Did a car horn kill Erica Abbott?

From the New York Daily News:

[29 year old Erica] Abbott suddenly lost her balance … after a car horn honked and she turned her head, witnesses said.

The cyclist, who was wearing a helmet, fell toward traffic and a 2002 Mercedes-Benz ran her over, police and witnesses said.

This is horrible. Please don’t honk your horn around cyclists. In every state, including New York, horn honking is legal only for safety reasons, not to express road raging inanities (yet another law scofflaw motorists can routinely break and get away with!). Condolences to Abbott’s loved ones.

More –> 29-year-old cyclist dies after getting run over by car near Brooklyn home.

8 Comments

  • September 1, 2011 - 12:10 am | Permalink

    So sad. Some asshat honked at me this morning for no reason. And like Abbott I turned and swerved a little to the left. Thankfully I wasn’t hit.

  • September 1, 2011 - 2:04 am | Permalink

    the worst ones are the ones who hold down the horn while they switch lanes to pass you…

  • Tony Bullard
    September 1, 2011 - 1:57 pm | Permalink

    This won’t be a popular opinion, but while honking at cyclists is stupid, i don’t think we can blame horn honking on someone’s death. 

    In the same way that I expect drivers to be able to pilot their vehicles safely in the normal conditions of this world, I  expect cyclists to be able to pilot their vehicles safely in the normal conditions of this world. Horns get honked in traffic. It’s not rare at all. If you can’t drive your bike safely in reaction to a horn honk, you probably shouldn’t be on the road. I’m a daily commuter, I’ve been hit by a car and sent to the hospital in an Ambulance, but I still believe you can’t just blame cars for everything. 

    This is tragic, there’s no arguing that. But we can’t blame cars every single time a cyclist is killed. 

  • Ron Georg
    September 1, 2011 - 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I think you’re missing the point.  It’s illegal for a reason–a loud noise can startle other road users.  It should be reserved for emergencies.  There is no reason a 120 decibel sonic blast should be considered a normal driving condition. A sudden noise like that provokes an instinctive response, not one a person can control.

    And, on a similar topic, who had the genius idea of using the horn to let people know they’ve successfully locked their doors with a remote?  Anyone who’s ever had the experience of walking past an otherwise dormant parked car which suddenly bleats can attest that horns are startling.

    Aside from the safety issue, this is just another way we’ve simply accepted the tyranny of the automobile, with all its obnoxious sounds, smells and manners.  We shouldn’t tolerate noise pollution any more than other types.

  • eric
    September 1, 2011 - 7:57 pm | Permalink

    A simple solution is for cyclists to stick to the bike trails and off the streets. A bicycle is never going to win a collision with a car. Its sad this girl died, dont get me wrong, but blaming car horns, whether or not it was appropriate to use it or not, cant be blamed. If that girl was so jumpy she never should have gotten on the road to begin with.

  • eric
    September 1, 2011 - 7:57 pm | Permalink

    A simple solution is for cyclists to stick to the bike trails and off the streets. A bicycle is never going to win a collision with a car. Its sad this girl died, dont get me wrong, but blaming car horns, whether or not it was appropriate to use it or not, cant be blamed. If that girl was so jumpy she never should have gotten on the road to begin with.

  • September 1, 2011 - 10:23 pm | Permalink

    I have feeling it’s illegal more from a noise ordinance POV than any respect for non-drivers.
    I see your point as far as the tyranny of car acceptance, however its also the real world. We shouldn’t tolerate surfaces that will scratch us when we fall in them, but this is the real world, and its paved with asphalt. We can fight car tyranny now, but acting like there’s nothing we can do to prepare ourselves for the tyranny at hand is just irresponsible.

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    September 2, 2011 - 11:00 am | Permalink

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