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Not very many details. Here's the link to the Chicago Tribune article.

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very sad.  My heart goes out to his family.

When I read that short "blurb" I thought how interesting it is how often pedestrians walk right into the middle of the sides of cars and cyclists ride right into the middle of the sides of cars.

Yes, of course a 68-year-old man must have hit the side of a car with so much force that he was thrown up onto the windshield and over into the street. Happens all the time. [/sarcasm]

This article is a great example of word salad.  It makes no sense.

Jennifer said:

Yes, of course a 68-year-old man must have hit the side of a car with so much force that he was thrown up onto the windshield and over into the street. Happens all the time. [/sarcasm]

This makes number 7 in the fatality tracker.

The wording confused me as well.  The cyclist hit the car's passenger side and went over the windshield?  So was he going the wrong way?  Or did the motorist hit him with the passenger side of their car?  If the investigation hasn't closed, maybe the "details" shouldn't be released.  

Yes, I love how it implies - purposely or not - that the bicyclist willfully rode into the side of the car.

Jennifer said:

Yes, of course a 68-year-old man must have hit the side of a car with so much force that he was thrown up onto the windshield and over into the street. Happens all the time. [/sarcasm]

I spent some time going over this data a while back when it was published:

http://www.baycitizen.org/data/bike-accidents/?date_from=20050101&a...

and found that when a bicyclist was hit but lived to tell about it, the cyclist was determined to be at fault about 50% of the time, but when the cyclist died, they were determined to be at fault darned close to 100% of the time.

I question the training (knowledge) and consistency in application of that training in determining fault, as well as the basis of, motivations, and interpretations in developing the training. Does anyone know of a resource that describes how police officers are trained to judge this?

h' said:

I spent some time going over this data a while back when it was published:

http://www.baycitizen.org/data/bike-accidents/?date_from=20050101&a...

and found that when a bicyclist was hit but lived to tell about it, the cyclist was determined to be at fault about 50% of the time, but when the cyclist died, they were determined to be at fault darned close to 100% of the time.

Perhaps people with police training could help answer the question as to what they are taught, but,  ultimately, "fault" is something that is determined by a judge or jury after hearing all of the available evidence.  Police officers are seldom eyewitnesses.  Very few of them are trained in accident reconstruction--even at the Major Accident Investigation level.  At a trial, the officer's opinion is not admissible as evidence.  He or she may only testify to what he or she observed, not what others said and not what he or she "thinks" happened.  

A police officer's determination of "fault" might influence an insurance company to allow or deny a claim at the outset, but judges and juries often disagree with the police officer's finding after hearing all of the evidence.  So when it comes right down to it, what the police officer thinks about who was at "fault" is meaningless in analyzing crashes.


Steven Vance said:

I question the training (knowledge) and consistency in application of that training in determining fault, as well as the basis of, motivations, and interpretations in developing the training. Does anyone know of a resource that describes how police officers are trained to judge this?

h' said:

I spent some time going over this data a while back when it was published:

http://www.baycitizen.org/data/bike-accidents/?date_from=20050101&a...

and found that when a bicyclist was hit but lived to tell about it, the cyclist was determined to be at fault about 50% of the time, but when the cyclist died, they were determined to be at fault darned close to 100% of the time.

Police officers ....  Very few of them are trained in accident reconstruction--even at the Major Accident Investigation level.

Yes and no on the training.  I asked for a police officer's perspective on this.  Officers in the Major Accident unit DO get very specialized training, including accident reconstruction.  One of the skills/tools those officers have available is the ability to plug into a car's onboard computer and get data such as how fast the car was going at the time of impact, whether the driver was braking, whether the radio was turned up loud, and other detailed information.  The computers built into newer cars effectively act as a "black box," similar to what a plane has.

On the other hand, the average officer on the street gets minimal training in the academy on how to process a crash scene.  My source says that they reviewed all the items on a crash report and didn't go much beyond that.  He considers it inadequate at best.  He later went through a specialized course on dealing with DUIs and said it's had a significant impact on the kinds of details he observes regarding the driver and the scene.

He says that what goes into a report varies quite a bit from officer to officer, depending on their experience, perspective and level of attention to detail.  That's consistent with my own experience reading crash reports at work.  Some reports are quite good, and many leave a lot of room for improvement.

Thanks, Anne.  It has been a number of years since I regularly dealt with crash reports and police officers. I don't think they had the black box capability at the time I last did.  And not all MAIS officers were trained in accident reconstruction at the time, either.  Your source confirms the credibility of the average police crash report, however.  And your experience with crash reports is current while mine is dated!

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