Mean Streets: Charges Rare In Bicycle Crashes


A new study ranks Louisville, with surrounding counties in Kentucky and Indiana, 23rd among the nation’s most dangerous places for pedestrians, says the Louisville Courier-Journal. The list includes 50 areas with populations of more than 1 million. The ranking is part of the “Mean Streets” report of the Surface Transportation Policy Project, a coalition trying to improve the nation’s transportation system.

Problems in the Louisville area range from a lack of sidewalks and bicycle lanes to an attitude among drivers that they rule the streets and roads. Between Jan. 1, 2003 and Oct. 31, 2004, 27 people died and 646 were injured in 683 pedestrian crashes in Louisville. In the same period, there were 289 crashes involving bicyclists. Two people died and 245 were injured. Lt. Kelly Jones, who heads the Louisville police traffic division, said that bicycle-motor vehicle crashes rarely result in criminal charges, in part because of the difficulty in amassing the proof needed for criminal charges. “Having an accident with a bike or a pedestrian is not in and of itself a criminal action,” said Bill Patteson, a spokesman for Jefferson County Attorney Irv Maze. Intent and gross negligence are determining factors, he said.


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