Bicyclists Beware, Killing You Is Sort Of Illegal

In a previous post, I asserted that Bremerton was not a bike-friendly town, and was trying to kill me with its hills.

Whatever you do, DO NOT go to South Kitsap on a bike. They kill bicyclists down there and let them off with a slap on the wrist

(Of course, South Kitsap and Bremerton are served by the same courts, which must abide by the Legislature’s sentencing guidelines. So it’s not just SK. And bicyclists and motorcyclists are killed everyday by their own negligence and that of motorists. I’m just saying … )

In a sentence that would be light for killing a hamster, a Bremerton woman without a valid license who had been in several crashes because of vision problems killed a cyclist and got nine months in jail. How much of those nine months she actually serves, I don’t know. Whether it would have stirred more outrage and a harsher sentence if she had been drunk, I don’t know. I also don’t know what her sentencing range was, as it wasn’t included in the stories.

A million months wouldn’t bring the man back, nor would it likely serve as an example to the aggressive and incompetent drivers out there. They don’t care about anything except not having to wake up early and catch a bus.

As for me, give me a crazed, gun-wielding robber any day over a distracted driver. At least with the robber I have a fighting chance. And if I were killed, at least my death would be for a drug addict to get high, not so that a person doesn’t have to waste money on a cab.

Plus, our august lawmakers in Olympia have seen fit to provide stiffer penalties for robbery, so my killer would likely go away for longer than a school year.

Craig Hatt is dead. Whether a selfish person did it accidentally or on purpose is of little importance now.

And his killer will soon be free.

I still plan on riding my bike. Maybe I shouldn’t. It’s like the freakin’ wild west out there, and it seems sort of irresponsible. I have family and friends who love me. It feels like maybe I owe to it them to stay behind the wheel.

11 thoughts on “Bicyclists Beware, Killing You Is Sort Of Illegal

  1. I was in court for this sentencing so maybe I can fill in some of this story. Delores Magnuson took an Alford Plea (does not belive she is guilty but believes a jury will find her so) to Vehicular Homicide-Disregard for the lives and safety of others, no drugs/alcohol. Under that prong the standard sentence is 15-20 months (no priors). She had no prior convictions but it was reported to her insurance company that she had 6 prior collisions related to her vision problems. Her licence had been medically cancelled. The prosecutor and the defense attorney had come to an agreement on the plea to 9 months in jail. Magnuson has many health problems and so the defense attorney asked Judge Hartman to consider screening for jail alternatives (such as electronic home monitoring). Judge Hartman did not hesitate to say NO and sentenced her to 9 months in the county jail followed by 18-36 months of community supervision. There will be no early release so she will do the full 9 months. Standard sentencing for Veh.Hom and Veh.Assault is truly pathetic compared to felony crimes that don’t leave a victim dead or injured. In this case she got a pretty harsh sentence for what its worth. If she had been sentenced to the low end of 15 months to be served in prison (Purdy) she would have been released early, probably at 10 months. 9 months at the County Jail is worse than spending 10 months in Purdy. (Maybe someone will be willing to blog on their expierience at serving time in the jail and Purdy). I have seen offenders WANT prison over the jail quite a few times. Still, a wonderful man was killed because this woman chose to commit the crime of driving without a licence. If you know how many are out there choosing to do the same thing it would make you shudder.

  2. Binion here:

    fed up,

    Thanks for the update.

    It IS scary how many people shouldn’t be on the road who are. And, as I mentioned, no amount of time will undo what she did. I guess what’s odd is that this state sends people to jail for longer for growing pot.

    Take care,

  3. “…I still plan on riding my bike. Maybe I shouldn’t. It’s like the freakin’ wild west out there,…”

    Is a cyclist safer riding daytime or nighttime?
    Because after reading of your night riding adventures I’ve decided to ride at night too…but NOT downtown and your 7-11 store but only because it would take four days of hard riding at 2mph to get there.

    Andy a person has to continue doing whatever you enjoy (or not)…but add extreme caution to the mix. You can’t have too many lights or reflectors and if you don’t have a horn, I’ll send you one if you will use it.
    Its loud enough I must caution you against riding past a cemetery.
    And ride defensively…stop riding and get out of traffic if you must smoke. Anything but do not let yourself get distracted and remain aware.
    Don’t ‘assume’ any driver will do what they should do or their signals show they will do.
    They won’t and a bike is no match for a car.
    Thought provoking article…thanks.
    Sharon O’Hara

  4. I am someone who has been startled to find a bicycle rider in my path. It’s not that I’m not paying attention, it’s just that I’m looking for cars and trucks and the bike rider is way smaller.

    I don’t know of a solution until we can find a way to manufacture better people, who drive smartly and ride bikes smartly.

    My brother sometimes rides a bike during his commute. Knowing how I sometimes don’t “see” bikes as early as I see other vehicles, I worry about him.

  5. Cean…I almost smashed into a motorcycle and rider once. It came out of nowhere and changed my mind about buying one.

    I was actually on my way to Cliff’s to look at motorcycles and thinking of buying one (some forty years ago)

    Oddly enough, drivers give recumbent trikes much more distance and see us faster than the bike rider and we’re much lower but also wider.

    Most ride with extreme caution and light blinking and blazing in the daytime…along with a caution flag. We’re VERY alert and don’t ‘dare’ the drivers but use regard for their right not to be blocked by a bike rider who can’t go faster or without the side of the road space to get off the road itself.

    I don’t know about anyone else but I pull over when I can to let traffic pass. Riding a recumbent trike is a pleasure and I’m in no rush to get a car driver impatient at the slower delay.

    Along with being alert ..the riders have to do all they can to attract attention so drivers can see them… and ride defensively as if the life they save is theirs… it is.

    I think bikers get too caught up in the ‘I have the right of way!” stupidity, not the survivor mentality.
    As I see it… Sharon O’Hara

  6. One bike trip I like to take starts at the Southworth ferry. Take your bike across and ride it up the waterfront, through Lincoln Park, past the saltwater swimming pool. You have a short stretch through a residential neighborhood, but you can ride on the sidewalk. You end up on Alki Beach, where you can play volleyball, eat chowder, or just ride. Then you take the West Seattle ferry to downtown, where you can do just about anything, including continuing north on the trails. Catch the Bremerton ferry back when your legs give out. No roads, no traffic. The Port Orchard city buses have bike racks, so you can take your bike and ride the bus to the Southworth ferry. All transportation fees about $10.

  7. Thanks for the great tip on a lovely ride, a ideal bike route.
    I look forward to riding it.

    A ride I enjoy can start anywhere to the Port Townsend ferry. Early morning -Saturdays- usually means light traffic. On Whidbey wait until the ferry traffic passes then ride around the bay and listen to the waves caress the shore and the slap of the anchored boats against the water and on into Oak Harbor. Fort Ebey State Park and Fort Casey are close and offer miles of safe riding. Riding across the bridge at Deception Pass is an experience too, if you ride that far.

    Sitting on a recumbent trike lets a person sit back and look around and enjoy the ride.
    I’d like to know if the Bremerton city buses have bike racks too…?

  8. Binion here:

    I had said nine months would be light for killing a hamster, this woman was sentenced to nine months for starving horses.

    If our state’s punishments fit the crimes, then humans and horses are about breaking even.

    I covered a case a few years ago where an excon fresh out of prison raped and strangled a 15-year-old girl and got sentenced to 35 years. He’ll be out earlier on good behavior and won’t have to register as a sex offender.

    Feel safer yet?

  9. You know our state punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Someone will yell here but harming animals should carry the same punishment as harming a child.

    Anyone so lacking in compassion for a animal as to starve and mistreat them is capable of doing the same thing to humans. I think something has to be missing in such people.

    If we curl up afraid to do what we want…such monsters have taken over our lives.

    Years ago I volunteered my horse and me to work various places in the Cascades.
    One such time I was told of a church group of kids and adults scheduled to hike up to camp for a few days and asked to observe how things went…as I did with everything and noted in the journal.

    I had a notebook to mark anything of interest and added the group to my comments when they arrived. The adults were friendly, experienced with kids and the outdoors…a good group.

    A little loud but we weren’t in a campground and nobody was disturbed…but made a note of it.

    On the second day some of the kids came running up to tell me a boy had caught a critter (frog?) alive and was pulling the legs/ limbs off and poking sticks in it. I alerted one of the adults and she ran down to take care of it. A saddened group left early.

    I’ve never forgotten that little boy and wondered if/who he harmed as an adult…

    The advantage (used to be) of being high in the Cascades is that the few people I met were pretty much what they seemed.
    They hiked hard long hours to get up there…not criminal types. The criminals cause harm without much effort. They’re lazy and usually don’t go far beyond the trailhead.

    What is safe?
    You need a bike horn. Use it and nobody will come close to you.

  10. Andy…you’re talking about injustice. Are we contacting our legislators to put teeth into sentencing? Are we fed up enough to do something about it…to change the laws or vote in legislators to effectively protect the lives of the innocent people such monsters prey on… ?

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