Monday, September 15, 2008
SUV Kills UAH Student On Her Bicycle
This story has been all the talk today. While I only met Sarah a handful of times, she was a very sweet, beautiful, vibrant girl, a real pleasure to hang out with. This incident is so tragic and our hearts go out to the Chapman family and Sarah's friends. I wish there was some way we could ease your suffering. Davis, hang in there man; I don't even have words to tell you how sorry I am. If you need anything, please let me know.
Via WAFF.com, Ch. 48
"Huntsville police officers say the bicyclist who was struck by a Jeep Cherokee Monday morning has died. The crash happened at around 10:30 a.m. on Technology Drive near Wynn Drive in Huntsville. 20-year-old Sarah Katherine Chapman died shortly after the traffic crash. Chapman was traveling westbound on a bicycle on Technology Drive at 10:30 a.m. today. As the SUV approached from behind her, she swerved into its path and the driver was unable to avoid the collision. Sgt. Mark Roberts of the Huntsville Police Department says no charges are expected to be filed against the driver of the vehicle. This is Huntsville's 16th traffic fatality for 200"
*picture of Sarah, third from left, along with Ruth Behling, George Preussel, and Sarah Fisher) at the Berlin Wall borrowed from UAH Blog
I don't claim to understand everything and there are a few things I am confused about. One, why don't they name the motorist who struck and killed Sarah? Two, if the law says motorist are to give a cyclist a minimum of three feet clearance to pass, then how did Sarah swing across more than half a lane to hit the car as the driver claims? In order to swing that far, she would have to be turning, not swerving unless going an incredibly slow speed. Third, how does HPD investigate this sort of thing? Also, the news states how many traffic fatalities we've had this year; wouldn't it be more interesting to know how many of these were cyclists killed by motorist and whether any of those led to criminal charges? Why was this motorist passing Sarah so closely to risk her life? Was getting to Subway two minutes sooner worth rolling the dice on something that wasn't yours? Why doesn't the law do more to punish motorist who endanger cyclist? Again, not a lawyer here, but couldn't this be considered criminal negligence? Maybe if the law was harder on these people, others would think twice before buzzing a cyclist.