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Guilty Until Proven Helmeted

When it comes to automotive violence and mayhem, we’ve is more and more desensitized than a perineum after a Gran Fondo on a maladjusted saddle, as is clear from the lane we report on incidents in which person in a auto drives into someone on a bike.

News narratives about drivers who reach cyclists often implicitly absolve the driver and accuse the main victims. First, there’s almost always a lack of agency coupled with the passive voice: it’s never “a driver reached a cyclist.” Instead, it’s generally something like “a cyclist was hit by a car.”( Yet you never read about how a shooting victim “collided with a bullet.” Go figure .) Then there’s generally some insinuation that it must have been the victim’s defect, often along the lines of “It’s unclear whether the main victims was wearing a helmet.” And despite a big move to change this, it’s also fairly typical to refer to the collision as an “accident, ” even before anybody knows what really happened; in journalism, the oxymoronic “police are still investigating the accident” is reserved almost exclusively to incidents involving cars.

It’s not only reporters who write this course, either. When the time comes to drivers hurting or killing people on motorcycles, this kind of unconscious victim-blaming permeates every aspect of our discourse. Consider this account from the Santa Barbara City Fire Department, which was accompanied by chilling photos of a child’s bike underneath a Toyota Tacoma, and which also appeared on a neighbourhood website for the purposes of the headline “Truck Hits Father and Child on Bicycle.” Highlights include 😛 TAGEND

A little girl and her father were bridging the street at an intersection with no crosswalk. The daughter was on her bicycle when they both were struck by the pickup truck.

Luckily the injuries were minor to the little girl despite her not wearing a bicycle helmet.

The California vehicle code expects bicycle riders under the age of 18 times to wear a bicycle helmet while journeying on a public road…Properly-fitted helmets provide protection from a potentially life-threatening psyche injury.

The Santa Barbara City Fire Department would like to remind everyone to promote bicycle safety for your children and using them to wear a properly fitted helmet when riding.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans suffering from Victim-Blaming Syndrome( VBS ) “youre supposed to” see nothing wrong with any of this. In fact, you may even be a little miffed at the parent for not building sure his precious offspring was wearing a helmet. If, however, you’ve donned the “They Live” Sunglasses and meet all this brainwashing for what it is, you’re likely not even speaking this because you’re too busy was seeking to get your fist back out of the wall after perforating a pit through it.

Either way, the narrative quoted above is under 200 terms long. There’s not a single mention of the motorist; instead, the victims were “struck by a station wagon, ” as though it were somehow self-driving. The report also contains no fewer than five mentions of the word “helmet, ” yet it doesn’t reminded of to drive more carefully or cite relevant motor vehicle code , not even once. The helmet exhortation is specially riling since the “girls ” merely prolonged minor injuries. So, what, are we supposed to believe that if she’d been wearing a helmet the motorist wouldn’t have made her in the first place? Or are we supposed to think a child’s bicycle helmet gives meaningful protection against a Tacoma and that the real mitigating factor isn’t the luck that just happened to be on her side?

It’s almost like, in our bizarre logistical and ethical framework, dying while wearing a helmet is preferable to surviving without one.

But focussing on the child’s helmetlessness isn’t the only insinuation of remorse here. There’s likewise the mention of how the girl and her parent were “crossing the street at an intersection with no crosswalk.” To read this, you’d be forgiven for thinking the girl’s father was hoaxing her into playing a real-life game of Crossy Road. However, as many people pointed out in a lenghty Twitter thread, according to California commonwealth law all intersections have crosswalks and therefore drivers are required to crop whether they’re recognized or not 😛 TAGEND

The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian traverse the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection …

The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exert all due care and shall reduce the quicken of the vehicle or take any other act relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.

So, unless parent and daughter leaped off of the sidewalk into oncoming traffic and shouted “Surprise! ”, this crash is exclusively the driver’s fault.

To their credit, after being called out on all of the above, the Santa Barbara City Fire Department were contrite. Chief Eric Nickel tweeted the following 😛 TAGEND

https :// twitter.com/ NickelEric/ status/ 11002137651 8894387 2

It was refreshing to visualize him acknowledge this. It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that these are people who dedicate their own lives to saving the living conditions of the others. Hence, any safety advice they give is no doubt well-intentioned, as misdirected as it may be.

Yet it’s essential to hack away at the gigantic blind spot that allows us to see the actual question, which is now being people driving into other people with their autoes. We’ve got a long way to go in that consider. But we’ll know we’re making progress when we stop blaming childhood and their parents for winding up underneath pickup trucks.

Read more: outsideonline.com

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