02 April 2009

Originally posted at my old blog geekcyclist.blogspot.com

In the past two weeks there have been two separate incidents where cyclists have been critically injured in hit-and-run collisions in the Salt Lake City area. Coverage from the Salt Lake Tribune says:

A Salt Lake City bicyclist was found face down in a street late Monday, apparently after a car struck him.

The bicyclist was in serious condition late Monday, said Salt Lake City police Detective Dennis McGowan. Detectives are investigating the case as a hit and run.

Someone found the man about 10 p.m. Monday near 1400 N. Beck St. (300 West). There is a bicycle lane on that section of road, but McGowan said there are skid marks indicating a vehicle may have run over a curb and struck the man. The bike’s rear end was damaged. The bicyclist was found in a business driveway bleeding from his head and face, McGowan said.

Anyone with information about the case can call Salt Lake City police at 801-799-3000.

Charges were filed Tuesday in a separate hit-and-run involving a cyclist on March 19 at 6540 S. Wasatch Blvd. The accused driver, 28-year-old Nicholas T. Murdock of Holladay, allegedly told his passenger he liked to speed around the corner of 6200 South and Wasatch before accelerating his BMW from a stop and hitting the cyclist, deputies wrote. Murdock and his passenger got out of the car and looked at the victim; Murdock obscured the license plate and drove away, detectives wrote.

The cyclist remains hospitalized, investigators wrote. Murdock was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving an injury, obstructing justice and reckless driving, all misdemeanors.

Like many people, cyclists and non-cyclists alike, I am outraged that so far the best the authorities can do is charge Murdock with a trio of misdemeanors. Compare that to these two incidents, also from today’s paper:

In charges filed Tuesday, police wrote that [an] 18-year-old and two other people were walking through [the police] lot when an officer saw the teen “tag” a cruiser with a scribble. Two other patrol cars were found to be tagged, officers wrote. The damage is estimated at $900. The teen was charged with third-degree felony graffiti.

and this:

A knife-wielding man allegedly chased a hiker and his dog down a trail above the University of Utah and then charged police who arrived to investigate. The victim came upon a man standing by a tent… The man told the hiker to leash his dog and leave, moved toward the hiker with an object in his hand, and shouted threats as the hiker ran back down the trail… When officers later approached the tent, the man ran away but then charged pursuing officers with a knife held over his head. Officers deployed a Taser twice. The man, 46, of Salt Lake City, was charged with three third-degree felony counts of aggravated assault and a misdemeanor count of interference with an arresting officer.

So, let me get this straight.

If I spray paint ‘Death to all Cyclists’ on cars in my neighborhood it’s a felony.

If I chase and threaten a cyclist with a knife it would be a felony.

But I can hit one in my car, injuring them critically and then leave them for dead, bleeding at the side of the road and that is only a misdemeanor?!?!

Justice is not blind in Utah, it is stone cold drunk on 3.2 beer (which was probably a factor for both drivers as well…)

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