The Invisible Biker

November 4, 2008

All Posts, News

A biker named Joseph Diehl was run over two days ago by an automobile driver in Terre Haute, Indiana.  The driver did not see him.

It is a ridiculously common story.  It happens all the time.  Automobile drivers who claim motorcyclists are invisible cause at least a dozen accidents a day.

Diehl’s Accident

In this case Diehl was legally stopped at Prairieton Road and West Voorhees Street in Terre Haute when he was struck by a man named Kent Barker.  Barker is probably a perfectly decent guy who does not deserve to be lynched or run over in return.  Accidents happen.

Barker said this accident happened because he was “blinded” by the sun.  Diehl was thrown from the bike, and taken to Regional Hospital where he remains in “stable” condition.

Accident or not, inhabitants of a reasonable world might expect the motorist to be cited.  He was not.  The biker was cited for not having proof of insurance.

So now Diehl has to figure out how to pay for his hospital bills, pay for fixing his bike and then he can pay the state of Indiana.

Loud Obnoxious Bikers

People who don’t get it often think of bikers-with their loud pipes, leather and dangerous demeanor-as being exhibitionists who are constantly telling the world, “Look at me!”  They’re right and what happened to Joseph Diehl is the reason why.

Still, it could have been much worse for Diehl.

Last June, about 160 miles north of Terre Haute in suburban Chicago, a guy named Paul Booth crashed his minivan into a Harley Fat Boy ridden by Scott Hinshaw.  Booth, who failed to yield at the intersection of Wolf Road and 183rd Street in Orland Park was indisputably at fault.

Hiushaw, 43, left behind a widow, a nephew and a thousand fond memories.  The collision was so catastrophic that almost every bone in Hinshaw’s body was broken and he was pronounced Dead On Arrival at St. James Hospital.

The Law

Booth, 44, was cited for the usual charge when a motorist kills a biker which is “failure to yield.”  To cite a famous example, when Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tee-boned a car in 2006 after the car unexpectedly turned in front of him of him without signaling that motorist was cited for failure to yield.

After killing Hinshaw, Booth faced a possible fine of $500.  He fought the ticket and eventually, on October 8, he was found guilty by Illinois Judge Thomas Murphy.  Murphy then fined Booth $100.  Judge Murphy did not even bother to tell Booth not to do it again.

The Chicago Sun-Times took a look at Booth’s fine and found “dozens of similar cases” that “met with similar outcomes because the law makes it extremely difficult to prove charges of reckless homicide.”

“There was no alcohol involved, and the guy said he didn’t see him,” Orland Park Police spokesman Chuck Doll told the Sun-Times.  “It was an accident, and under those circumstances we don’t refer cases to the state’s attorney-that’s the way the statute is written, and there’s nothing else we can do.”

So remember that.  They do not see you.  They do not have to see you.  Be sure you see them.  And when you do, feel free to act like a dangerous asshole.  Sometimes that makes them hesitate.

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3 Responses to “The Invisible Biker”

  1. ALLIED Says:

    I know Kent Barker and he has been building and riding bikes since he was a kid. So, if he said he didn’t see Diehl then he didn’t see him.

  2. Rebel Says:

    I apologize if I have been unfair to Kent Barker. I don’t know him and as I said, in this piece, he is probably a perfectly decent guy. Accidents happen. He probably feels bad about hitting a guy. And, if you cannot see where you are going you should stop. In some jurisdictions, Barker would be cited for something like uncareful operation and then his insurance company would be liable for Diehl’s hospital and bike repair bills. Feel free to disagree with me anytime.
    your pal,

  3. I got a Steelers Ben Roethlisberger Jersey Says:

    I am a Steelers fan from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
    I really liked your blog with the Steelers mentioned item. I grew up watching Franco Harris and Lynn Swann.
    I try to follow as much NFL news as I can with the internet.

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