it take for people to realize hitting people on bikes is not a laughing
matter? (Photo: Pedal_Power_Pete
Earlier this week, we wrote about a Mike Pintek, a Pittsburgh radio
show host who joked
about hitting bicyclists with his car.
Today, we read in the Chicago
Bicycle Advocate Blog about two young men who were convicted of
hunting down bicyclists to hit with their car — while they were drunk.
Good thing they were convicted, you might think. But when you hear
the sentences they received, you might be shocked:
The second man charged with intentionally hunting down and
striking a bicyclist in Brookfield on May 31, 2009 has been sentenced to
zero jail time. The driver, 20-year-old Erik Fabian, pled guilty to
aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of an
accident. He was sentenced to two years probation. Fabian’s
buddy, Armando Reza, was sentenced last week to 10 days in jail for
the same incident, a seemingly light sentence that has outraged a good
many Chicago bicyclists. According
to the Chicago Breaking News Center, the two were drinking before
deciding to drive around looking for bicyclists to hit. Both men were
sentenced by Cook County Judge Carol Kipperman.
Transportation Alliance, a Chicago bicycle advocacy group, has
expressed outrage at the "insufficient sentences" given to the men. This
morning the group started a letter-writing campaign directed at Cook
County State’s Attorney, Anita Alvarez, and assistant state’s attorney,
Mike Pattarozzi, to justify these negotiated sentences. According to the
Alliance the crimes with which the men were charged were eligible for
penalties of up to 2-5 years in jail.
According to a news
story about the incident, the two men dared each other to commit
the assaults. It was like a game to them — they even pulled over to
switch seats so they could each get a chance to play. Fortunately,
neither of the people they struck was seriously injured. But it’s not
hard to imagine how differently it might have turned out.
And yet, in a culture where assault with a vehicle is routinely
joked about, prosecutors are willing to cut offenders an easy deal.
More from around the network: Xing
Columbus writes in praise of car-pooling. M-Bike.org
has some news about more funding for the Underground Railroad bike
route. And Atlanta
Bicycle Coalition reports on a $5 million boost for a major bike
trail in that city.