Monday, January 30, 2006

Drunk Cycling – The Disconnect (HB1190)

The local daily ran an article that mentioned HB1190. Some legislators are in town holding meetings to inform the public what’s been shaking in Pierre for the 2006 session. The paper hasn’t gotten the right message yet.
Senator Dempster predicts HB1190 will be a national story. “[The bill that] no longer recognizes horses, mules, other riding animals and bicycles as vehicles for the purpose of DWI arrests.”
The legislators believe what they’re being told. “This bill is for DUI purposes.” I believe sometime this week, legislators will be told, intentional or not, this bill is more than a DUI bill. It's more than a DUI bill because it seeks to rewrite the definition of vehicle to exclude bicycle. I've already described here why I think that's a problem.

The more I see this bill gain momentum the more interested I get in the DUI aspect of it.
“The bill responds to the case of a South Dakota man who rode a horse home when he felt he was too drunk to drive but was still arrested and convicted of a fourth DWI.”
This mixes two anecdotal stories about this bill. I’ve read the man suffered this fourth DUI on a bicycle. I suggest the problem with the man on the bicycle is repeated intoxication, not his bicycle. The other story is a drunken man on a horse who (successfully I presume) argued that the horse knew the way home.
"We don't want these people driving cars," Willadsen said, and the bill is a broad-brush stroke to encourage intoxicated individuals not to drive.
Willadsen should either get a smaller brush or take his broad-brush elsewhere. I suggest bar parking lots if he doesn't want drunk people driving.
"The number of people who can be impacted by a drunk driver," said Weems, "is far greater than by someone on a horse or a bike."
Let's try to put some measure on "far greater."
1a. Drunk guy gets in car, hits power pole, dies: 1
1b. Drunk guy gets on bicycle, hits power pole, dies: 1

2a. Drunk guy gets in car, hits pedestrian, pedestrian dies: 1
2b. Drunk guy gets on bicycle, hits pedestrian, pedestrian dies: 1

3a. Drunk guy gets in car, hits family of four in Hummer, dies: 1
3b. Drunk guy gets on bicyle, hits family of four in Hummer, dies: 1

4a. Drunk guy gets in Abrams Battle Tank, drives through residential area and over houses on way to arena for game, parks tank on section 2, people die: 40 (drunk lives!)
4b. Drunk guy gets on bicycle, drives through residential area and gets run over at uncontrolled intersection by Abrams Battle Tank, dies: 1
Ms. Weems believes 2b will never happen to her. I believe "far greater" is far smaller than she realizes.

Which of the 66 house members (2 dissenters) who passed the bill do you suppose are willing to be run down by a 12mph drunk bicycle as research for the Senate while they deliberate this bill?

1 comment:

eayste said...

Dear Sir,
You have hit the spot on this bill.
A drunk has no place on the streets , PERIOD,
weather on a bike , horse or in a car.
Others lives can be aflicted.