whole has decided that this is an acceptable loss in exchange for our selfish freedoms.

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  • One Less :( December 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    "The test for prosecutors will be whether or not they can prove that Pruitt's crime should rise to a higher level that would come with mandatory jail time."
    ------------
    Well if they can't pass this test, then they shouldn't be prosecutors, then should they!

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  • Freeman December 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    over pass footbridges? dig us a tunnel here or there?;

    make bike infrastructure a decisive point WHILE creating the roadway systems, not an afterthought...oh gee, maybe a bike lane here would've been a good idea?

    Rest in Peace, Ms. Burke...you will be missed.

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  • Robert Stapleton December 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Right on Freeman !! I agree with that but I think bike and pedestrian traffic should be separated from car traffic as much as possible.I use bike lanes but only if there is no other way to get where I'm going. Bike lanes tend to give riders a false sense of security and many are dangerous to navigate at night. I keep thinking about things like the Springwater corridor ( and the connecting trails. The cars can't hurt us if they can't get near us !! Footbridges,tunnels,ANYTHING to keep away from the danger and make it home alive.

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