The injustice based on government’s unscientific propaganda on drugged driving

Some people have wondered at why I’m using up political capital in the “losing” issue of countering the government’s drugged driving campaign. “You’re never going to be able to convince the public that stoned driving is safe, so you should drop it.”

Even though I’m not trying to convince the public that stoned driving is safe — merely not the level of danger being touted by the feds in context — I understand the argument (people often don’t deal well with nuance). However…

Here’s one reason why I never will drop it.

An Aurora woman who was reaching for her sunglasses when she set off a chain reaction crash that killed a St. Charles couple riding a motorcycle pleaded guilty Friday to aggravated DUI.

Alia Bernard, 27, admitted having marijuana in her system on May 29, 2009, when she rear-ended a stopped car on Illinois Route 47 in Kane County between Sugar Grove and Elburn.

The car Bernard struck hit another car waiting to make a left turn as a line of motorcyclists came by in the oncoming lane. The force of the collision pushed the lead car into the path of motorcyclists Wade and Denise Thomas, of St. Charles, who struck the car and were killed, authorities said.

Although tests showed Bernard had marijuana in her system, she hadn’t used the drug in the three or four days before the crash and wasn’t impaired, said her lawyer, Bruce Brandwein.

“It was sunny and the sun was bouncing off the chrome of the motorcycles and she went to get her sunglasses and when she looked up, there was a car stopped in the road,” he said.

Illinois has a per se law for marijuana and driving (what the Drug Czar is pushing for the entire country). This means that any amount in the blood counts as driving impaired for enhanced sentencing.

She could get as much as 28 years.

Now this was a tragedy. It was also an accident. If you want to charge people with an aggravated felony for reaching for sunglasses without being properly stopped, then do so, but don’t charge someone for something they did days before and pretend that you care about highway safety.

Nobody would add a charge in a fatal accident because the driver had been seen drinking in a bar two days before.

This isn’t at all about highway safety or reducing traffic deaths.

This law is about not liking the kind of people who use marijuana, and finding another way to punish them for being that kind of people. Period.

It’s an ugly law and an affront to justice. It’s also based on unscientific demagoguery by the Drug Czar and his minions like Kevin Sabet.

[Thanks, Duncan]
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77 Responses to The injustice based on government’s unscientific propaganda on drugged driving

  1. TomTomStoker says:

    It’s not an ugly law. Get over yourself. With these arguments none of us are going to advance legalization. Are you kiddin me?

    • Peter says:

      Tom, as Pete said, would you feel the same way if she had been drinking in a bar two days before the accident? The reason this law is ugly is because it distorts science by using microscopic traces stored in fat tissues to imply drug impairment. It has nothing to do with road safety and everything to do with witch-hunting cannabis users. As I said in the last thread, she should have entered a plea of not guilty to DUI, because she was not under the influence.

    • darkcycle says:

      Sorry, Tom Tom. He’s right. Go play your drum.

    • Francis says:

      “You’re wrong” is not a very effective rebuttal. (“Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.”)

  2. Cannabis says:

    The motorist was not impaired. It was inattention that caused the accident. Per se drugged driving laws have nothing to do with public safety, especially when it comes to cannabis use. I agree with Pete, it’s about punishing the other.

  3. ezrydn says:

    Being arrested for metabolites is the same as being arrested for taking out the garbage for pickup. Pete, me thinks it’s time for another “elevator session” meeting. Tom is invited as he may learn something.

    When I crushed my foot in an accident, my Pod surgeon said, “EZ, you’ll never walk again. The rest of your life will be in a wheelchair.” I responded that combat vets can’t process the word “never.” She said get use to it. I told her I’d leave on my own two feet and not in a chair.

    For 2 months, every night, all night, I hobbled around the bowels of a VA hospital, unknown to anyone. It was tough, you betcha. However, “never,” as Tom says, didn’t occupy my time. Walking did!

    When I left, she was a the door to say goodbye. As she approached, I stepped out of the chair and started for the taxi. She was amazed. She said, “You are the reason and example behind what I do. Good Luck.”

    When I got back here, I spent all day for the next 6 months perfecting my stride so as not to be “different.” Today, I walk everywhere.

    Now, Tom, explain that “Never thingy” to me again.

  4. Outlier says:

    Don’t give up on this. When (and I’m more convinced than ever we can say when not if) marijuana is legalized and all that law enforcement $ dries up, theres going to be an enormous campaign on the part of law enforcement to get more of these laws on the books. Whatever lobbyists/scientists the billion dollar marijuana industry has to counter that message will be looked at with the same disdain we give tobacco scientists who argued forever that their product didn’t cause lung cancer. It’s a tough issue message wise but an extremely important one and we need informed citizens to articulate it.

  5. darkcycle says:

    Somewhat recently in this state, a fatal collision was caused by a genlteman whose lady companion had suddenly had an urge to oral copulation. The charge was reckless driving and vehicular homicide. The V.H. charge was later dropped.

  6. Francis says:

    How could this law withstand even a rational basis constitutional challenge?

    • Scott says:

      “How could this law withstand even a rational basis constitutional challenge?”

      How could the Controlled Substances Act withstand even a rational basis constitutional challenge?

    • divadab says:

      Consider Gonzalez v. Raich and the “rational basis” that underpins it: the federal government can interfere with a private person growing a plant on her own property for her own use under a bizarre interpretation of the Commerce Clause – that her activity might affect interstate commerce.

      Under this “logic”, the Supreme Court says there are no limits to the feds’ power – because every activity has some potential effect on interstate commerce.

      Considering this, how can you avoid concluding that there is no branch of the federal government which is not utterly corrupt and acting contrary to the Constitution? Illegitimate, in other words. I mean, this is a government which would throw most of the founders in jail as dangerous criminal felons (for growing hemp). It’s disgraceful, to see your government taken over by paid liars and bribe takers. They don;t even try to hide it any more.

  7. Peter says:

    I’d be interested to know if Alia Bernard is a person of color.
    Also, most states have a law requiring drivers to wait in a turn lane with their wheels facing straight ahead, to avoid exactly what happened in this accident. I wonder if the person whose car actually hit the motorcycle was similarly drug tested. In my opinion,they are as much to blame for this accident as the person on trial.

    • Windy says:

      Not only that but the car in the middle which Alia hit and which then hit the car that was waiting to turn left was obviously stopped too close to the left turn car and should have been cited for that error (whatever the reason for rear-ending someone, legally it is always the fault of the person doing the rear-ending).

      I use this little trick to make certain that if I am ever rear-ended I will not roll into the car in front of me and therefore get a ticket, I stop far enough back that I can still see all of the back tires of that car in front, and I keep my right foot on the brake.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        Windy, that is incorrect. It is a rebuttable presumption that the driver of a car that rear ends another is at fault, not an absolute rule. Picture a driver suffering from road rage. This driver is pissed off at another driver and jumps lanes ending up directly in front of the object of his anger, slams on his brakes and is rear ended. It would be absurdity in the extreme to fault the following driver. In this hypothetical situation the following driver is clueless of why his antagonist is in the grips of an extreme and irrational road rage.

  8. darkcycle says:

    “This isn’t at all about highway safety or reducing traffic deaths.

    This law is about not liking the kind of people who use marijuana, and finding another way to punish them for being that kind of people. Period.”
    I’ll argue with only one point. It is also about generating business for the court ordered “treatment” industry. It’s make work for Drug Courts, and diversion programs.
    …and potheads are a minority who (until recently) never squealed too loudly.

  9. Ty Palmer says:

    Please, for the love of all things Good and True, never stop deriding the abhorrent practice of irresponsible, lazy journalism in which cannabis is thrown under the bus. Bravo, brother! I’m reading your words every day on RSS…not sure those stats come through to the mothership. Never, ever, ever quit. The world needs a counter voice. Cheers!

  10. Bruce says:

    After being frisked, searched, impounded, forced to do sobriety gymnastics in a 30 knot minus 6 gale because of an ‘odor’ even with no drugs on board, Jack Boot from ICBC was absolutely giddy to woof woof bark bark and send a letter, which began with the friendly tone,, “Multiple offences” and “Drivers like you” welcoming me to the “remedial driver program” with its $883 fee and threats of an extra $100 if I missed a class. Stupid J. Boot must have been sure annoyed to find out the cops had entered my charge twice into P.Pig database and upon slamming the mistake in their face, J Boot was kind enough to apologize with a letter informing me the RDP was no longer necessary.
    Sorry Boot, you still lose. Sold the second vehicle, quit my job. Paid $5200 income tax in 07 How’s that revenue stream now? At 60 bucks a month for insurance, you’ve cost yourself over $1,000 already, Not to mention other taxes etc. Chew off your own tail to your hearts content, stinking NAZIs
    Drivers Against Madd Mothers

  11. allan says:

    oh… the news…

    A revealing read from Bill Conroy over at the NarcoSphere: Zambada Niebla Case Exposes US Drug War Quid Pro Quo

    U.S. government officials have long presented the drug war through the media as a type of ‘Dirty Harry” movie, in which hardscrabble cops are engaged in a pitched battle with hardened street criminals who threaten the very social fabric of life behind America’s gated communities.

    Of course it’s a big pretense, with the truth being closer to what really goes on in the marketplace of the US everyday. The drug war is, in reality, a drug business in which backroom deals are cut to advance the profit motives of the business entities involved, whether they be narco-trafficking organizations, or weapons manufacturers or government bureaucracies — and the aspiring, greedy careerists who inhabit their leadership ranks.

    Casualty Of The War On Drugs: Flash-Bang Grenade Burns Flesh Off Woman’s Leg In Botched Drug Raid

    The police were looking that day for a drug dealer, narcotics and a firearm, but found nothing.

  12. Bruce says:

    Interestingly, One of the same officers present at the checkpoint which siezed my vehicle was himself busted recently for impaired driving. What goes around comes around. Difference is, I work for free. Just getting my moneys worth.

  13. claygooding says:

    Law enforcement already has an impaired drivers test they administer on the sides of the road across America daily.

    If a person can pass their states impaired drivers test,then the amount of drugs in their system is irrelevant.

    • Francis says:

      Yeah, but people who have recently consumed cannabis can routinely pass THAT test (which OBVIOUSLY means that the test is flawed).

      • claygooding says:

        If it is sufficient to have served for the last 40 or 50 years as a signal to police officers that a persons coordination and thought processes are sufficient or not to drive a car,,,how could it be flawed? Since presence of drugs does not mean impairment,what better way to test?

        • Francis says:

          It’s “flawed” because the law is not really about safety (at least not mainly). It’s about punishing “the other,” and fueling the massive machinery of the war on (some) drugs.

  14. Bruce says:

    As a construction contractor, I do not work by the hour. One portion of the test…Standing on one leg looking at sky reciting seconds to 20,000 in increments of one thousand.
    “You’re doing pretty poorly on these tests.”
    … ignoring my protestations “Seconds! WTF!” as I shivered uncontrollably after 20 minutes in my workboots and tee shirt IN A G’d#!^^^! 30 Kt WIND at minus 6 degrees.
    My pilots licence medical exam was a breeze in comparison.
    Don’t see me at yer checkpoint tonite do ya?
    You lose.
    Chevron loses.
    Tim Hortons loses.
    Have not driven after dark in 2 years.
    M.A.D.D. suckyfied destroyer of society since its inception.

    The man from D.A.M.M.

  15. Duncan20903 says:

    Francis, where in the Constitution does it say that laws have to make sense? Would that be an interpretation of the 8th Amendment?

    Could someone please tell me why this woman was tested in the first place?

    • Francis says:

      My understanding is that under controlling Supreme Court precedent any law can be subjected to, at a minimum, a “rational basis” review via the Constitution’s due process or equal protection clauses. This test requires that the governmental action be “rationally related” to a “legitimate” government interest. This means that the government’s goal must simply be something that it is acceptable for the government to pursue. The means used by the legislation only have to be reasonable for getting to the government’s goals; they need not be the best. So, here the government’s (stated) goal would be increased highway safety, which would be considered legitimate. But the means used to pursue that goal are so completely unreasonable, arbitrary, and irrational that the law could be struck down on that basis. Of course, when I’m on the Supreme Court, I’ll take the position that pot smokers are a “discrete and insular minority” and apply strict scrutiny. (Don’t worry. I won’t mention that in my confirmation hearing.)

      • Duncan20903 says:

        She had a lousy lawyer. She should have at least entered an Alford plea rather than pleading guilty. Some crusading lawyer might have enjoyed taking this case up the chain of appeals.

  16. Scott says:

    Some folks in the bicycling crowd are trying to make the distinction between “accident” and “collision” because many “accidents” are the result of doing something stupid like taking your eyes off the road to find your sunglasses while you’re barreling along in a two-ton death machine. Sadly, the folks who’ve been taken in by the anti-drug propagandists appear to consider the infinitesimal quantity of days-old THC in her bloodstream more of a contributing factor than the blatant stupidity that actually caused the collision. I think she should spend some time in the pokey, as should anyone who causes a collision in such an outrageous fashion, but that amount of THC should never have been an issue because it’s irrelevant.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Pete.

  17. mr walkway says:

    Unfortunaty she would have never won…. If she had wonon an appeal that would almost require the DOT to re write their guidelines on cannabis testing for DOT and FTA jobs since the courts would be acknowledging that the amounts of thc in the bloodstream after only a few days would not cause impairment, thus the current policy of terminating employment for traces dating back for months, its terribly unfortunate for this young woman, I wonder what made her even mention cannabis to the authorities

  18. Peter says:

    while i feel sorry for the motorcyclists who died, i think the safety implications of rolling thunder type noisefests also needs to be assessed as a factor ib what happened here. it may be that bikes were lined up 2 to a lane which could have prevented evasive action. in any case a large group of bikes has to be a distraction to other road users and alia has said she reached for her sunglasses because of the glare sun on chrome. the roads are for transportation and if large groups choose to use them for egotistical display purposes they put everyone in danger.

    • darkcycle says:

      “while i feel sorry for the motorcyclists who died, i think the safety implications of rolling thunder type noisefests also needs to be assessed as a factor ib what happened here.”
      WTF….the biker shares the fault because he was a motorcycleist…who happened to be in a GROUP of motorcycles? I can tell you from personal experience, there’s damn little you can do to avoid a car that suddenly lurches into your path in traffic, whether you’re in a car or on a bike. And somehow, because this person was riding a motorcycle, they helped CAUSE the collision that occurred?
      You speculate it was because the motorcycles had CHROME on them? What about all the chrome on your two ton death machine? Four wheels=chrome O.K., two wheels=chrome dangerous? And such a large group of them? Jeez how does she do in a group of CARS (obviously, not so good, because she hit THEM)? Traffic is traffic, regardless of the constituents. The roads are for transportation…and that’s what was occurring. They were in transit from one place to another, and using legal vehilces on public roads.
      If you dislike motorcyclists, fine, but don’t apply a different standard of proof because a motorcycle was involved. That’s what the prohibitionists are trying to do to us potheads with these per se laws….hold us to a different standard than the users of alcohol.
      It was not the motorcyclist’s fault for riding a motorcycle. The rider did not “deserve it”. It was not the fault of the group, they were obeying all the traffic laws. It was not because of the shiny bits.
      It was because the driver in question removed her attention from the road in front of her when it was not safe to do so.
      Just for insight, I feel about the same way about people who hold others to different standards based on the vehicle they drive as I do about those who hold people to a different standard based upon thier choice of intoxicant.

      • Peter says:

        Chill out DC….I’ve held a motorcycle license since 1969 and spent several years as a m/c courier in london…i have no issues with motorcycles or motorcyclists. the safety point i raised concerns the mass gatherings narcissists known as rolling thunder who are using the road to show off. In my opinion this is a road safety issue, as has been demonstrated in this case.

        • darkcycle says:

          I disagree. Strongly. If I choose to ride in group, that is my business. And your judgement of the personality type that engages in this behavior has no place in the construction of traffic laws. …and who calls them “rolling thunder”? That’s the name for a discreet group of motorcyclists primarily made up of military veterans. They have an organization named rolling thunder, a website, and THEY are the ones (a small vanishingly small percentage of bikers, I might add) who turned out at rallies for McCain…
          Wow..I am shocked at the generalizations aimed at the amorphous “other” (in this case “bikers”…as if there were really a cohesive group with an identity called “bikers”)coming up at this site. Of all the people I would think least likely to engage in this behavior, it would be us, I’d think.
          I’m kinda shocked.
          And I’m not sure I’m ready to believe that a courier (which I did myself for a summer), someone who has to brave every idiot and dolt in the traffic world, would be so ready to blame a group of innocent bikers.
          Do we intimidate that much?
          How exactly DOES this case demonstrate that large groups of motorcycles are a road safety issue? Traffic in Asia, india, some parts of eastern europe all have much higher concentrations of motorcyclists, yet they don’t see any safety issue with these bikes integrating in traffic with cars trucks and busses.
          I’m not gonna chill out. You suggest it was the biker’s fault somehow for either being a biker, or because his motorcycle is shiny, or because he was in a group (which made him far more visible to surrounding traffic than being alone). That’s no better than blaming a joint the woman had smoked two days before, admit it.

  19. Peter says:

    furthermore i never met a biker who didnt enjoy a little cannabis yet huge numbers of them turned out in 2008 for prohibitionist tool john mccain, and presumably voted for him. expect a similar “whats the matter with kansas” vote against fheir own interests in 2012 with newt.

  20. ezrydn says:

    Calderon may be a real jerk in some instances but he hasn’t swallowed this bullshit yet. For that I’m thankful. It still amazes me that people ask me WHY I decided to call this place “home.” I’m passing ten years here now and I love it. Cops are much more respectful than up there. I know, here come the comments
    about “mordita” but I’ve never encountered it! Plus, LE here has TWO elements; the “real” police and “transito.” Transito is “vehicular enforcement” and the others handle crime. Transito wear white shirts and cops wear armor.

  21. Rookie says:

    This is why I have pleaded and pleaded with everyone to fight against urine testing as a method to determine if someone is under the influence. Lie Detectors have been basically forbidden from Employment and Court use as unreliable as should Urine testing! Until we stop using urine tests as a gold standard we will never be able to step out from the shadow of guilt..

    • Duncan20903 says:

      I think you should make sure that urine tests were used in a case before you use it as an example. Ms. Bernard’s conviction came as a result of a blood test so you won’t want to use this case in your crusade against urine testing.

  22. Duncan20903 says:

    I really want to know why she was tested as the whole thing is causing me to be conflicted and suffer serious cognitive dissonance.

    She had to be traveling at a high rate of speed to push that many vehicles into each other. It suggests to me that she was totally oblivious to where she was. The sunglasses thing sounds like a pile of road apples to me.

    The story linked doesn’t mention that the incident occurred on May 23, 2009. This story suggests that she was texting, unfortunately the supporting link is dead:

    The cannabis was detected by blood test according to the article linked directly above.

    It seems there were no mentions of cannabis or DUI in any form in news reports between 5/20/2009 and 6/30/2009. Ms. Bernard was originally charged with a traffic law violation:

    “Alia N. Bernard, 24, of Aurora, was cited with failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident in the crash, which happened about 8:30 a.m., police said.”

    I’m still not finding any mention of why she was tested. The investigators sure didn’t seem to think that impaired driving was the culprit in the immediate aftermath.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      None of the bikers were wearing safety helmets.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        I’ve been through at least 50 articles, limited the search to the 3 months immediately subsequent to the accident, determined that nobody thinks she was driving while impaired, and yet there’s no mention of why they took her blood. I find that highly annoying but I give up. If someone can fill me in I would certainly appreciate it.

      • darkcycle says:

        That was an unfortunate choice, although legal in Illinois. Still doesn’t transfer one iota of the blame in this accident to the cyclist. FWIW, I always wear a helmet, even in sturgis, where I was the was one of the ONLY one one or two I saw..
        And an hour in a motorcycle helmet at ninety degrees in the sun can raise your brain temp to dangerous levels (if you’re not moving, but even then at speed, it’s still aweful. Motorcycle helmets should allow ventitng like a bicycle’s).
        The head injury risk is also not removed by the helmet, it is only somewhat reduced.

        • Peter says:

          Not wearing a helmet “doesn’t transfer one iota of the blame in this accident to the cyclists…”
          you must be joking! If the cause of death was head injury (highly likely) then not wearing a helmet is a massive contribution to the blame for these deaths. This young woman is being railroaded for a sequence of events involving the fault of at least three other drivers/passengers (the two cars ahead of her-see above- plus the motorcyclists’ disregard for their own safety by choosing to go helmetless)because she tested + for cannabis metabolites. Without that she would be charged with careless driving only and given a fine.

        • darkcycle says:

          You cannot be serious. The only valid issue here is the PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE CRASH.

        • Peter says:

          “You cannot be serious. The only valid issue here is the PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE CRASH.”

          No DC, the valid issue is the cause of death and how the actions of those involved contributed to it. The state is saying the presence of metabolites and one driver’s carelessness are the only issues. Setting aside metabolites, I am saying that several people contributed to this accident through carelessness and irresponsibility.

        • darkcycle says:

          The fact that this woman was driving at all contributed to this accident. The fact that there was no barrier to incursion into the oncoming lane contributed to this accident. The fact that it was daytime instead of night when these people chose to drive contributed to this accident. None of those factors count either.
          Why? because in a case involving a traffic accident only the proximate causes count.
          In a court of law, if you can show that the proximate cause was the INEVITABLE result of an obvious oversight or neglegence on the part of a third party, then you are not held responsable. Otherwise, we are supposed to be responsable for our own behavior.
          Your assertion is absurd.

        • Duncan20903 says:

          WRT the helmets, it was a statement of fact, neither more nor less. While it doesn’t change who was at fault it would most certainly mitigate damages due in a civil action to any of the bikers who suffered head injuries on the theory of contributory negligence. But in this incidence the motorcycles played no role beyond the happenstance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The lead and second car were obviously aware of them from the reports.
          Have you guys ever seen the PSA with the woman in a car’s passenger seat holding an infant on her lap which transmogrifies into a full grown sumo wrestler when the car is in a collision? I used to know a Harley guy who would use that commercial in an argument against using safety helmets. After the law passed he wore a “half” helmet much like this:

          That said, maybe I should share that when I was 12 I apparently fell off of my bicycle and landed on the back of my head. It was a significant, life changing event for me, and not for the better. I say apparently because I have no memory of the event, just the permanent lump on the back of my head and the word of people who claimed to have witnessed the incident. I sure wish they made kids wear safety helmets back in 1973.

          There’s no evidence that head injuries were the cause of death, and there were several other motorcyclists that sustained injuries. At least 6 cycles were involved.

  23. Francis says:

    “The high court reaffirmed that any amount of an illegal substance in a driver’s system is enough to support an aggravated driving under the influence charge.”

    My God, that is both surreal and infuriating. Are the metabolites that were actually detected themselves “illegal substances”? Also, I wonder how many of the 40+ % percent of Americans who have enjoyed cannabis at some point in their lives don’t have at least one stray THC molecule tucked away in a cell somewhere. (“Any amount” means any amount, right?)

  24. Bruce says:

    My woman sterilized by the state and left brain damaged by Haldol. No recourse for me. Why should I give fiddlers flatulence for mourning mommies?
    Burn plastic insecticide and tires when the wind is blowing towards MADD HQ


  25. Peter says:

    DC….you obviously think I hold a prejudice against motorcyclists and, as this is your hobby, you are taking this personally. Let me just say that I have owned and ridden many motorcycles throughout my life and love to ride. I certainly do not hate, fear or stereotype other motorcyclists as you have suggested.
    I hold a ROSPA advanced motorcyclist certificate and, as I said, have worked as a professional rider. One thing I have learnt in 40+ years of riding is to never restrict your available road space if it can be avoided. What I have been suggesting to you, no doubt somewhat inadequately, is that large groups of riders travelling together as a convoy inevitably restrict each other’s room for maneuver and thus any ability to accelerate out of danger. Unlike Duncan I have not researched this accident but I learn from him that this was a multi-bike collision, no doubt caused in part by the tight formation of the riders. I imagine that one bike was shunted into others in a chain reaction.
    Anybody like you who has ridden a bike for any length of time will know that showing off is, unfortunately, an integral part of motorcycle culture (I know because, as a younger man, I was the same), hence my use of the word “narcissists” to describe what often happens when groups of bikers get together.
    My object was not to offend and in an attempt to lighten the mood I have included this link:

    • claygooding says:

      One should always remember”class has ass built into it”

      I ride a half helmet now,when I wear one,when I was young,no helmet.

      I have seen riders killed because the weight of the helmet broke their neck on impact,,of course,,other injuries at the same time didn’t help a lot.

      Are we loud,,yes,,because people that are not bike aware may not see us,so make sure they hear you coming and always have a good looking hide for them to watch as you go.

  26. darkcycle says:

    I’m a motorcycle safety foundation instructor. If riding paired or in staggered formation is unsafe, why is that skill taught by every police department in this country? Your anecdotal experience is not borne out by the accident statistics I’ve seen.

    • Maybe it’s taught because it’s known that motorcyclists like to show off by driving like that despite the added risk? Ie. harm reduction.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      It makes sense to me. A herd, or even just a pair of motorcycles is much more visible than a lone bike. It is the lack of visibility that has kept me off of a motorcycle because I perceive them as significantly risky. Am I recalling correctly because I want to say there are idiot car drivers who will try to squeeze around a lone cyclist because a bike can’t ride in the middle of a highway traffic lane because of the thin film of oil cast from automobile engines that aren’t correctly sealed? That has the bike riding basically where car tires have “scrubbed” the oil from the road with the friction from their tires.

      • darkcycle says:

        You’re talking about what we call the “slime stripe”. It is usually not a factor in dry conditions, but when things start to get wet, the slime stripe’s character changes…after a long dry spell, when it starts to get wet it is SLICK..BUT…the inverse is true when it starts to dry out. The slme stripe (being made up primarily of solidified oil) is the first part of the road to dry…then, that’s where you want to be.

  27. claygooding says:

    Parents Had Man Beat Child: Teen Is Beat By Man From Parents’ Church, Officials Report

    An Irvine couple who suspected their 15-year-old son of smoking turned to a man believed to be relied on in their church to violently discipline children, authorities said.

    The parents asked Paul Kim, 39, to discipline their son after finding a lighter in his possession, dropping the boy off at Kim’s Chino Hills home with permission for the beating, San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokesperson Cindy Bachmann said Saturday.

    To blame the church is wrong unless they had prior knowledge of it happening.

    The parents are to blame for sure but there is another blame,,the propaganda of the drug war,,this is part of the hidden damage done to our society by the lies and fear mongering our government has based the prohibitio­n of marijuana on.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      He could be a budding arsonist. But clay, what makes you think that it wasn’t tobacco to which the parents were objecting? Why in the world are authorities protecting the church?

  28. primus says:

    “They” lie all the time, “they” have many different lies which “they” trot out. It is necessary to counter every one. That way, the reasonable people will see the countering arguments over and over, and after some time will absorb their wisdom. The combination of our countering efforts along with the supportive comments of those reasonable people will help convince even more people to support or at least not oppose the movement. To leave any lie unopposed is to give it credence; the know-nothings will think that the lie is true because they did not hear a countering argument.

  29. mr walkway says:

    Somebody tell darkcycle to actually find the stats of Asian countries and their traffic collisions, and how many are fatal… Those places have almost no laws about traffic safety….

  30. mr walkway says:

    I mean honestly…. India alone has an average of 336 deaths per day from traffic collisions, America averages 90

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Population of India (2010) = 1,170,938,000

      Population of the United States (2010) = 308,745,538

      1,170,938,000/308,745,538 = 3.793

      3.793 x 90 = 341.37
      Of course the above is a straw man fallacy since the US has 765 motor vehicles per 1000 citizens and India has 12 per 1000. But holy cow, another straw man fallacy is casting an argument that seems to presume that someone is arguing in favor of repealing traffic safety laws. darkcycle, would I be speaking out of school in stating that you aren’t in favor of turning our highways into a free for all?

      Oh, one other thing, I just took your 336 traffic deaths per day in India as factual without any verification. But tell me, how many of those fatalities are due to collisions with cows?

      • darkcycle says:

        I am firmly in favor of traffic laws. Utter chaos is not a desireable thing. However they need to be based on reality…take roundabouts vs controlled intersections. The predjudice in this country is toward controlled intersections, when the statistics point to roundabouts as the safer alternative. Where the light is responsible for traffic control, people default to the signal for primary safety information…light’s green=proceed. In an uncontrolled intersection, each driver is responsible for gathering the primary safety information, so the driver has to actually CHECK TRAFFIC to decide wether to proceed or not. You actually have to work at it to hit someone in a well designed roundabout. I was merely countering that absurd claim, India’s traffic situation bears no similarity to ours, and I started out by pointing out that there are by far more cycles in the third world, and they integrate well into traffic (the relative chaos of their traffic situation notwithstanding…that came up later).

  31. darkcycle says:
    Those two links might give you a better basis upon which to make your comparison (although miles traveled is a better measure of traffic safety).

  32. Peter says:

    DC: your use of India as an example of, you claim, the inherent safety of large groups of cyclists completely undermines your assertion. Please explain how a country with far fewer total vehicles, and even fewer miles traveled, that nevertheless suffers 3-4 times as many fatal accidents as the U.S., can show the inherent safety of tightly bunched groups of motorcycles.

  33. Peter says:

    By the way, DC, have you ever driven or ridden in India? I have, including on a bicycle. There is an unwritten law of the road there which infers that the larger the vehicle, the more right it has to the road space…this means anything on two wheels is pretty low down on the pecking order, so watch out. This is only slightly mediated by the possibility in a fatal accident that the crowd will turn on the driver and beat him to death on the roadside.
    All in all, India is a very poor example for your argument.

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