Cyclist kills pedestrian (or what is an unmarked crosswalk?)
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  1. #1
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    Cyclist kills pedestrian (or what is an unmarked crosswalk?)

    Story here

    Sep 11, 1:24 PM EDT

    Cyclist charged with manslaughter after hitting, killing pedestrian

    CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- A bicyclist has been charged with manslaughter after he struck and killed a pedestrian, police said.

    Jean Calder, 71, died at Good Samaritan Hospital after she was struck Friday night as she crossed a street at an unmarked crosswalk, Corvallis police Capt. Ron Noble said.

    Calder had the right of way when the bike rider struck her, Noble said.

    Christopher A. Lightning, 51, was charged with manslaughter and reckless driving.

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    Wouldn't "unmarked crosswalk" just be "the road"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmCosmo
    Wouldn't "unmarked crosswalk" just be "the road"?

    Funny how they are quick to charge a cyclist with manslaughter, while it perfectly acceptable for motorized vehicles to mow down cyclists with impunity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vonteity
    In some states, the pedestrian has the right of way regardless of whether they are in a crosswalk or not.

    How fast was the cyclist going to not only hit, but kill, a pedestrian? Could he not move out of the way?
    Can't yell "Fire" and claim freedom of speach! I'm with Kerry. We're missing a large part of this puzzle. Unmarked may mean that the woman was crossing at a corner but there was no paint on the road. The article also states that she had the right-of-way. Did the cyclist violate a traffic law? I suspect he did and that is why he is being charged. Who knows?!?
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    Unmarked crosswalk

    With all due sympathy for the woman who was killed, there must be a lot more to this story. As written, how can someone have the right of way in an "unmarked crosswalk." Isn't that by definition impossible? I'm guessing that we are just seeing incompetence in either the newspaper doing the reporting or the police reporting the incident.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons
    With all due sympathy for the woman who was killed, there must be a lot more to this story. As written, how can someone have the right of way in an "unmarked crosswalk." Isn't that by definition impossible? I'm guessing that we are just seeing incompetence in either the newspaper doing the reporting or the police reporting the incident.
    In some states, the pedestrian has the right of way regardless of whether they are in a crosswalk or not.

    How fast was the cyclist going to not only hit, but kill, a pedestrian? Could he not move out of the way?
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    Speed kills

    Quote Originally Posted by vonteity
    In some states, the pedestrian has the right of way regardless of whether they are in a crosswalk or not.
    Good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by vonteity
    How fast was the cyclist going to not only hit, but kill, a pedestrian? Could he not move out of the way?
    Well, given that cyclist have died from hitting their head on a curb when falling over at virtually zero speed, it's easy to imagine how a 71 year old woman could have been killed at relatively low speed.

    Filtersweep makes one heck of a point. Motorists run over cyclists (and pedestrians) and the legal system concludes that sheit happens. Cyclist runs over pedestrian and its manslaughter.

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    Here is a more detailed story:

    Cyclist charged with manslaughter after hitting, killing Corvallis pedestrian

    By REBECCA BARRETT
    Gazette-Times reporter

    A 71-year-old Corvallis woman has died and a 51-year-old man is in jail after a fatal collision between a bicyclist and pedestrian Friday night in front of Chintimini Senior Center.

    Corvallis Police say Jean Calder, 71, had the right of way and was crossing Northwest Tyler Avenue when she was struck by a bicycle ridden by Christopher A. Lightning, who was riding east on Tyler just before 9 p.m.

    Calder died Friday at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center.

    Lightning has been charged with manslaughter and reckless driving and is in the Benton County jail, according to Corvallis Police Capt. Ron Noble.

    People at the senior center for the weekly Friday Night Dance Club at the time of the crash said that there were many cars parked along the sides of the street that night. And though it was dark, witnesses said the intersection was well-lit by street lights at the time of the crash.

    There are stop signs on Tyler where the residential street intersects with 27th Street.

    Lightening, who lives at 528 N.W. 28th St., was less than a block from his house, and was traveling in the opposite direction when he collided with Calder.

    Calder was a volunteer instructor with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) of Benton County's Family-to-Family education program. She lived on Northwest 30th Street, a few blocks south from where the crash occurred.

    George Calder, Jean Calder's husband, said his wife was walking with a friend at the time of the crash. The friend had just departed in a different direction and Calder was heading home when she was hit by the bicycle.

    Jean Calder was doing the 10,000 steps-a-day exercise program and enjoyed going on walks.

    "She was a very healthy person," George Calder said.

    Jean Calder lived in Corvallis from 1970 to 1980 and then moved to Portland. She married George Calder in 1985, and the couple moved to Corvallis when they retired in 1995.

    Jean Calder was involved with NAMI and its clients and families. George Calder said it was very difficult breaking the news of his wife's death to her friends and those who knew her through volunteer activities.

    "The sad part is telling the people my wife volunteered with and tried to help," he said Sunday.

    The family is suggesting people make memorial donations to NAMI, or the charity of their choice, in care of McHenry Funeral Home. Service arrangements are pending.
    A lot is still unclear about the story. When they said he was travelling in the opposite dirwction, does that mean the wrong way? I do not know about manslaughter charges, but if they do the same for car drivers then I guess it is OK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons
    Filtersweep makes one heck of a point. Motorists run over cyclists (and pedestrians) and the legal system concludes that sheit happens. Cyclist runs over pedestrian and its manslaughter.
    Was he running a red light as he hit this woman? We need more info.

    I agree, the charge seems severe considering the limited info we have. That's why I suspect there is more to the story.
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    Definition of crosswalk

    Per Ca Veh Code (probably pertains to other states)

    275VC
    "Crosswalk" is either, (a) That portion of a roadway included within the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of sidewalks at intersections where the intersecting roadways meet at approximate right angles, except the prolongation of such lines from an alley across a street. (b) Any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, there shall not be a crosswalk where the local authorities have placed signs indicating no crossing.
    .................................................. .................................................. ............................

    If the bicylist was walking the bike across the crosswalk she becomes a pedestrian. He she was riding the bike she is a vehicle.

  11. #11
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    I agree that there must be more to the story, and that the media didn't bother to get much detailed information. However, with all due sympathy and respect to the deceased, I can't believe you all missed the following obvious headline:
    "Pedestrian hit, killed by Lightning"

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    The story seems to imply that he ran a stop sign. Whether that is the case, who knows?

    Nevertheless, I agree with the point made above. It appears the bicyclist was imprisoned right away. Unless a car driver is intoxicated, it would be unheard of to arrest him/her (at the scene) for hitting a cyclist. Is there any sort of cyclist backlash in Corvalis?
    Last edited by dawg; 09-12-2005 at 08:25 AM.

  13. #13
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    There are stop signs on Tyler where the residential street intersects with 27th Street.
    If I had to guess, I'd say he ran the stop sign and hit her. The story states he was riding on Tyler (which has the stop signs) and struck her at 27th st. If he had stopped this probably wouldn't have happened.

    I know I've been guilty of running (or coasting through) stop signs on a ride, especially on my morning commute at 5am. Kind of puts it in perspective for me...
    Last edited by Chris H; 09-12-2005 at 08:17 AM. Reason: Syntax error

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    Quote Originally Posted by vonteity
    In some states, the pedestrian has the right of way regardless of whether they are in a crosswalk or not.
    That's not exactly true, which is why those same states also have laws that cover jaywalking. Pedestrians, even with right of way laws, cannot blindly step out into traffic.

    In California the law is:

    21950. (a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

    (b) This section does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

    (c) The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.

    (d) Subdivision (b) does not relieve a driver of a vehicle from the duty of exercising due care for the safety of any pedestrian within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

    21954. (a) Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.

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    As I understand it, here in OR if a pedestrian even APPEARS to be attempting to cross the street, you have to conceed right of way. I'm not 100% certain what the law says, but that's what I was told when we were looking for houses.

    There seem to be quite a few cyclist deaths reported in OR lately. I think there were three just last week. Did anyone read the recent article in Willamette Weekly about the editor who was hit, broke her back and police didn't do much to follow up?
    Last edited by smudge; 09-12-2005 at 08:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmCosmo
    Wouldn't "unmarked crosswalk" just be "the road"?
    All intresections are defined as having crosswalks across them, whether there are white lanes painted or not. So if the pedestrian was legally crossing at an intersection, but the lines are not painted that would be an unmarked crosswalk

    Odds are that means the cyclist ran a stop sign or a red light.

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    In response to Von's question about how fast the cyclist may have been going to cause a death, I have struck a pedestrian while I was riding once before. I won't go into the details but I put myself into a position where there was no room to maneuver and I ran straight into an 11 year old kid. I was rolling at about 12-15 mph at the time. I walked away with a little road rash; the kid spent a couple of days in the hospital after having his ruptured spleen removed.
    There is not a lot of frontal area on a bicycle so the force of any impact is concentrated on a small space on the human body.
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    Still another version...

    Ore. bicyclist charged with manslaughter

    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    CORVALLIS, Ore. -- A bicyclist was charged with manslaughter after he ran through a stop sign and struck and killed a 71-year-old woman, police said Monday.

    Jean Calder died at Good Samaritan Hospital after she was struck Friday night as she crossed a street at an unmarked crosswalk, Corvallis police Capt. Ron Noble said.

    Christopher A. Lightning, 51, was charged with manslaughter and reckless driving.

    "A car and a bicycle are both vehicles and if they are operated in a way that could be criminal, then charges are filed equally in both situations," Noble said. "He was going right through a stop sign."

    Lightning was being housed in Benton County jail with bail set at $57,500. He will be given a court-appointed lawyer at his arraignment in Benton Cou

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    What happened then ?

    m
    Hey Ignatz .... not sure if you remember me ... I rode the Napa Century with Fogdweller and company. Kind of hard to miss me as I always wear Hi-Viz, but I was back in street clothes by the time we picked up our gear from you (thank you again !).

    I had a similar situation happen two weeks ago today. Just about mowed down a kid who appeared out of nowhere and was looking the opposite direction of on-coming traffic as she walked into the street.... I've not been out on the road since. I was going about twice your speed and could easily have killed this little girl. I'm no stranger to personal danger, but this one has really rattled my cage. Came so close to taking her out that I can literally feel the impact when I think about it.

    I imagine that the event affected you deeply. Did the kid come out OK ? How long before you got back on the road ? Any legal action against you for the accident ?

    -Robert
    Quote Originally Posted by Ignatz
    In response to Von's question about how fast the cyclist may have been going to cause a death, I have struck a pedestrian while I was riding once before. I won't go into the details but I put myself into a position where there was no room to maneuver and I ran straight into an 11 year old kid. I was rolling at about 12-15 mph at the time. I walked away with a little road rash; the kid spent a couple of days in the hospital after having his ruptured spleen removed.
    There is not a lot of frontal area on a bicycle so the force of any impact is concentrated on a small space on the human body.

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    What happened then ?

    m
    Hey Ignatz .... not sure if you remember me ... I rode the Napa Century with Fogdweller and company. Kind of hard to miss me as I always wear Hi-Viz, but I was back in street clothes by the time we picked up our gear from you (thank you again !).

    I had a similar situation happen two weeks ago today. Just about mowed down a kid who appeared out of nowhere and was looking the opposite direction of on-coming traffic as she walked into the street.... I've not been out on the road since. I was going about twice your speed and could easily have killed this little girl. I'm no stranger to personal danger, but this one has really rattled my cage. Came so close to taking her out that I can literally feel the impact when I think about it.

    I imagine that the event affected you deeply. Did the kid come out OK ? How long before you got back on the road ? Any legal action against you for the accident ?

    -Robert
    Quote Originally Posted by Ignatz
    In response to Von's question about how fast the cyclist may have been going to cause a death, I have struck a pedestrian while I was riding once before. I won't go into the details but I put myself into a position where there was no room to maneuver and I ran straight into an 11 year old kid. I was rolling at about 12-15 mph at the time. I walked away with a little road rash; the kid spent a couple of days in the hospital after having his ruptured spleen removed.
    There is not a lot of frontal area on a bicycle so the force of any impact is concentrated on a small space on the human body.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dawg
    Is there any sort of cyclist backlash in Corvalis?
    I haven't seen or heard of any backlash against cyclist here in Corvallis prior to or after this incident, and certainly I don't see the local police as out to get cyclists. Corvallis is a very bike friendly community all in all, but we'll see how it plays out in the local letters to the editor. I'm sure they'll be some backlash in the letters to the editor.

    He is being charged with Criminally Negligent Homicide by the way. Not sure if that carries more or less of a penalty than manslaughter, or whether it's the same thing.

    There is another case pending here in town where a lady ran down an 18 year old girl who was biking home from work. The lady drove off and left her to die in the ditch, and then fled the state and had to be extradited back. I'm very interested to see who gets the stiffer sentence. The hit and run driver who kills an 18 year old girl, or the biker that runs down the little old lady. It's the same District Attourney prosecuting both cases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mohair_chair
    That's not exactly true, which is why those same states also have laws that cover jaywalking. Pedestrians, even with right of way laws, cannot blindly step out into traffic.

    In California the law is:

    (b) This section does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
    I would like to find out what the Oregon law is.

    I've lived in Corvallis for over 7 years, and the one thing I noticed right off the bat about Corvallis, and Oregon in general, is that a lot of pedestrians here don't even look before stepping out into the street or they just step out anyways. Doesn't matter whether it's a busy 4 lane street, or whether it's at a marked crosswalk or in the middle of a block, they'll just step on out and assume you'll stop for them. Often times it's worse when you're on the bike, since pedestrians give you even less respect than they do a car.

    Sounds like the guy in this case was a block from home and probably blew the stop sign like he probably usually does. Corvallis is a college town, and this intersection is only a few blocks from campus. This intersection is also a few blocks from a route I commuted on for 5 years, and in my experience, bikers riding after dark with little or no lights, blowing stop signs is more the rule than the exception.

    So if you take a local culture where the majority of around town bicyclists don't stop for stop signs (many don't even slow down) and a majority of pedestrians who either don't look before stepping into the street or assume everyone else will yeild the right of way, you've got a recipe for disaster.

    My guess is that the guy was riding with no lights, did a quick glance at cross traffic (easy enough to see the headlights of cross traffic) and went on through the intersection and smacked the lady becuase he didn't see her until it was too late.

    Who knows whether she was wearing dark clothing and stepped out without looking, but the biker stated that he "thought" he stopped at the stop sign, but he couldn't remember. Yeah right, either you stopped or you didn't.

    If he didn't stop, and it appears that he didn't, I don't think the law will really care whether she stopped and looked first before stepping out. She's dead, and he can't remember if he stopped or not, and I don't think there were any direct witnesses.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TWD
    I would like to find out what the Oregon law is.
    Here is the Oregon law. Go Beavers.

    814.040 Failure to yield to vehicle; penalty. (1) A pedestrian commits the offense of pedestrian failure to yield to a vehicle if the pedestrian does any of the following:

    (a) Suddenly leaves a curb or other place of safety and moves into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

    (b) Fails to yield the right of way to a vehicle upon a roadway when the pedestrian is crossing the roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

    (c) Except as otherwise provided under the vehicle code, fails to yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

    (2) The offense described in this section, pedestrian failure to yield to a vehicle, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 555; 1995 c.383 84]

  24. #24
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    That longer article seems to imply that Lightning is a bad person. At least that's the taste it left with me, which seems a little unfair. It's understandable that her husband and friends wouldn't dig this guy, but in none of the quotes did the husband attack the man. It was a very unfortunate accident (which I know is easy to say from where I'm at).

    Either way though the rules of the road still apply to this guy, and if he did blow through a stop sign without caution he is at fault. Maybe it's just my noob mentality, but even at four way stops at 1am I come darn close to stopping. Not necessarially for other peoples safety (didn't think about that till I read this thread) but for mine. Just because you don't see lights or hear an engine doesn't mean that it's absolutley safe.

    Also though, I think we would have to read a few articles about what happened to motorists who have hit and killed cyclists in that area in order to get the full perspective before making judgements.



    joe

  25. #25
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    After reading quite a few posts on this board about cyclists killed or injured by drivers -who were crazy/careless/intoxicated and then get seemingly light sentences or not proscecuted at all -I think the interest here is how the law is going to work when the shoe is on the other foot. Granted it appears we aren't getting full details (was Mr. Lightning wanted on other charges? Did he attempt to flee the scene? Did he threaten an officer? Who knows, but there might be other reasons as to why he is in jail).

    It is going to be interesting to see what happens with this awful incident (and if there are futher details). I just hope the law is applied fairly to all.
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