Blame the victim mentality

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Blame the victim mentality

Postby lturner » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:22 am

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-n ... 6268214466

A MOTHER cycling without a helmet while listening to music has died after being hit by a car.
The 36-year-old woman, from Hillside, was struck while crossing Melton Highway about 6.15am yesterday.
Sgt Kevin Hickson, from Wyndham highway patrol, said it appeared the woman was listening to music as she rode her bike.
"The cyclist wasn't wearing a helmet, there are no lights on the bike," Sgt Hickson said. "We think maybe she may have had ... headphones on. There was a set of headphones with her."
The tragedy happened on the corner of Gourlay Rd and Melton Highway, Hillside. Police are investigating whether the woman was crossing the road against a red light.
"From the witnesses and what we've been told, the light has turned to amber, one driver stopped and one has gone through, and the driver that has gone through has struck the cyclist in the northern lane of Gourlay Rd," Sgt Hickson said.
"At this stage we're just trying to clarify why she was in the intersection when the drivers had ... an amber light. It would appear the cyclist has maybe entered the intersection against the red light."
Sgt Hickson pleaded with cyclists to heed warnings about helmets and lights.
"Helmets save lives, lights save lives. Sometimes you're just lost for words as to why people don't get that," he said. "Some cyclists think that because they're watching they're going to see everything, and that's not the case.
"It's just a sad day, a family has lost a daughter and a child has lost a mum."
The woman was the third cyclist killed on Victorian roads this year.
The accident happened on the same day a grandmother believed to be missing was found in hospital after being hit by a cyclist while walking along the Yarra River.
Victoria's road toll is at 35, 10 more than at the same time last year.


This is a perfect example of the mindless and stupid blame the victim mentality that exists in Australia regarding cycling.

The woman in the above article was killed because she was struck by a 1.5 tonne car probably travelling at 50 or 60km/h, which had gone through an orange light.

And yet the entire thrust of the aricle is that it was her fault and that she was actually killed because she was not wearing a helmet, had no lights, was listening to music.

Now whatever your opinion about helmets, this much is true: there's a very good chance she would have been killed even if she was wearing one. She may have been in exactly the same situation if she had lights. We will never know.

But we certainly know that if the car did not run the orange and mow her down, she would not be dead.

If this had been a pedestrian who was crossing the road, would we say: "Well where was her helmet? Why was she not wearing a light on her body?" No. How does it make any difference that she was on her bike when a car ran into her, rather than on foot?

Sgt Kevin Hickson of the Victorian police pleads with cyclist to take actions to protect themselves from cars. Why is he not pleading with motorists to stop when the lights turn orange? Why is he not pleading with them to drive at a speed so that if the unexpected happens, such as a pedestrian or cyclist appearing out of nowhere, they can stop or avoid them? Why is all the burden of safety placed upon those who are at risk, rather than those who are the source of the risk?
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by BNA » Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:59 am

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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby Oxford » Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:59 am

pretty much agree with you. yesterday coming home I took off at a green light only to have a car go through an obviously long ago turned red light nearly taking me out. where was he going, the railway crossing which had a train going through it. motorists do need to understand their potential for harm.
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Blame the victim mentality

Postby singlespeedscott » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:18 am

How do you know that the car that went through the amber light didn't have an adequate distance to stop safely without causing an accident?
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Blame the victim mentality

Postby gabrielle260 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:25 am

Like lturner, I was concerned with the story. I saw it on the channel 9 news where, to their credit, they finished the story with a mention that residents have been concerned for a long time that too little time was given to pedestrians to cross. Seems there is more to it than the policeman made out! (btw, never thought I would be saying "to their credit" about channel 9's news!)
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby grasshopper » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:55 am

Yes, very poor performance from both papers lt. Megan Levy at The Age even saw fit to mention the 'lycra' without reporting what the driver was wearing. It's reminiscent of the reporting of sex assault victims, reflecting the views of the dominant culture. I also heard Jon Faine agree with some stupid remarks from two of his stupid guests.
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby il padrone » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:08 am

singlespeedscott wrote:How do you know that the car that went through the amber light didn't have an adequate distance to stop safely without causing an accident?

Did you see the photo of the car in the HeraldSun?? Some stereotyping happening here I know, but I kinda doubt (at 6.15am) that the driver was the type to drive conservatively.

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Blame the victim mentality

Postby donncha » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:27 am

Why is it incorrect to blame the cyclist?

It's not illegal to drive through an orange if the driver feels he can't stop safely.

Furthermore, if the light was orange for the driver it had to be RED for the cyclist and it most definitely is illegal to ride through a red.
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby il padrone » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:39 am

Certainly it seems the cyclist broke the road rules (no chance to present her case)*, however it is critical to stress that this does not diminish the driver's responsibility to drive safely. In fact my take on it is that the driver has much greater responsibility to adhere to laws and safe behaviour, due to their greater potential to cause harm to life and limb.

If this had happened in the Netherlands there would be a very different consequence for the driver. I strongly believe this appraoch has much greater safety benefits, for all road users.



* Some have suggested the police should have checked the driver's car boot for her helmet and lights - certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility :idea:
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby CommuRider » Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:09 am

He killed another human being, he took the life of another person, he deprived a mother from her kids.
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby herzog » Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:52 am

lturner wrote:This is a perfect example of the mindless and stupid blame the victim mentality that exists in Australia regarding cycling.

The woman in the above article was killed because she was struck by a 1.5 tonne car probably travelling at 50 or 60km/h, which had gone through an orange light.



Look I understand the point you are trying to make, but to be honest you've chosen a poor example with which to make it.

If the facts are as reported:

She was:
-Riding without lights at 615am
-Wearing headphones
-Not wearing a helmet (not that it would have helped in this type of incident)
-Running a red light on a major multi-lane road.

Whilst clearly still a tragedy, this is extremely poor roadcraft. Hardly a beacon of safety conscious cycling.

If an article written like this scares a few ninja cyclists into lighting up and improving their personal safety practices, it's probably a good thing.
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby Comedian » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:02 am

donncha wrote:Why is it incorrect to blame the cyclist?

It's not illegal to drive through an orange if the driver feels he can't stop safely.

Furthermore, if the light was orange for the driver it had to be RED for the cyclist and it most definitely is illegal to ride through a red.


So... some scenarios... You are driving along and approaching a green light .. .then from the left you see a...

A) Bus entering the intersection from your left.
B) Cyclist entering the intersection from your left.
C) Pedestian walking off the footpath from your left into the intersection.
D) Dog walking off the footpath from your left into the intersection.

What do you do? I sincerely hope your answers would be the same for all. I'm betting that the motorist in question would have had different answers. It is the motorists duty to be observant at all times and to avoid all accidents.
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby trailgumby » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:10 am

It would depend on whether I could do it without putting myself or anyone else at risk. I'm certainly not going to contemplate an escape line that involves crossing the centre line or leaving the road for a dog.
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby damhooligan » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:31 am

herzog wrote:
Look I understand the point you are trying to make, but to be honest you've chosen a poor example with which to make it.

If the facts are as reported:

She was:
-Riding without lights at 615am
-Wearing headphones
-Not wearing a helmet (not that it would have helped in this type of incident)
-Running a red light on a major multi-lane road.
.



headphones are not illegal.
the helmet, altough against the law, did not cause the accident, nor would it likely have changed the outcome.
Not having lights also, against the law, but it did not cause the accident, nor would it likely have changed the outcome.

all these things are pointless to mention, as they did not cause the accident, nor did they change the outcome of it.
You might as wel mention she was wearing lycra.. as that mayby distracted the driver...
Or that she rode unlicensed, as that also contributed...

The key thing here is , did she go trough a red light?
Or did the car go trough a red light.
As this is the cause of the accident.
But yet this is not 100% clear.

And mentioning all the other things, are only there to make the cyclist look more 'guilty', and why ??
Why does all this focus lie on the cyclist, as she is only part of the accident, hardly any mentioning of the car...
All the focus lies on, what could the cyclist have done different to avoid this, but not even one is the question applied to the driver.
what could the driver have done differentyl to avoid this ?, nothing?

Does this mean the driver is the real victim here ??
As he done nothing wrong, but now he has to live with the knowledge he killed someone??
poor driver...
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Blame the victim mentality

Postby ozzymac » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:38 am

I am just wondering how many of us as drivers have actually sped up when you see the light suddenly change to amber or when you are getting close to traffic lights so as not to catch a red one?

And also isn't it daylight now at 6.15am ? It is up here.

And at this stage it is only a suggestion she was listening to music as she had headphones on her.

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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby il padrone » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:43 am

ozzymac wrote:I am just wondering how many of us as drivers have actually sped up when you see the light suddenly change to amber or when you are getting close to traffic lights so as not to catch a red one?

This is actually illegal under the road rules. I have in the past, occasionally done it. Avoid doing so now - I stop if I can, before entering the intersection. It is quite OK to speed up before the lights go amber.


ozzymac wrote:And also isn't it daylight now at 6.15am ? It is up here.

Nope. Daylight savings. Quite dark at that time, sunrise is ~6.45 I think.


ozzymac wrote:And at this stage it is only a suggestion she was listening to music as she had headphones on her.

You are quite correct on this, just "in her possession"
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Blame the victim mentality

Postby ozzymac » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:47 am

il padrone wrote:
ozzymac wrote:I am just wondering how many of us as drivers have actually sped up when you see the light suddenly change to amber or when you are getting close to traffic lights so as not to catch a red one?

This is actually illegal under the road rules. I have in the past, occasionally done it. Avoid doing so now - I stop if I can, before entering the intersection. It is quite OK to speed up before the lights go amber.


ozzymac wrote:And also isn't it daylight now at 6.15am ? It is up here.

Nope. Daylight savings. Quite dark at that time, sunrise is ~6.45 I think.


ozzymac wrote:And at this stage it is only a suggestion she was listening to music as she had headphones on her.

You are quite correct on this, just "in her possession"



That's what I get for living in sunny Queensland, it's light here about 5.30am.

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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby herzog » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:52 am

damhooligan wrote:headphones are not illegal.


Not illegal, but hardly a good personal safety practice in such circumstances, and could have been a factor in the incident as they inherently reduce situational awareness. And that's something you need in spades if you are running red lights on an unlit bike at 615am.

the helmet, altough against the law, did not cause the accident, nor would it likely have changed the outcome.


Agree. But when seen in context of the cyclist's apparent other lack of safety practices does present poorly.

Not having lights also, against the law, but it did not cause the accident, nor would it likely have changed the outcome.


Now I'm not sure how you reached this conclusion? The lack of lights could be a principal factor here.

GIven that the police have said that the person driving was: not speeding, not drunk, and did not run a red light, a very likely cause is that the driver did not see the cyclist (given the early hour).

Surely you've come across ninja cyclists in your travels and know how hard they are to see until the last second. Aushiker from these boards has a great youtube video of this phenomenon.

You might as wel mention she was wearing lycra.. as that mayby distracted the driver...
Or that she rode unlicensed, as that also contributed...


Now this is getting flippant and not helping your argument at all.


And mentioning all the other things, are only there to make the cyclist look more 'guilty', and why ??


What are you saying then - that the Melbourne Age is entering into an anti cyclist conspiracy?

It's no different to when they mention motorists killed or injured in accidents were not wearing seat belts, or where pedestrians hit by traffic had been drinking. Surely you've seen that in the press many times.
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby trailgumby » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:58 am

ozzymac wrote:I am just wondering how many of us as drivers have actually sped up when you see the light suddenly change to amber or when you are getting close to traffic lights so as not to catch a red one?

Have done a few times. Not for many years, though.

In NSW they are gradually converting all red light cameras to "safety cameras" (as though taking someone's picture after the fact improves safety :| ) with speed sensors to catch people doing this.
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby il padrone » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:02 pm

herzog wrote:
damhooligan wrote:You might as wel mention she was wearing lycra.. as that mayby distracted the driver...
Or that she rode unlicensed, as that also contributed...


Now this is getting flippant and not helping your argument at all.

Not at all. Just the sort of thing that was mentioned in the newspaper reports. Why is it relevant what she was wearing? Oh, so we can label her as a lycra lout. :idea:

What was mentioned about the driver? Nothing, not even age or gender.

Makes me wonder about the police actions - what investigation will occur? Is this going to be another like that BMW madam in Hawthorn who doored James Cross and killed him, only to get no charges laid at all, police instructed not to prosecute :?: :x



BTW, epsode two of the Eugene McGee debacle is on this Monday, ABC1 8.00pm
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby il padrone » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:05 pm

trailgumby wrote:In NSW they are gradually converting all red light cameras to "safety cameras" (as though taking someone's picture after the fact improves safety :| ) with speed sensors to catch people doing this.

Catching red-light runners = more drivers make the choice to stop rather than proceed. This improves road safety.
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby Oxford » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:11 pm

donncha wrote:...

Furthermore, if the light was orange for the driver it had to be RED for the cyclist ...

There have been cases where drivers have had red tickets invalidated because the ticketing police made this claim. Green for one direction does not preclude green for another direction that directly conflicts, traffic light technicians have tendered court evidence to this effect. This is why police will usually not ticket red light offences unless they personally (or a member of a team) personally witnesses the red light infraction.

I haven't read everything yet, but was the rider actually riding and not walking the bike? etc etc so many questions and only motorists versions of events.
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby herzog » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:15 pm

il padrone wrote:Makes me wonder about the police actions - what investigation will occur? Is this going to be another like that BMW madam in Hawthorn who doored James Cross and killed him, only to get no charges laid at all, police instructed not to prosecute :?: :x


This case greatly frustrated me too, but I'm a bit uncomfortable that you have brought it up in the context of this thread. Are you trying to say that this incident is similar? That is a stretch, and a great disservice to James Cross - in his case he was doing nothing wrong and had no chance to avoid what happened. Please tell me you aren't putting his case in the same boat as red light running ninja cycling?
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby il padrone » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:22 pm

I am questioning the impartiality and depth of the police investiation. Relevant here in the context of the reported police statements. The comparison is valid with the case of James Cross (not prosecuted) and the case of Ian Humphries/Eugene McGee (police inaction).

Red-light running ninjas (if that is actually what this lycra-wearing lady was :? ) still have the right to life, and investigation of the real reasons for their death.
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby jules21 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:24 pm

this case appears, on the basis of evidence presented in the article, to perhaps have been the result of two road users being careless:
1. a cyclist doing everything wrong, particularly sailing through a red light (maybe), and
2. a driver charging through an amber light, without checking for hazards in or approaching the intersection.

speculation of course, but it seems quite possible the cyclist substantially contributed to her own fate.
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Re: Blame the victim mentality

Postby Kraeg » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:35 pm

il padrone wrote:What was mentioned about the driver? Nothing, not even age or gender.


23. Home town was mentioned as well. Not gender from what I have read, nor parental status.
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