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Silence?

A seven-year-old boy is recovering from a fractured skull after getting hit by a bicyclist who took off before police arrived.
Why is there no outcry from the activist community over this? Why hasn't there even been an article discussing it? Last month when bicyclists were injured/killed by vehicles and fleeing drivers the contributors to this site were up in arms. Now that a young child has been hit there is silence. Here are parts of the news story on this case.

"A seven-year-old boy is recovering from a fractured skull after getting hit by a bicyclist who took off before police arrived.

Dustin Keller's father says the boy should be alright, even though he may need to undergo another surgery for a crushed vertebrae."

Even though kids can be fragile these are some serious injuries. He must have been hit pretty hard.



""The group was headed across the street. Dustin went ahead to hit the crosswalk button, still on the sidewalk. That's when it happened," Keller explained.

A large man on a mountain bike collided with Dustin and the handlebar hit him in the head, according to witnesses. The boy was caught under the bike and dragged about 30 feet.

How does a bicyclist drag a little boy 30 feet and not realize that he is doing so. As laughable as it is to consider that a vehicle driver could do this, it is unbelievable that a bike rider wouldn't notice.


"He went clear out into the center lane, and there's a two-lane road there," Keller said. "He was out in the center lane when this guy finally flipped off him, so he went for quite a ride." "

"Witnesses said the hit-and-run suspect was a white male, about 30 years old, weighing 230 pounds, about 6'2" tall with dark, curly hair. He was riding a dark green mountain bike. "

Police are looking for a suspect. There is a reward offered. Know anyone that meets this description? I would think that knowing this jerk was taken off the streets would be reward enough.
wtf? 31.Jul.2003 09:15

huh?

I just love these "WHY DON'T YOU ALL SCREAM ABOUT THIS?!" posts. Now that's news.

What's Wrong? 31.Jul.2003 09:38

Concerned

Why is it wrong to feel bad for a small child hit by a bicycle? Why has this story been absent from here? I even waited several days to see if it would pop up. I don't necessarily want the community to start screaming about it, but I am curious why they haven't been. I would love to hear the opinions of cyclists on this story.

uh, could it have something to do with... 31.Jul.2003 09:45

sue donim

40000 Americans killed a year by cars
0000? Americans killed a year by bikes

To be honest, I don't know the last figure. I'm just guessing that it's probably in the single or at most double digits. The real shocker and ultimate hypocrisy is that anyone would have the temerity to challenge people who condemn reckless driving to expend equal energy on reckless biking, and that I would be expected to waste my time in rebuttals to such a fatuous argument. Of course, reckless disregard for the safety of others in any context, including this one, is deplorable. That would include pogo-sticking, ice-sledding, dog-sledding, stiltwalking, or any of a multitude of other potentially risky activities. But there would be equally little justification in getting up on a soapbox and accusing me of hypocrisy for not attacking some random reckless and harmful misconduct in THOSE contexts with the same vigor as motorism. Again, I'm floored at the need to even explain such an obvious thing to anyone. It really further erodes my faith in the intelligence and good will of humanity.

To Sue 31.Jul.2003 09:59

Concerned

I'm not defending reckless driving by the car community. I don't drive so I am not a big fan of drivers period. But I would think that they cycling community would be outraged that this had happened. I have ridden a bike for many years, and I am sure that I would have realized that I had hit a child, and I know I would realize I was dragging that child. This incident infuriates me because it makes the entire cycling community look bad, and for that same community to ignore the story just looks worse.

smell test 31.Jul.2003 10:16

Sue Donim

Something about your concern doesn't pass the smell test for me. First of all, why is it for the "cycling community" to take a special position in this case, bearing in mind that more bikes and fewer motor vehicles on the roads on balance immensely increases the safety of everyone? Why isn't it for everyone to take an interest and to deplore any reckless harm to a child? Would you call on the "pogo-stick community" to take a special interest any time a reckless or unfortunate incident befell an innocent bystander to pogo-sticking? Or is it simply that you're concerned that idiotic, selfish motorists will try to exploit this in their demented illogic to somehow exonerate themselves for their overwhelming contribution to carnage on the roads? If the latter is what concerns you, then I think the extremely concise rhetorical exercise I've just performed should be enough to exorcise your fears. If it's the former, I think you'll have to justify your logic some more. Why exactly should the "pogo-stick community" take a special interest -- more than the general public -- any time that (once in a blue moon) a pogo-sticker causes reckless harm to another?

It is horrible 31.Jul.2003 11:16

xyz

It's awful that a child was injured by an irresponsible cyclist.

But you are coming off as self-righteous and indignant by chastising cyclists for not being outraged. You made yourself impotent through your tone.

Horrible, it's not funny that a child was injured. It's devastating and traumatic for that little child, and their family. It's not the cycling community's responsiblity however, nor it's fault.

the difference is... 31.Jul.2003 12:29

rat

Just one incident involving a bike hitting a person is nothing compared to all the incidents involving wreckless drivers. A car is atleast 3 tons and capable of much higher speeds than a bike. That make it a formidable weapon in the wrong hands. Also, a car does harm just by being driven with all the pollution it generates. A bike does not. It;s tragic that a child was harmed, but that doesn't change the facts behind why driving is destructive. It seems to me that you are bent on trying to make us look like shameless idiots here on the newswire, but it will not work. Now just crawl back into your SUV and leave us alone.

SUV child killings 31.Jul.2003 12:47

Whoa

Talking about SUVs, I heard that there is one child KILLED every week in the US by SUVs and mini-vans backing up out of driveways usually by the parent! There are probably many more a week that survive. Mini-vans and especially SUVs are so high that they have a much bigger blind spot especially for backing up. With the SUV fad it's become a national epidemic. I even heard of a guy coming home in his Yukon who couldnt even see his son on the right side of him when he was turning in the driveway and ran over him killing him instantly. The neighbor ran over and bent down to get the child and the oblivious idiot father told him to quit fooling with his tire!.

Excuse me "rat" 31.Jul.2003 12:54

Mr.Mouse

Your statement that "a car is at least 3 tons" is incorrect, boardering on the misleading.
Please don't exagerate......the largest SUV's on the road are barely 3 tons. The average car is half that weight at best.
Many of the smallest cars are a single ton in weight or less.

Exagerations like this make us all look stupid, especially the author.

What? 31.Jul.2003 12:58

Mr.Mouse

Whoa states; I heard that there is one child KILLED every week in the US by SUVs and mini-vans backing up out of driveways usually by the parent!


Please post your source for this info. I'd love to read it.

apocrypha? 31.Jul.2003 12:59

skate

"you heard" about these horrible things? I don't doubt they happened (somewhere, somehow), but "I heard about" is hardly an irrefutable reference.

We should all feel for this.. 31.Jul.2003 13:03

Alex alex@dnlnk.com

I ride pretty much every day to work, take tri-met on rainy days and drive a fairly responsible car. I've even ridden in a couple
of critical mass, although I'm not sure I agree with the concept. So don't accuse me of being some kind of an anti-bike SUV driving
idiot.

If your immediate reaction to this accident is "Well it's nothing compared to people killed by cars, SUVs, etc..", congratulations,
you're right, but a totally heartless asshole. If you think you're proactively stave off criticism of bicyclists in general by making this
statement, I think you're really misguided.

Our community (if it exists) ought to be reaching out to this kid and his family. Is anyone taking up a collection or anything??

One of the things that bothers me about the so-called progressives in this town is that at a personal, human level, they can be so
damn heartless. Sure, we can feel all superior about buying grain fed chicken eggs, fair traded trinkets, and not driving SUVs, but
when something happens right in town that we should care about, there's reactions like some of those posted. And don't tell me that it's
all trolls.. it's not, a lot of us really have this stupid superiority complex.. "I'm doing less damage to Mother Earth than those idiot
(chose one) republicans, rural oregonians, SUV drivers, etc. etc, therfore I'm worth more as a human being and better not get involved in
anyone else's problems that might be inconvienient or distract me from my great work."

A little kid nearly got killed here.. That's awful. It's disgusting the guy took off, and he ought to come forward, or if anyone's
protecting him, they ought to figure out a way make him turn himself in...

Selfishly, I'm also worried about losing the sidewalks. Perhaps I'm a wimp, but sometimes I will chose to
ride (fairly slowly) on the side. All they'd have to do would be to start enforcing existing laws and my options on certain
parts of the trip home (up Hawthorne) would be more dangerous.

Alex

I think we all do feel for this 31.Jul.2003 13:17

another perspective

The responses here are responding to the obvious transparent agenda of the poster. The discussion can be framed like this:

"Why aren't you outraged about this death?" (Obvious straw-man)
"Why aren't more people outraged about the loss of life occurring every day due to cars?" (Legitimate point, but feeding the straw-man)

I think everyone in all communities would call for accountability. No one is suggesting otherwise. I do think Alex has a good point about the cycling community needing to reach out to the family. But I think the responses are not due to heartlessness as much as defense from an obvious attempt to insult people.

Personally, if I were the child's parents I would be thankful that my child wasn't killed. The parents of 3 children (age 7 and younger) every day in this country will not be so lucky due to highway fatalities. Let's ask for accountability, hold a vigil, take up a collection, and do whatever we feel as individuals should be done. But let's not cast false accusations about various cycling and progressive communities.

To Concerned 31.Jul.2003 13:22

cyclist

Concerned-

I know you're going to post this back to the KGW forum, so I at least want to add a little bit of sanity to the browbeating you've received here. I'm also a concerned citizen and a cyclist, and I'm upset that a rider would callously injure a child and then avoid blame by leaving the scene. What goes around comes around, so he'll get his in the end. But you're making a mistake by posting your message here looking for a response from the "cycling community".

Indymedia does not expressly represent either the Critical Mass community or the broader, more mainstream cycling community of Portland. There are all kinds of people that ride bicycles who are not "activist" types. Believe it or not, Republicans, Democrats, Greens, old people, kids, teenagers, winos, panhandlers, lawyers, programmers, parents, teachers etc. all like to ride bikes. It can be said that Portland cyclists of all stripes are a fairly representative group of the city at large. It appears that you are attempting to stir up rancor here with a spurious argument that the cycling community is "bad" because Indymedia readers and posters are not as vocally outraged about a badly injured innocent little boy as it is about several dead and badly injured innocent adult cyclists. Well, the community is outraged, and many members of that community are also cyclists. Why must a subset of the community make special amends in order to avoid having judgement passed on it in this case?

Basically, you are mistakenly drawing a conclusion about the behavior and mindset of a group based on a few persons' behavior, and demanding that those few persons act as representatives of a "community" that is not, in fact, separate from the city at large. Are all cyclists bad because we didn't all jump up at once and say "bad cyclist! bad! don't hit little kids!" No, we aren't. The guy who hit the kid is bad. Direct your anger where it is justified and stop painting all cyclists with the same brush, please.

Cheers!

To Cyclist 31.Jul.2003 13:33

Concerned

I did not intend to try to force an agenda or anything else. To the person above who told me to get back in my SUV, you may want to read what I said above. I DON"T DRIVE.

Again, I wasn't trying to start an argument, but had been surprised that absolutely nothing had been said about this incident on the newswire. That CM and the cycling community was in no way reaching out to the boy and his family. The responses I got here confirmed my initial expectations. Just as Alex said, it was all about the big bag autos. Fine, cars are bad, but this was bad too and to have comments that celebrate the injury are sickening.

I will not post this to KGW, I stand behind my chicksh*t comment, and I will be very careful about trusting the only person that knew I had posted this.

SUVs article 31.Jul.2003 13:48

Whoa

Here's a reference article> However, SUVs may pose a very real and deadly hazard to children, as do minivans and large pickup trucks. And that is because they have poor rear visibility and a large blind spot, the space behind your car or SUV that you can't normally see in your rear-view mirror, which can make it easier to back over a child.
According to Kids 'N Cars, which is compiling statistics on these types of incidents, 'in 2002, at least 58 CHILDREN DIED AS A RESULT OF BEING BACKED OVER by a motor vehicle. (more than one per week) Sadly, in over 60% of these incidents, there was a parent or close relative behind the wheel.'
That doesn't mean that you can't drive an SUV, but you should be more careful when backing up, especially if there might be kids around.
Also, keep in mind that even regular cars have blind spots, so always be careful when backing up, even if you aren't in an SUV. The current statistics on injuries and deaths from backing over a child don't seem to break them down by type of vehicle. You would think that more injuries occur as a vehicle just begins to back up and not after it has already gone 20 or 30 feet, so backing up your smaller car might pose just as big a risk.
Still, in addition to having a longer and wider blind spot, a large SUV is also going to have a taller blind spot (maybe 4 feet or so) than a smaller car (often only 2-3 feet), so more kids would be at risk of not being seen and being run over in an SUV.
And one study, from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, did show that the majority of drive-way related collisions 'resulted from a truck or sport-utility vehicle going in reverse'.

 http://www.keepkidshealthy.com/welcome/safety/suv_dangers.html

Another note to Sue 31.Jul.2003 15:16

Postman

The biggest example of hypocrisy is not that the cycling community hasn't spoken up about this tragedy. It's that the holier-than-thou Critical Massers are silent about it. And to the writers who counter that more people have been killed in auto accidents - huh?? That statistic gives you justification to be silent? No. Motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, everybody should be hoping that this hit-and-run punk gets found and arrested ASAP.

To Concerned 31.Jul.2003 15:16

cyclist

Concerned-

No bad blood was intended by my previous post. I was just trying to point out that by phrasing your original newswire post in an accusatory tone ("Why is there no outcry from the activist community over this? Why hasn't there even been an article discussing it?"), you got the combative responses that you were expecting in the first place ("The responses I got here confirmed my initial expectations.") Newsflash--Indymedia is for anyone who wants to post about events in Portland that are of interest to the community. If you are a cyclist ("I have ridden a bike for many years, ") and you want a cyclist to express regret about the incident, why not post something about how you feel about the incident itself, not of the perceived lack of response from the "activist community"? YOU ARE the cycling community, or at least a part of it, so why not step up if this issue weighs so heavily on you? There are too many divisions in our town and on this site already, let's not make this another one.

Cheers!

who is silent? 31.Jul.2003 15:23

funny

I haven't seen or heard a single motorist express outrage over this incident? Where is their humanity, don't they know that a life has been taken? Why haven't they posted here expressing their outrage? It's been days and I haven't one motorist so much as acknoledge that this event even happened. Why doesn't the motorist community do something? Their silence only serves to show how much they only care about their themselves and other motorists, and serves to make the entire motorist community look bad.

I agree with cyclist 31.Jul.2003 15:31

another perspective

This was a classic example of a self-fulfilling prophesy. Of course, we'll never no for sure but I suspect that if this story had been titled something like "bicyclist injures young boy" and not had the accusatory remarks, the responses would have been quite different. I think it would have been nice to assume that either people hadn't heard of this (I hadn't), or that the people that had weren't people comfortable with posting here. If it had been me I would have posted right away rather than waiting to see if someone else would do it and discussed it then rather than now.

blah 31.Jul.2003 16:35

blah

maybe when a little child is hit by a bike tomorrow and injured, and then it happens again the next day, and then next week, and then four times the week after that, and then three times the week after that, and then three times in one day... and then.. you get the point.

No offense or anything 31.Jul.2003 17:11

Kind of funny

Umm... no offense or anything but has anyone actually got off there high horse and talked to the parents. I would wonder if they would appreciate the things that we would do or not do. For some reason dialogue, usually, doesnt occur with car accident victims ( i wonder why) but you might want to talk with the little boy and him parents and see whats reasonable. Instead of what you think is right for them.

Freak 31.Jul.2003 17:11

Freak

Freak accident. Does anybody know the stats on bicyles injuring pedestrians per year in the US?

METEORITE strikes young boy! 31.Jul.2003 17:12

Community Outraged!

film at 11

interesting 31.Jul.2003 17:57

researcher

"Does anybody know the stats on bicyles injuring pedestrians per year in the US?"
It's difficult research to find because most statistics deal with injuries and fatalities from cars to bicyclists and pedestrians (which makes sense since it is a much more significant problem). Although I did learn that about 12% of the 42,000 people killed every year by cars are pedestrians (or about 5,000 a year, or more than 13 a day).

Anyone know where to look since the phrase "bicycles injuring pedestrians" has 0 hits in google? Or perhaps it's so insignificant as to not warrant research.

Difficult to say 31.Jul.2003 18:18

James

It's difficult to say since, evidently, most bicycle-pedestrian accidents are not supposed to be reported.

'According to Sgt. Brian Franklin of the NYPD Traffic Division, bicycle accidents tend to fall between the cracks of the official accident record. "Bicycle-pedestrian accidents aren't even supposed to be reported under the federal government's Fatal Accident Reporting System,' he says."

 http://www.transalt.org/blueprint/chapter17/chapter17c.html

But here are some statistics for New York City:

"The most striking change over the past decade has been the decrease in collisions between bicyclists and pedestrians."

"The number of reported collisions climbed from around 400 in the early 1980s, steadily up to a high of 707 in 1985, and then dropped even more steadily to just 298 in 1992 the lowest number ever recorded. (Annual fatalities, ranging from 0 to 3, seem to follow no particular pattern.)"

 http://www.transalt.org/blueprint/chapter17/table17.html -- A table showing collision and fatality statistics in New York City.

My Google search terms were "bicycle-pedestrian accidents" if you want to research further.

reply to original poster 31.Jul.2003 18:23

deva

One reason you do not see this story on the indymedia site is the same reason you do not see coverage of general crime like murder or burglery etc. Indymedia is an activist tool to cover issues of injustice, corrupt politics, environmental issues, social and economic inequality and other examples of skewed power dynamics. This is an example of one idiot, not a systemic problem. It is tragic for the child and family of course, but it is not an example of a regular occurance that is hard to address because entrenched powers prevent intelligent citizen action.

The defensiveness some respondents display is unnecessary.

Sideriding? 31.Jul.2003 19:01

rooter

What I find remarkable is that the cyclist felt it necessary to be riding on the sidewalk as opposed to cruising on the street. I think it most unfortunate that bicycle riders have to choose between the threat of being hit by autos in the street or the possibility of colliding with a pedestrian on the sidewalk. What a bummer for the little boy and the family. What a bummer for the cyclist who f**ked up and rode away from the scene. This incident is most unfortunate, however, this should not be used to paint all cyclists as potential murderers or lethal weapons as are persons behind the wheel of an automobile.

lesson: same roads same rules same rights 31.Jul.2003 21:45

sue

Well, if it's true the reckless cyclist was riding down the sidewalk, then one clear lesson can be drawn: cyclists belong on the roads, not the sidewalks, unless they are moving at the rate of a pedestrian, 2-3 mph. Cyclists need to use the same roads as cars, and tragedies like this help underline that fact, and dispell the misbegotten notion held by some motorists that bikes are some kind of toy that belongs on the sidewalk. At 15-20 mph, a bike travels closer to the speed of a car on city streets than it does to that of a pedestrian. Motorists have to shoulder some of the responsibility for cowing cyclists into illegally and improperly using sidewalks, and cyclists need proper education on their rights and responsibilities on the roads so as to avoid creating dangerous and illegal situations that lead to tragedies like this.

bikes and cars 31.Jul.2003 23:03

anonymous

I don't drive or ride a bike. I have to be very careful while walking of both cars and bikes that don't follow the rules of the road, and practice habits that are dangerous to the lives of pedestrians. The number one rule for drivers of both bikes and cars is that pedestrians have the right of way, and they should look out for them and yield to them. That very often doesn't happen because the pedestrian knows that even if he has the legal right of way, if he pushes it, he could be dead. Drivers of cars and bikes seem to know this too, and that's why some of them don't bother to yield. They know we will get out of the way to save our skins... if we're able.

I don't understand why Concerned chose to seperate himself from the community here however. If he had posted the item himself, rather than accusing others of not caring about this issue, the thread would be of a different nature. I think it would mostly be made up of comments from drivers, bicyclists, and walkers who are also concerned about this issue.

It is really disappointing to see that bicyclists, who deal with this issue of cars bullying them, turn around and do the same thing to pedestrians. I'm talking about the ones who do, not all of you. It would just be nice if everyone had a little more concern for the well being of others.

I hope the guy turns himself in.

so I was right 31.Jul.2003 23:59

researcher

The numbers of pedestrians being killed by bicyclists really is insignificant. I suppose we can assume other large cities might be similar to new york, at an average of 1 fatality per year, but I suspect in all other areas that number would be lower for a number of reasons. So, do we put our energy into dealing with the cause of 1 fatality or the cause of 350. Seems pretty simple to me.

the PC PR approach 01.Aug.2003 03:30

Dance

It would seem that the PC way to handle the PR on the accident would be to hold a vigil or something. Of course, the primary benefiicary of that would seem to be not the victim, nor even so much potential future victims, but more the bicycling community and the advocacy issues of bicycling (eg., building good-will in contradiction to many motoroists' - and apparently the article's author - likely perception of Critical Mass as arrogant and selfish).
If such activity were to take place, checking with the boy's family first would be appropriate so as not to thoughtlessly inflict insult or injury on them while promoting the "wonderful concern and compassion of 'the bicycling community'".
But, as has been suggested by several other comments, the subject of this post as chosen by its author, Concerned, ISN'T the accident or lack of response to a call for a public event (as no one has called for one). Rather, the subject of the post is the use of indymedia. And to that end I can only note that the poster obviously mastered the task of posting an article. The defect, therefore, was in their inability to optimize the content of their writing. It's fine to post articles about indymedia, but they and their responses will be more effective if stated directly (such as "You should announce a protest" or "I didn't post an item immediately upon hearing of this tragedy because I felt too ineffectual, and instead looked hopefully to see if someone else would post.")
Speaking personally, I never heard of the incident til I read this post. It was an interesting item.

What? 01.Aug.2003 07:42

skate

"This incident is most unfortunate, however, this should not be used to paint all cyclists as potential murderers or lethal weapons as are persons behind the wheel of an automobile."

Bit of a double standard here, don't you think? The actions of a single cyclist should not reflect upon the cycling community as a whole, but all drivers can and should be lumped together as dangerous sociopaths. Real clear thinking there Rooter.

hmmmmm... 01.Aug.2003 15:06

pedaler

call me suspicious.....
It doesn't seem reasonable to assume it was an accident. Dragged 30 feet? Do cops ever do things that would
blemish the reputation of a group of people for interests that would coincide with corporate agendas?

To the original poster ... 01.Aug.2003 16:29

... who asked why there is no outcry ...

... haven't read every post here (mostly bickering), but just because you don't see the "outcry" you're looking for on Portland Indymedia does not mean it is not present in the activist community. I read the news of this incident on at least one, maybe more of the email lists I subscribe to. Bicyclists were urging others to look out for the person on a bike who ran into the child, and shared a description. Some called him "asshole" and expressed outrage. SO, you can see your post is totally without merit.

You must be really, REALLY bored.

Hi there 02.Aug.2003 14:46

Eliza

Please give your source for this information.