Saturday, August 22, 2009

Second man dies in Wednesday bicycle crashes

A Lowell man died Thursday of head injuries he sustained in a bicycle accident Wednesday in that city, authorities said. He is the second Massachusetts man to die after being hit by a car while cycling that day.

Aaron B. Shickman, 41, was struck on his bike by a sport utility vehicle on Middlesex Street. He was not wearing a helmet, Lowell Police said.

An 18-year-old Lowell woman driving a 1999 Ford Explorer hit him near the intersection with Pawtucket Street at about 1:35 p.m.

About three hours earlier in Marshfield, a 69-year-old Marshfield man was killed when a sedan struck him while he was crossing Dyke Road on his bike. Authorities today identified the victim as Richard Campbell.

A woman in her 20s struck Campbell, who was not wearing a helmet, near Green Harbor Marina, police said.

Neither of the drivers' names in the two incidents has been released because police are still investigating. Charges have not been filed in either incident.

Source: The Boston Globe-MetroDesk by Jack Nicas/ photo from

Few options for victim of bicycle hit-'n'-run

MONTREAL – When a cyclist skidded into Léna Chabot while she was walking on Mount Royal, leaving her with cracked ribs, bruises and cuts in the shape of a bicycle chain, she was incredulous. She also soon discovered that as a victim of such an incident, she is nearly powerless.

“He said, ‘I’m sorry,’ ” Chabot, 26, recalled of being crashed into from behind on Aug. 3 on a crowded Olmstead Rd., the wide, gravel path that curves up the mountain.

“I was hysterical. I was screaming at him, saying, ‘You were going way too fast. You could have killed me.’ He was bleeding a bit, but he didn’t get hit by the bike like I did.”

The cyclist, who was sporting an iPod, wouldn’t give Chabot his name. “He was gone in about two minutes.”

In a city where cyclists and pedestrians are crossing paths more and more, Chabot was shocked to discover she couldn’t even ask police to look for the cyclist as a hit-and-run offender as they would had a motorist hit her.

That’s because while those helming cars, motorcycles mopeds, boats and planes are covered in the federal Criminal Code section dealing with hit-and-runs, cyclists are not.

“It added insult to injury,” said Chabot, a law-school graduate who plans to specialize in civil or commercial law.

“I’m not that badly hurt. What if someone is really badly hurt by a cyclist?” she said. “It’s very hard to pursue a cyclist for civil damages since he’s not obliged to stay at the scene of an accident.”

In an Aug. 10 letter to federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, Chabot asked: “What message is sent out to negligent cyclists with no empathy?” Sections 249 and 252 of the Criminal Code should be amended to include bicycles, Chabot suggested to the minister.

On Friday, an aide to Nicholson said an answer to Chabot hadn’t been formulated yet.

But Montreal police Constable Nathalie Valois, of the traffic and road safety division, said changing the federal hit-and-run law would be “almost useless,” since bicycles aren’t required to have licences, and fleeing cyclists aren’t as easy to spot as cars.

Police don’t even keep track of how many pedestrians are hit by cyclists, she noted.

“We take it down as an incident,” Valois said. “It’s like if a person hit their head while rollerskating. These events are in a big category labelled ‘Other.’ They’re accidents.”

If the Chabot collision had occurred on a street, police might have gone after the cyclist using the Quebec Highway Safety Code, Valois said. Article 327 forbids any speeding likely to imperil someone’s life or safety. That offence could result in a $300 fine and four demerit points.

Of course, that’s only if cops could apprehend the cyclist.

Pedestrians hit by bicycles are also out of luck if they seek victim compensation.

“We only compensate victims of accidents with vehicles that require a licence and registration,” said Audrey Chaput, spokesperson for the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec. That excludes bicycles, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and electric bicycles, some of which look like mopeds and can weigh 100 kilograms, yet can only go as fast as 32 kilometres per hour.

Claude Fabien, 66, a recently-retired Université de Montréal law professor, said it’s time the SAAQ considered compensation for pedestrians and cyclists who are hit by bicycles.

“The paradox is that cyclists and pedestrians hit by motor vehicles can get compensated, but if they are hit by a bicycle, they get zero.”

On the de Maisonneuve Blvd. bicycle path Friday, pedestrians and cyclists alike said that sharing the roadway is less about any law than about common decency.

“I’m stressed just heading up to Sherbrooke St.,” said Alexia Maschowsky, 25, as she rode a Bixi rental bicycle. “Drivers just don’t care and they drive so close they push cyclists to the side. Sometimes I have no choice but to ride on the sidewalk.”

Jackie, a pedestrian in her 40s who would only give her first name, said stiffer laws aren’t the answer.

“It’s more about being aware of what you’re doing and looking both ways. Just be conscious.”

Source: The Montreal Gazzette- by Max Harrold

Friday, August 21, 2009

South Western Australia in Pictures

pinjarra-williams road

boat harbour at Emu Point

bike lane along Middleton Beach

The Gap

at The Gap

The Natural Bridge

The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

The Staff Quarters at the lighthouse

View of Perth City from Kings Park

The road at Kings Park

Sunset at Scarborough Beach

at City Beach

at Cottesloe Beach

at Cottesloe Beach

at City Beach

at City Beach

at City Beach

at North Beach

at Waterman Beach

at Waterman Beach

at Hillarys

South Western Australia

In my opinion, the Great Southern region is the best part of Western Australia- from Perth to Albany to Cape Leeuwin & Fremantle.

I drove from Perth International Airport to Albany via Mandurah, Pinjarra-Williams road & Albany Highway. Albany is a picturesque small town with a population of 35,000 located at the Southern Coast about 400km from of Perth. It used to be the whaling station in the 50's but already closed operation since 1979.

I have been there back in 2003 but this time I brought my bike along. It is so easy with the folding bike. Setting up my bike was so easy- Take it out from bag bike, unfold the bike, fix the pedal, lube the chain, fix the bar bag, adjust the mirror & brakes - all in less than 10 minutes.

My Speed P3 is on the heavy side because the frame is made of chromoly. It weighed 17kg with the bag but still less that the baggage allowance given by the airlines.

There are extensive cycling network in Albany. I rode on the bike lane along the Middleton Beach and Marine Drive (overlooking the Vancouver peninsula) and finally climb up the short but steep Apex Drive to the Desert Mounted Corp memorial on Mt Clarence.

Cape Leeuwin near Augusta is another favourite place of mine. There is a lighthouse on the headland of the cape. It is considered as a point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean. I love the lighthouse as well as the landscape surrounding the cape. very dramatic!

In Perth, I rode around Kings Park- on the main road & the bush trail. At 11am in Winter, the weather was nice as was sunny but very cooling. The speed limit of 40km/h allow us the cyclist to ride with pece of mind. Futhermore, the view of Perth City, the Swan River and the busy traffic on Kwinana Highway is awesome.

And finally- The Sunset Coast! I stayed at Scarborough facing the Indian Ocean. It was windy- super windy, the waves were big & strong- the scenery were breahtaking! I rode from my apartment at Scarborough to Cottlesloe beach to Hillarys and back to Scarborough via the Cycling Lane... Fantastic!

Enjoy the rest of the photos in my next posting.

Established in December 2006