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  1. #1
    Unhinged Aussie on a 29er
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    S.F. bicyclist to be tried for gross vehicular manslaughter

    S.F. bicyclist to be tried for gross vehicular manslaughter - latimes.com

    The case itself is pretty much a slam dunk for whether the cyclist was acting in ways not consistent with what "a reasonably careful person" would do (the usual phrasing in Washington's laws around negligence).

    Normally I wouldn't post this in the commuting section, but as someone that has to ride through the city on my commutes (and I expect a good number of us do), sometimes at high speed, I thought this worth looking at.

    Personally, I doubt this will go through the full court case; I think he'll plea bargain for a lesser charge.

  2. #2
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    Yes, and as expected the articles comments section has become a rant board for the bike haters. I commented. This guy needs to be punished for being an idiot. I love how the anti bike crowd jumps in and starts with the comments like "take out a few bikers" and "Tax them" crap.
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  3. #3
    weirdo
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    Hope they lynch him.
    Recalculating....

  4. #4
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    I'd just hope that he's treated no differently than a reckless driver who kills someone would be. I bet it's tough to find a jury of 12 people who aren't unreasonably biased (nevermind crazily, irrationally, viciously biased) against cyclists.

  5. #5
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    Wow, the dude was on the Stanford Cycling Team.

    Ex-Stanford Team Cyclist Faces Felony in Pedestrian
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  6. #6
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    Here's a link that has the (now deleted) stuff he wrote online on the day of the accident. Dude had no regard for anyone's safety. He was trying for a personal best on a Strava segment. He was more proud of his helmet than his was worried about the guy he hit.

    Who creates and/or races a Strava segment that includes street lights in a busy city? Wow.

    Cyclist Who Struck Pedestrian At Castro: "I Just Plowed Through The Crowded Crosswalk": SFist
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  7. #7
    Master of the Face Plant
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    I think this guy needs some serious jail time for sure. But what really concerns me is the anti-bike sentiment in the comments section. Several people calling for "taking cyclists out" and "shooting bike messengers" Seems like people have alot of irrational hate. I don't understand it.
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  8. #8
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    ^^ I just wish the guy who killed the cyclist who sounds like he was hitting him on purpose would have gotten the same treatment as this cyclist.

    Purposeful assault or reckless disregard come up equal in my book.

    BrianMc

  9. #9
    No Stranger to danger....
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    This clown needs to go to jail.
    His stupid and selfish actions have taken away a mans life and left his wife without a husband.
    Its cyclists like this that when they are assulted for their actions everybody cries fowl, this guy needed his lights punched out.
    Id be more than happy to see a 10 year plus sentence handed down on this fool..
    Its a real pity that an angry mob wasnt there to give home street justice that he couldnt recover from.
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  10. #10
    No Stranger to danger....
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    OMG, ive just read the cyclists blog posted above that he wrote after the crash on a bike forum.
    just disgraceful, after knowing full well the man he hit was in hospital, in an incident he is selfishly boasting and talking lightly about, he dedicates the day to his helmet and said refering to his helmet ''she died a sad death'' WTF this blog needs a very long time in jail and to have his ass kicked.

    There are plenty of cyclists like this around and plenty in syd city, these guys need a real good bashing to wake them up..
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  11. #11
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    Anyone know what the typical sentence is for vehicular manslaughter?

    Me quickly googling "average sentence for drunk driving manslaughter" gives hits with 3 years, 5 years, or "Up to 1 year county jail, or 4,6 or 10 years state prison."

  12. #12
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    Share the roads means share the laws.
    If driving recklessly kills somebody then the the driver would get charged with a felony.
    Then so should a cyclist.

    We can't pick and choose which laws we think apply to us and and which ones do not.


    That being said, the idea of needing a tag, license and insurance for a bike is ridiculous.
    1) Especially in a city like San Fran you need more people riding bikes.
    There is limited parking to begin with and it is already WAY overpriced.
    2) Kids all over the country would no longer be able to ride bikes.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  13. #13
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    I agree, this dirtbag needs to be severely punished. Just like when a motorist hits a bike or a pedestrian. I am just a little shocked to find so many likes on the anti bike posts in the comments. I mean, the guy saying bike messengers should be shot got 57 likes. I was not aware there was so much anti biker sentiment. Makes me a little nervous now that I commute daily.
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  14. #14
    Rogue Exterminator
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    When I lived in the bay area, it didn't seem to be so harsh to bicyclists.
    I live in the Asheville NC area now and people seem to be in favor of bike commuters.

    Animosity seems to go to all the people on scooters since many of them are drunks (which is why they are called liquorcycles and duicycles) and in NC there is a ton of them.
    Also there is some animosity towards road bikers (not commuters). However, that is more due to it being very mountainous and twisty where it makes it hard to pass sometimes and you get stuck behind them moving 5 mph.

    Problem is there are a few bike commuters that feel the laws don't apply to them and people only notice those. They may see 1 or 2 idiots a week and tag the whole group this way. They don't realize that for every idiot they see, the passed 100 cyclists that they never even noticed.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  15. #15
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    Re: S.F. bicyclist to be tried for gross vehicular manslaughter

    I agree that cyclists and motorists should be treated equally when they kill people. Around here, a motorist killing a cyclist or pedestrian is unlikely to even lose his driver's license, let alone do time.

  16. #16
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    True, the anti bike crowd are calling for this guys head on a plate but there was a young girl here who killed a father of 2 or 3 when she flipped her car onto a bike path that is separated from the highway and she ended up with a 1 year suspended sentence with three years probation. So basically no jail time as long as she does not break the law for 3 years. How is that any different?
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  17. #17
    jrm
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    There was a previous bike/ped death on embarcadero a year ago and that cyclist walked. This guys getting throttled b/c of his behavior prior to hitting/killing the ped. SF gate said he was doing roughly 35 mph in a 25 zone in morning rush hour traffic.

  18. #18
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Outlaw Strava!
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    And then we eat them."

  19. #19
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandmangts View Post
    How is that any different?
    No difference if she was going almost half again the speed limit and had just blown a series of stops, then gave some flippant remark in the aftermath that indicated more remorse for the damage to her trusty car than for the guy she wiped out. If that`s the case, my opinion is that she was seriously under-sentenced.
    Recalculating....

  20. #20
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    S.F. bicyclist to be tried for gross vehicular manslaughter

    IMO, penalties should automatically reflect a differential in the capability to cause harm by the at-fault party. So a bike-ped case like this would have a high differential based on speed differential. Car-bike or car-ped would be higher still because of speed and mass differential.

    Parties responsible for a death should be hung to dry if they are at fault. Mandatory prison time. Make it really hurt if you cannot drive or ride your bicycle safely.

    But this would even assume that everyone was currently given equal penalties for causing a death or serious injury. That needs to happen first. Too many drivers get off light for killing or injuring a cyclist. They need to be held responsible for not paying attention.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    No difference if she was going almost half again the speed limit and had just blown a series of stops, then gave some flippant remark in the aftermath that indicated more remorse for the damage to her trusty car than for the guy she wiped out. If that`s the case, my opinion is that she was seriously under-sentenced.
    Good point, not sure if that was the case because her identity was protected because she is a minor. After reading his comments you are absolutely right. Reminds me of a video I saw of a lady in a BMW who struck a scooter while running a light. She got out and the first thing she did was check the damage to her car. She paid no attention to the rider laying in the road. People like this need lots of jail time.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    IMO, penalties should automatically reflect a differential in the capability to cause harm by the at-fault party.
    I was wondering about that.

    I'm not a lawyer, but anyone getting into a car should know that they could easily kill someone.
    Getting on a bike though, I'm not so sure how apparent that is? What about a skateboard? What if someone is jogging really fast, and they knock over a pedestrian who dies?

    Should the likely relative lethality of the act have an impact on sentencing? If you shoot someone with a bb gun and they die, should the punishment be the same as if you use a .38?

  23. #23
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    to kill someone with a bb gun, you'd have to be either damn unlucky or a really f'n good shot.

    with regards to relative differential of the capability to cause harm, it's pretty simple, really. if you're on a skateboard zooming downhill on a crowded sidewalk and you cream a ped who hits their head and subsequently dies (or not...maybe they are simply injured), the skateboarder was being negligent in the way they were riding. if found guilty, sentencing should reflect that. IMO, sentencing on these kinds of issues is too light.

    and it's all brought down by the fact that oftentimes, the at-fault party gets off because the defense manages to place enough blame on the dead/injured party. usually, it is assumed that the dead person screwed up unless proven otherwise when IMO, it should be that the dead person didn't do anything wrong until proven otherwise.

    these kinds of cases should be considered two-fold.

    1. Did the suspect cause injury/kill the other person?
    2. If proven yes, there should be an automatic minimum penalty unless mitigating circumstances prove otherwise.

    For example, a ped was killed on a local freeway recently by a young driver. Witness statements indicate the ped was standing in the middle of the freeway and the driver was unable to get away. Sounds like a suicide case to me. The driver will not be prosecuted for that. And rightfully so. But a driver who "didn't see" the cyclist who was otherwise riding within the law should not get off because they "didn't see" a cyclist as commonly happens. If the proof exists that the car hit the bike (witnesses, paint transfer, car damage, etc), then that driver should be automatically held liable with a painful penalty so that driver knows that it is their responsibility to LOOK for cyclists and peds and others who are smaller, slower, and may take up less of their visual field and that if visibility is otherwise impaired, they need to slow the f down.

    I know that the law in most cases is not strong enough hold people accountable when it's shown that their actions in a car or a bike result in someone else's injury or death. I would posit the example of construction and emergency workers. Construction zones have signs emphasizing the stiffer penalties for hitting/injuring construction workers. There are also signs about moving over or slowing down for stopped emergency vehicles because of the number of police officer deaths because they were hit during a traffic stop. Why stop there? Make those laws apply to ANYONE traveling slower than you or who is more vulnerable.

  24. #24
    weirdo
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    I hadn`t thought before about diferential between people/skateboarders/ cement trucks before in the context of how guilty it makes somebody. I guess there`s some sense to that though because more potential for damage merits more caution.

    For me, the amount of "evilness" involved is usually what determines whether it registers as just sad or makes me irate. On one end of the scale, just plain bad luck with nobody really to blame, moving up through a momentary lapse of judgement or attention, then ongoing recklessness or blatant disreguard, finally intentional actions.

    Run over by somebody looking for a street sign, momentary lapse (still at fault, but deserving of a little leniency). This guy in SF didn`t give a rat`s hiny about other people around him, blatant disreguard- he needs to go away for a long time. That ER doc who liked brake checking cyclists down in SoCal a few years ago comes to mind for intentional evil, though he ended up in jail before he managed to kill anybody. In my mind, that`s the same thing as a sniper on a rooftop.
    Last edited by rodar y rodar; 03-09-2013 at 07:36 PM.
    Recalculating....

  25. #25
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    S.F. bicyclist to be tried for gross vehicular manslaughter

    Oh I also support stiffening penalties when malice and complete disregard for others is involved too. But I think more onus needs to be put on people to be careful and pay attention.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    to kill someone with a bb gun, you'd have to be either damn unlucky or a really f'n good shot.

    with regards to relative differential of the capability to cause harm, it's pretty simple, really. if you're on a skateboard zooming downhill on a crowded sidewalk and you cream a ped who hits their head and subsequently dies (or not...maybe they are simply injured), the skateboarder was being negligent in the way they were riding. if found guilty, sentencing should reflect that. IMO, sentencing on these kinds of issues is too light.

    and it's all brought down by the fact that oftentimes, the at-fault party gets off because the defense manages to place enough blame on the dead/injured party. usually, it is assumed that the dead person screwed up unless proven otherwise when IMO, it should be that the dead person didn't do anything wrong until proven otherwise.

    these kinds of cases should be considered two-fold.

    1. Did the suspect cause injury/kill the other person?
    2. If proven yes, there should be an automatic minimum penalty unless mitigating circumstances prove otherwise.

    For example, a ped was killed on a local freeway recently by a young driver. Witness statements indicate the ped was standing in the middle of the freeway and the driver was unable to get away. Sounds like a suicide case to me. The driver will not be prosecuted for that. And rightfully so. But a driver who "didn't see" the cyclist who was otherwise riding within the law should not get off because they "didn't see" a cyclist as commonly happens. If the proof exists that the car hit the bike (witnesses, paint transfer, car damage, etc), then that driver should be automatically held liable with a painful penalty so that driver knows that it is their responsibility to LOOK for cyclists and peds and others who are smaller, slower, and may take up less of their visual field and that if visibility is otherwise impaired, they need to slow the f down.

    I know that the law in most cases is not strong enough hold people accountable when it's shown that their actions in a car or a bike result in someone else's injury or death. I would posit the example of construction and emergency workers. Construction zones have signs emphasizing the stiffer penalties for hitting/injuring construction workers. There are also signs about moving over or slowing down for stopped emergency vehicles because of the number of police officer deaths because they were hit during a traffic stop. Why stop there? Make those laws apply to ANYONE traveling slower than you or who is more vulnerable.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with this. Take the cyclist recently killed in Wellesley, MA by the tractor trailer. The driver claimed he didn't see the cyclist and didn't now he hit and killed him. There was video of it happening proving the cyclist did nothing wrong as well as witnesses testifying it was the truck driver's fault. Additionally, the truck driver had a terrible driving record with several infractions, yet "I didn't see him" was an acceptable excuse according to the jury to acquit the driver. Tell me this, how is someone who drives professionally able to claim "I didn't see him" and have people accept that as an excuse? It's a scary world we live in that you can just not see people while driving and have others think that's okay.

  27. #27
    Unhinged Aussie on a 29er
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    Who creates and/or races a Strava segment that includes street lights in a busy city? Wow.
    I create segments there, but they're private ones. There are a few where you have to be exceedingly lucky to get the lights, and others where it's just impossible due to the programming. Well, I guess an ambulance could be switching the lights for you, but that's exceedingly unlikely.

    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    I was wondering about that.

    I'm not a lawyer, but anyone getting into a car should know that they could easily kill someone.
    Getting on a bike though, I'm not so sure how apparent that is? What about a skateboard? What if someone is jogging really fast, and they knock over a pedestrian who dies?

    Should the likely relative lethality of the act have an impact on sentencing? If you shoot someone with a bb gun and they die, should the punishment be the same as if you use a .38?
    I think there's some validity to this statement, specifically that it should be included as part of sentencing. "Less lethal" ammunition is named so because you can still kill with it. "Blanks" can kill if fired within a certain range at various points of the human body, and don't even have a conventional projectile. The force required to kill is surprisingly low when applied accurately.

    Bicycles have been previously quoted as not having the capability to cause the mass carnage and destruction that a car does in a Washington lawsuit (can't currently locate said lawsuit). That either implies that they tried harder, or were really unlucky. In this case, the rider clearly tried harder and was unlucky.

    I ran some numbers on the intersection to determine probable conditions, and assuming the most law abiding conditions but otherwise worst case scenarios (slower cyclist than reported, faster pedestrian, timing of lights without a delay between the red light & green pedestrian crossing, narrower lanes in one direction only, etc.) and found that the numbers don't add up. Had both parties been law abiding based on lights alone, it's improbable that the intersection would have been full - at least one lane's worth of space would have been clear, being very generous with error margins. It's more probable that the cyclist ran a very red light too, not that as he entered it the light changed.

    I also can't help but think after running the numbers that pedestrians do need to take more responsibility, and police need to start enforcing that more too. There are provisions in the law that specifically protect drivers against pedestrians running out in front of vehicles that cannot stop in time (for example, RCW 46.61.235 (2)). To disregard these laws is setting a dangerous precedent that could potentially allow people to jump in front of cars with culpability on the driver alone. Even the very strict laws in the Netherlands do not allow this, where they have the reputation for, "the driver of the car always pays".

    FWIW, my interest in this is that I collided with a pedestrian in the pedestrian crossing on 4th Ave in Seattle 2 years ago, with the pedestrian crossing against the control signal. They were fine and ran off, but I was pretty seriously injured. I'll never forget that someone who shouldn't have stepped in front of me at 24 mph did, and I still have a scar on my left shoulder from that incident to remind me of it. EDIT: Admittedly I was riding legally and safely, but there's enough parallels that it made me cringe to read it, and I can see how it could very easily have gone the other way in my collision.

  28. #28
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    Wow people are quick to lynch. Someone gets hit while crossing a street, how much are they to blame? I live in a college town and kids aren't even expected to look before crossing the street. That doesn't make any sense to me.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphazz View Post
    Wow people are quick to lynch. Someone gets hit while crossing a street, how much are they to blame? I live in a college town and kids aren't even expected to look before crossing the street. That doesn't make any sense to me.
    that's not discussed much, you're correct. however we do know that the cyclist in question was exceeding the speed limit by a good margin and blew a number of lights/signals in the process, then followed up the whole thing by showing more remorse for his helmet than the man he killed. who do you think should hold the most blame?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    that's not discussed much, you're correct. however we do know that the cyclist in question was exceeding the speed limit by a good margin and blew a number of lights/signals in the process, then followed up the whole thing by showing more remorse for his helmet than the man he killed. who do you think should hold the most blame?
    I think we all agree the cyclist should have the book thrown at him, at the very least for the wanton disregard for others. Even if the pedestrian was partly at fault, if not for the cyclist's actions leading up to the point of collision there would not have been a problem.

    To me, and this is just my personal opinion, the road laws are crafted in an attempt to capture the common sense notion of, "don't hit anything while moving about & act safely". We cannot definitively say that the pedestrian set out that day to violate this mentality. We can, however, observe that the cyclist did.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphazz View Post
    Wow people are quick to lynch. Someone gets hit while crossing a street, how much are they to blame? I live in a college town and kids aren't even expected to look before crossing the street. That doesn't make any sense to me.
    You can't govern common sense. There is one light in my neighborhood that has a right turn lane next to it. When the walk signal is active drivers in the turn lane get a huge no right turn red arrow with a cross through it along with several other no right on red signals. Every time I cross there I get at least one driver who does not see the light. There is a wall and the way the intersection is it is hard to see people about to cross. If I just started walking me and my kids would have been hit several times. I always teach my kids, look before you go even if you have the light.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    Wow, the dude was on the Stanford Cycling Team.

    Ex-Stanford Team Cyclist Faces Felony in Pedestrian
    Not surprising- idiots abound everywhere (arrogant ones too, like this jerkwad). Hopefully he will gain some measure of humility after being a shared b1tch during his incarceration.

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    Throw the book at him, and tax, insure and license bikes on the road just like ALL other modes of transportation that uses the roads. If you don't pay the fees, keep your ass off the street. Of course, riding a bike on the road is asinine anyways, but thats another debate.

  35. #35
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    In my day, I was told to look before crossing the street.

    I'm not saying the cyclist was doing what was right, but if someone gets hit while walking across the street, that's their own darn fault.

  36. #36
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    ^^ Sounds like this dude was in a mob of people crossing the street when the light changed and they had the right of way...he was just the unlucky one that was hit by the drone missle strike that no one saw coming.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by musikron View Post
    Of course, riding a bike on the road is asinine anyways, but thats another debate.
    I`ll try to keep that in mind. Thanks for the tip, dude
    Recalculating....

  38. #38
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    I must admit that this case is making me question my penchant for racing down my hill (in warmer weather) at 40-48 max in a 25mph zone. We have a dearth of pedestrians, and there are no lights until after a flat run-out at the bottom, so I am a lot more likely to slam into a car pulling out of a driveway or sidestreet, but still it wouldn't be called "responsible riding". I had been hoping for a speeding ticket, but I'm not so sure what I'll do when the weather gets warmer and the bike gets faster. I think I'm "only" 10 over with the studs. Anybody else given pause?

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