In the fall of 2008, a young man was traveling across C street at 40th Avenue in Midtown early in the morning. He was struck and killed by an SUV. At the time Anchorage Police Department said the bicyclist, Jonathon Johnson, was not wearing reflective clothing and that dark road conditions were a factor. While that may (or may not) be so, it clearly isn’t the whole story and highlights how bicyclists are quickly assumed to be in the wrong. The driver of the SUV was just indicted on charges of manslaughter and driving under the influence for striking and killing Jonathon Johnson.
Arecent study noted that motorists are responsible for 90% of bike-car collisions. Yet the initial headlines when Jonathon was killed immediately assumed the opposite. The tragedy that took the life of Jonathon Johnson could have been avoided. Surely more details of the incident will come to light (like the recently released news that Jonathan had the green light and the driver of the SUV ran the red). But it appears that an inattentive distracted driver, who allegedly was driving under the influence of narcotics, violated her legal and social responsibilities when she got behind the wheel and failed to pay due attention to her surroundings. While some may attribute this incident to someone under the influence it is worth highlighting that texting has been found to be more dangerous than driving drunk. Inattentive drivers pose a great peril to bicyclists and pedestrians. Hopefully this will highlight why it is so important to be attentive while driving. You can read the ADN story here.