Midweek carnage

This morning, we receive news from Palo Alto, CA of a mother who was seriously injured after she was hit by a juvenile driving a car in a residential neighborhood.

Elsewhere today: Sedan into the back of a big rig on I-5 near Orland, CA results in driver fatality.


  • Very confusing set of dispatches of a crash on Highway 1 near the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA is coded as a fatality, but I can’t find a news report of this one. If you’d like to try to decode the dispatches, the chronology is bottom to top and begins “XRAY IS CLIMBING OO VEH” which is cop slang for “women is climbing out of vehicle.” From there, we have reports of tow trucks and fire engines stuck in traffic and, eventually, a request for evidence tow.
  • Rollover crash in Half Moon Bay claims a life. This is the third automobile fatality on Highway 1 between Half Moon Bay and Devil’s Slide in two weeks.

Sunday: Oakland man fatally struck in Gilroy, CA.

Saturday: Car vs tree on San Tomas Expressway near Moorpark in San Jose, CA last Saturday results in driver fatality.



  • Monterey County attorney seeks witnesses in their investigation of a man who ran over and killed two women on foot on East Laurel Drive last November. This was a hit and run with suspected DUI.
  • Can you obey traffic laws better than a fifth grader? Tell me if this makes any sense. The city of Berkeley plans to reduce speed limits around school zones to improve safety. Berkeley police say this won’t work because adult drivers are an unruly, unmanageable lot who don’t obey speed limits. They claim instead that children should learn how to behave better around cars.
  • We have these “Drive like your kids live here” signs in Santa Cruz, too. Watch this outstanding report from walnut Creek by Stanley Roberts:

  • Nobody seems to know about this so I’ll repeat it: Santa Cruz DA investigating the Highway 1 fatality of cyclist Joshua Alper. “High priority case,” says county attorney Bob Lee.
  • Let’s wrap things up with this unbelievable story of a teen who killed four pedestrians and was let go because of “affluenza.”

    Sixteen-year-old Ethan Couch admitted to four counts of manslaughter after he and seven other boys stole alcohol from Walmart, piled into his car and struck and killed four pedestrians while going 70 miles per hour in a 40 zone. One of his passengers remains in the hospital with severe brain damage, and nine other bystanders were also injured.

    Couch’s defense was that he was a victim of his parents’ wealth and privilege; in that he never had to face consequences.

    The judge — with no apparent irony — agreed with the boy’s defense.


  1. Since, in a battle between car and tree, the tree always wins, does that suggest cars should be banned from roads with trees? How do you do an emoticon for “tongue in cheek?”

  2. Federal Highway Administration says:

    Trees are the single most commonly struck objects in serious roadside collisions. Crash severity is closely correlated with speed. High-speed roads and highways should have clear zones free of trees and other fixed object hazards.

    Road agencies have a responsibility to maintain regular vegetation control programs to prevent growth of trees and vegetation by the roadside that can become a safety hazard. Uncontrolled vegetation may make it difficult for drivers who leave the roadway to regain control of their vehicle.

    In other words, the trees and other vegetation are at fault and should be banned not only from the roadway, but from the vicinity of the roadway.

  3. Especially in recent times, I’m seeing more and more FOCUS on “CARNAGE”.

    My question is, Are you changing the FOCUS of your site FROM “Bikes and The Joys of Cycling” TO “Death & Destruction” (and “don’t ride, you’ll die on the road”)?

    Are you trying to discourage us from cycling by instilling FEAR & DREAD into us? I’m just trying to understand where you’re intending to takes us with this sudden obsession with “CARNAGE”: Or where you’re taking yourself.

    I’m not saying we’re doing anything wrong here, I’m just saying we need to be keenly aware of what it is, exactly, we are doing. So again, I guess I’m just asking: “What are we doing here?”


  4. I’m glad you asked about this. My carnage articles are precisely to highlight the danger of using automobiles and to counter the constant claim of danger in cycling. You’ll note the majority of California fatalities reported here are motor vehicle occupants.

    I use Stanley Roberts’ videos to demonstrate that scofflaw behavior on the roads is not limited to cyclists but is a universal.

  5. I appreciate it, Richard. It provides a useful perspective in contrast to the blogs that focus so much on cycling deaths.

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