In a summer where I've read at least a dozen news stories in Western Michigan alone of motorcycle riders getting killed or critically injured due to motorists taking their right-of-way, and haven't yet read of any motorist getting a traffic citation for their negligent act, the following story doesn't surprise me as much as it should.
DENVER -- A man in a wheelchair said he was ticketed because he couldn't get across the road during the signal's allotted time and now he's fighting the citation.
Kyle Wolfe said he was passing through 19th and Lawrence streets in downtown Denver.
Wolfe said he started to cross the street when the signal indicated it was his turn to go.
He said he couldn't make it through the intersection in the 20 seconds allotted at the light. He said he was five feet from the curb when an SUV hit him from behind.
Wolfe said the accident left his wheelchair totaled, and left him scraped and bruised. He received a ticket from a Denver police officer for disobeying the traffic signal.
"I was very shocked that a pedestrian that has the right of way got a ticket," Wolfe said.
Wolfe said it takes him more time to cross because he's in a wheelchair. Plus, that day, he was carrying stuff in his lap and it kept slipping as he crossed the street.
"When you are moving, everything is falling. I need to pick it up. People don't want to stop," Wolfe said.
Denver follows federal regulations that pedestrians travel at 3.5 feet per second. The time allotted for each intersection is based on the width of the intersection and how long it will take to cross traveling at that speed.
"That is not fast enough for a handicap person to get across a cross walk," Wolfe said.
A police spokesman said Wolfe will have the opportunity to fight the ticket in court.
I don't have a working knowledge of Colorado law, but the reporting agency should, and should have reported what section was used instead of looking at what federal guidelines are for determining how long it takes to get across a crosswalk for 'normal' foot traffic. One can assume the media only glommed onto the story after Kyle Wolfe and other of his advocates thought it unfair; like most corporate media they obviously do not want to vex the authorities by reporting their crazy policy of ticketing the victim suffering injuries from the unlawful driving of the guilty motorist who just couldn't wait.
Given the police have a choice as to whom they issue tickets I'm curious to know why they felt it necessary to site a man who had the right of way. Was it because he had stuff on his lap and they thought he was being irresponsible? Does he have a checkered past? Who knows what their beef was but just with this limited information in the article and "assuming" the published information by the Denver media is correct....this appears to be another reason to dislike the police.
I'd love to see the facts and only the facts presented to a classroom of 3rd graders and see what they say should have happened. Kids are less jaded that most of us adults and they seem to be able to sum up wrong pretty quickly.
I can't understand why any motorist would hit a man in a wheelchair at all, that in itself is simply illegal and contemptable behavior for anyone. Where has common sense gone nowadays in the USA? Police in this particular case are very wrong and hope he has a judge that agrees, and dismisses this case.
IHAN and Aquaman, even when there are plenty of witnesses and other evidence showing the motorist is at fault, whether it be:
a) they turn in front of a motorcyclist proceeding legally down the road,
b) they strike a bicycle from behind riding legally on the road, or
c) they hit a pedestrian (on a wheelchair or not) using the crosswalk properly,
the motorist is rarely cited by the police, even if a death occurs. Worse, regardless of how they portray it to reporters, it is typically portrayed in the news article to shelter the motorist's fault, whose name is rarely divulged. They say:
a) a motorcyclist crashed into a car they were not wearing a helmet.
b) the bicyclist was on the wrong side of the fog line, nor were they wearing a helmet.
c) the pedestrian was still in the crosswalk after the traffic light turned green; the car that struck them had stopped for the red light.
Both parties are very insensitive to the victims of the traffic crime committed. Unfortunately, an auto-centric officer usually uses his discretion to not write the motorist a ticket or charge them with a crime unless they are impaired or drive off. Using all four modes of transportation, I can't gauge how irresponsible some drivers are around vulnerable users of the road.