Today I have something a bit more important than the regular cycling related post that you normally see here. It has to do with the rash of hit and run cycling events I've noticed this year and this one in particular really chapped my hide......
Recently a cyclist was involved in a hit and run accident in Vail, Colorado where the cyclist was severely injured and the automobile driver was tracked down later, and admitted responsibility for his actions. (See the story here) Then something weird happened....
A lawyer got involved.
The place where this happened was in Eagle County. A place where a certain high profile case involving a certain District Attorney named Mark Hurlbert. occurred. (Kobe Bryant case,) According to the website for the Colorado Fifth Judicial District, Mr. Hurlbert is described as being "... an experienced prosecutor, Mark knows it is important not to simply secure convictions, but to seek justice.(emphasis mine).
Hmmm......really? Check this out....
Mark Hurlbert is not charging Martin Joel Erzinger with a felony, because "Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger's profession," Mr. Erzinger is an employee of Smith Barney which manages billions for rich people.
So how is that for justice?
I guess you could slag this off as just an oddity, just some weird aberrant deal "out there". But think about this: High profile cases like this, (and make no mistake, this is going to be a big deal in the media and especially amongst cyclists), can be seen as precedents. They can be interpreted by non-cyclists as being a "way out" of a serious crime. That it smacks of making a life "cheaper" merely by the fact that the "life" in question is riding a bicycle should be enough to cause alarm right there though, in my opinion. If you don't see this as being injustice, then we are all in big trouble.
So, what can you do?
There has been an online petition started which you can sign here.
Cyclingnews.com and Bike Radar tech editor, James Huang, has started a Facebook page called "We're People on Bikes, Not Lifeless Obstacles in Your Way"
My blogging comrade, Richard Masoner, of Cyclelicious, has an idea to hit the Vail area where it might hurt them by starting a petition to take away potential business that will be generated by the Quizno's Pro Challenge bike race which is a stage race visiting Vail next August. There are several contact links on this page where you can voice an opinion to Eagle County and Vail officials.
If you care about justice, protecting all lives fairly, and cyclists rights, please consider checking these links out getting involved. Thanks!