Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Coming Down to Reality: Another Cyclist Run Over
All too predictably, while I was off in Tennessee on a family vacation, another cyclist was run over by an (apparently) inattentive driver, this time in Norfolk.
Michael Holmes was, according to the police, obeying traffic laws, riding on the right side of Tidewater Drive, when he was struck from behind and killed by an unnamed person overtaking him in a pickup truck, in broad daylight.
And thus far, no charges have been filed.
I've been struggling to find the mental energy to respond to the death of a cyclist that is even closer to home. I've written my City Council representative, Dr. Theresa Whibley, who is herself an avid cyclist.
I've asked Dr. Whibley to please convey to Norfolk's Commonwealth Attorney, Gregory Underwood, that all users of the road deserve justice.
Justice is selective. The Commonwealth Attorney does not choose to prosecute all offenses. While there may be a law and legal precedent, in the perceived absence of a public will to convict, an elected prosecutor will not seek a conviction.
According to Section 25-386 of the Norfolk City Code, "Applicability of traffic regulations to [bicycle] riders,"
Every person riding a bicycle or motorized skateboard or scooter upon a street or roadway within the corporate limits of the city shall be granted all the rights and shall be subject to all the duties and responsibilities applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle under the laws of the state and the traffic ordinances of the city, except as to those provisions which, by their very nature, can have no application.
Cyclists have a right to justice, posthumously or otherwise. The man who struck and killed Michael Holmes should be charged with a crime.
If they desire reelection, elected officials respond to their constituents. Please take the time to contact Mr. Underwood and ask him to protect the safety of all users of the road. Mr. Underwood can be emailed at cwainformation_at_norfolk.gov.
If you are a Norfolk resident, please take the time to contact both your Ward and Superward delegates to City Council. Contact information and email addresses can be found on the Norfolk City Hall webpage.
If we do not speak up, cyclists will be equal users of the road in name only.