Thursday, June 16, 2016

the news from last week that you probably didn't hear about, a drunk driver on June 7th, results in five funerals in Kalamazoo this week.

They are covered in flowers, ornaments, and handwritten notes. Throughout the day, people stop to look at them, to pay respects, and to confirm what happened on this road on Tuesday, June 7 was real.

Five bicycles, painted white.

9 cyclists on an early-evening group ride were struck by the driver of a Chevy Silverado 2500, right near the line where Kalamazoo ends and Cooper Township begins. Nine riders. All nine hit.

Four of the cyclists were injured and hospitalized.

Five were reported dead at the scene.

The southern Michigan bicycle group was planning to make a 28 mile trek from Kalamazoo to Plainwell (note: I lived there from 1975 to 1979) and back, when they were run down by a drunk man in a pickup truck.

3 separate calls had been made to police prior to 630 pm, reporting erratic driving by a pick-up truck of similar description through yards near homes. Many police were dispatched to find the drunk driver before he caused a tragedy, none succeeded.

Those killed and injured were members of the Chain Gang bike club, cyclists who liked to ride on Tuesday afternoons, enjoy the camaraderie of fellow riders, then have refreshments at the end of the ride.

The crash appears to be the worst known in terms of cyclists killed in a traffic collision. 

The drunk driver had a previous DUI charge in Tennesee, and here is a photo of him from his facebook page. With a beer, and the truck

Ordinarily I wouldn't post a photo of the drunk... but I changed my mind when I saw this photo he posted Dec 2015

I will also take this moment to showcase the hatred out there for bicyclists, to call attention to the jackasses that feel entitled to the whole road, even when they are sober... here is what Marty Fine had to say on facebook:

Marty Fine As sad and tragic as this turn the penalties for bicyclists not obeying the law should be enforced. Also if bicyclists want to use roads intended for motor vehicles, the should also have a license, registration and proof of insurance, and obey the rules of the road. I pay a lot of money to drive on these roads. Prayers to the victims in this situation.

My reply:
Good idea, take this tragedy, and show how much you hate people on bicycles who ride on roads. No doubt you'll be in the headlines as the next asshole that runs over bikers in a drunk rampage because you've got issues with how much road you feel entitled to. YOU pay a lot of money to drive on roads? Is there a toll for assholes?

And Jeff Witwer left a comment, that you can better understand when you see this photo from his facebook page.


  1. Jessie, you are an assclown

    1. and why are you wasting your time reading along then? Addicted to ass clowns? That you take the time to talk shit to me about this post, says you're far more of a jackass than I am.

  2. I'm a cyclist who rides a couple thousand miles a year. I also drive around 30,000 miles a year. And have a job. So I also pay a shitload of taxes, some of which help pay for the roads I ride and drive on. In other words, I have a right to be there.

    The traffic laws of my state say that a bicycle has the same rights as a car. In other words I have the right to be there.

    Damn the ignorant bastards that put my life at risk because they're so f**king ENTITLED to have the entire road to themselves.

    Steve Z

    1. yes. Seems to me it's all about attitude and zero intelligence. In other words, drunks, like Jeff and Marty up there in the post. Stupid people who feel entitled to things that don't belong to them, and I bet you'll agree with me that those people make most of the problems in the world

  3. In an ideal world:
    1. Bicyclist would choose to ride along roads that are wide enough to safely accommodate traffic & cyclists.
    2. Vehicles would still slow down a little or nudge over out of courtesy.
    3. Existing Rural & Urban roadways would be widened enough to accommodate both sides of the issue, thus making it no longer an issue

  4. As a child in the 70"s growing up in California, we road bicycles everywhere. So I agree with you that they have just as much of a "right" to the road as anyone else.

    However, knew that was coming didn't you, back then we were taught the "rules of the road". Things like riding with traffic not against, proper hand signals to indicate turns and even a signal for stopping. We were taught to come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs. How to make a left turn at an intersection. Parents don't teach these things anymore. Most people I talk with have no idea bikes are a vehicle and are supposed to follow the same rules as cars when on public roads. I routinely see kids (and adults) zigzagging all over the road, riding against traffic, not stopping at stop signs let alone even thinking about signaling their intentions (they have no idea what the signal for left or right turns are, let alone stopping).

    This doesn't excuse bad behavior on the part of automobile drivers (although I think drunkenness, as in this case, is way worse than rudeness), bicycle riders need to take responsibility for riding correctly (speaking in general, not about this specific case where the riders did nothing wrong). Defensive riding is always a good idea.

    In a clash between a stupid car driver and a stupid bike rider, the bicyclist is going to come out much worse.

    1. that's the way I was taught too, we rode everywhere as kids.