Tag Archives: drunks and cyclists

Felony Reckless Driving and Vulnerable Users of the Public Highway

Felony Reckless Driving and Vulnerable Users of the Public Highway (Creto/Kade Law)

On Saturday, 10/31/15, a drunken Thomas Gorman ran down three young Skidmore students in Saratoga. He killed one outright and sent the other two to intensive care with serious injuries. According to the Times Union (11/2/15), this driver “faces DWI” charges. Gorman was later charged with first-degree vehicular assault and driving while intoxicated.

DWI can be a felony or misdemeanor depending on the skill of the defense attorney and the facts of the case.

ADDRESSING THE ISSUE – A recent proposal, named in memory of two motorcyclists killed by people in cars who committed moving violations would make it a felony offense to kill any “vulnerable road user” – pedestrians, persons riding animals, or persons operating any of the following: bicycle, implement of husbandry, motorcycle, horse drawn carriage, electric personal assistive mobility device, or wheelchair.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Albany Bicycle Coalition voted unanimously by those present at its 10/29/15 meeting to support this proposed law.

Details of the proposal follow.

SUMMARY: Felony Reckless Driving And Vulnerable Public Highway Users (Creto/Kade Law) – Felony reckless driving is driving or using any motor vehicle, motorcycle, or any other vehicle propelled by any means other than muscular power or any appliance or accessory thereof in a manner which causes death to a vulnerable user of the public highway (or knowing or having reason to know the operator is violating this section). Vulnerable users include the following: pedestrians (including those working, in or along a highway or providing emergency services within a right-of-way), persons riding animals or operating a bicycle, implement of husbandry, motorcycle, horse drawn carriage, electric personal assistive mobility device, or wheelchair.

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IN A MANNER WHICH CAUSES DEATH TO A VULNERABLE USER OF THE PUBLIC HIGHWAY, OR KNOWING OR HAVING REASON TO KNOW THE OPERATOR IS VIOLATING SECTION: 1110(a): Failure to obey a traffic control device, 1111-3(d)2: Failure to stop for red light making a right turn, 1111-3(d)5: School bus illegally making a right on red light, 1120(a): Failure to keep right, 1120(a)3: Failure to yield right of way to oncoming traffic, while avoiding a traffic obstruction, 1120-6(c): Failure to keep right, crossing the center line of a roadway, 1121- Failure to yield one half of the road way to opposing traffic, 1122 (a): Improper overtaking of a vehicle on the left, 1122- (b): Improperly increasing speed when being legally passed on the right, 1124: Unlawfully crossing the center line of roadway while overtaking another vehicle, 1125-1: Illegally driving left of center of roadway; approaching crest of grade or curve with an obstructed view, 1125-2: Illegally driving left of the center of the roadway within 100 feet of traversing a railroad grade crossing, 1125-3: Illegally driving left of the center of the roadway when view is obstructed approaching a bridge, viaduct, or tunnel, 1126-(a): Illegally passing in a marked no passing zone, 1127-(a): Driving wrong way on a one way road way, 1127- (b): Failure to keep right passing around a circular intersection, 1128- (a): Moving from lane unsafely, 1128- (b): Illegal use of center lane- roadway divided into three lanes with two way movement, 1128- (d): Illegally crossing prohibitive roadway markings, 1129- (a): Following to closely, 1130-1: Illegally travelling upon the dividing area of a divided or controlled access highway, 1130- 2: Illegally entering a controlled access highway, 1131: Illegally operating a motor vehicle on a shoulder or slope, 1140- (a): Failure to yield right-of-way entering an intersection, 1140- (b): Failure to yield right-of-way, to a vehicle to the right, when arriving at an intersection at the same time, 1141: Failure to yield right-of-way making a left-hand turn (to a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction), 1142- (a): Failure to yield right-of-way at a stop sign, to a vehicle already on the roadway, 1142- (b): Failure to yield right-of-way at a yield sign, to a vehicle already on the roadway, 1143: Failure to yield right-of-way entering a roadway, 1145: Failure to yield right-of-way to a vehicle in a rotary traffic circle, 1160- (a): Improper right turn, 1160- (b): Improper left turn-two way traffic, 1160- (c): Improper left turn other than two way traffic, 1161: Illegal U-turn (any curve, approach to or near the crest of a grade-must be visible from 500 feet away), 1162: Moving from stopped, standing or park position unsafely, 1163- (a): Unsafe turn, 1163- (b): Failure to use proper signal when turning, 1163- (c): Stopping unsafely, 1163- (e): Illegal use of hazard lights, 1172- (a): Failure to stop at a stop sign, 1172- (b): Failure to stop at a yield sign, when required, 1173: Failure to stop ???????????????????????????????emerging from an alley, driveway, private road or building, 1180- (a): Unsafe speed for prevailing conditions, 1180- (b): Speed in excess of posted 55 mile an hour speed limit, 1180- (c): Speed in school zone, 1180- (d): Speed in excess of the posted speed limit (any posted speed limit other than 55 mph), 1180- (e): Failure to reduce speed-special road hazards, 1180- (f): Failure to reduce speed construction or maintenance work area, 1181- (a): Impeding traffic, 1211- (a): Unsafe backing, 1212: Reckless Driving, 1214: Unsafely opening and closing vehicle doors, 1216: Illegally coasting a vehicle, 1220: Illegally dumping garbage on a roadway, 1225: Illegally avoiding intersections or traffic control device, 1225-c-2(a): Illegally talking on cell phone, 1225-d: Illegally using a portable electronic device (viewing or transmitting images, playing games, or composing, sending, reading, viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving e-mail, text messages, or other electronic data), THE OPERATOR CONTINUES TO DO SO. A PERSON VIOLATING ANY OF THE tumblr_ln0bi0HNhi1qjxfx5o1_1280PROVISIONS OF THIS CHAPTER SHALL BE GUILTY OF A CLASS D FELONY PUNISHABLE PURSUANT TO ARTICLES SIXTY-FIVE AND SEVENTY OF THE PENAL LAW.

Vulnerable user shall be defined as:

(a) A pedestrian including a person engaged in work, in or along a highway or engaged in the provision of emergency services within a right-of-way

(b) A person riding an animal

(c) A person lawfully operating any of the following on a highway or the shoulder of a highway: bicycle, implement of husbandry, motorcycle, horse drawn carriage, electric personal assistive mobility device, or wheelchair.

Written by: Kenneth A. Watson, Sr.

 Amended 01-27-2015 by Kenneth A. Watson, Sr.

(Reformatted and edited – Lorenz M. Worden, 10-29-15)

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Ride of Silence 2105 – Wed, 5/20, 6:00 and 6:30 PM

Please attend the annual and national Ride of Silence on this Wednesday, May 20. Your participation honors cyclists killed or injured in collisions with automobiles. Our silence during the ride promotes safety awareness and mutual respect on the road. We will visit the ghost bike sites in the City of Albany and Colonie.

There are two Starting Points – Boat Launch area, Albany Corning Preserve, 6:00 PM and W. Capitol Park & Washington Ave. & State St., 6:30 PM.

Anyone with a bicycle and helmet is welcome to this slow-pace and quiet ride. If you prefer not to ride, please meet at Diva De Loayza’s site at the corner of Western Ave., Homestead, and University Place (near Sunoco station, the Uncommon Grounds plaza, and All Saints RC Church).

Diva with Dog COMPFairbanks 6 (Susan + Patrick Briggs)  5-9-08Please remember your fellow riders:

  • Stephen Nolan – June 2, 2014 (age 53, killed by car, King & Federal Sts., Troy)
  • Brian Bailey – March 11, 2014 (age 37, bicyclist killed by truck, Route 9W, Ravena)
  • Matthew Ratelle – December 20, 2012 (age 40, bicyclist killed by impaired driver, Rt. 22, Petersburg)Matthew Ratelle 10-26-72 -- 12-20-12 C
  • Paul J. Merges, Jr. – November 24, 2012 (age 45, bicyclist killed by pickup truck/drunk driver, Manning and Roosevelt, Albany)

Paul J. Merges Jr 11-24-12

  • Nicholas Richichi – October 19, 2007 (age 53, bicyclist killed by motor coach, Fuller Rd., Colonie)
  • Diva De Loayza – June 6, 2007 (age 40; bicyclist killed by car, Western Ave. at Homestead, Albany)
  • Alan R. Fairbanks – October 29, 2006 (age 72; bicyclist died after being hit by car, Rt. 5-S at bicycle path, Rotterdam)
  • Jose Perez – August 3, 2006 (age 60; bicyclist killed by SUV, Broadway at Quay St., Albany.)
  • Joel Melnikoff – July 3, 2006 (age 49; bicyclist killed by car/drunk, Rt. 32, Bethlehem)
  • David Ryan – June 29, 2004 (age 32; bicyclist killed by car/reckless driver, Riverview Rd., Rexford)
  • Robert F. Zayhowski – July 16, 2000 (age 43; bicyclist killed by SUV/drunk driver, Rt. 66, Sand Lake)


Filed under Activism, Ride of Silence

ABC Donates to Matthew Ratelle Benefit Ride

Tomhannock Bicycles is hosting a “Matthew Ratelle Family Trust” benefit ride on Sunday, 8/18, 9 AM. The Albany Bicycle Coalition made a donation to benefit the late cyclist’s children one of whom was born after his death.

The ride starts at Tomhannock Bicycles, 3149 Rt. 7, Pittstown (10 min. east of Troy). There is a $25 entry fee for a 28-mile loop ride for all levels with food and refreshments after the ride. All proceeds from registrations go to the Trust. Register at bikereg.com. Those wishing to contribute individually may make checks payable to the “Matthew Ratelle Benefit Ride” and mail them to the following address:
Timothy Bonnier
ATTN: Matthew Ratelle Benefit Ride
Tomhannock Bicycles
3149 NYS Rt. 7
Pittstown, NY 12094

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Filed under Events, Fundraising, Rides, Support the Cause

Another Cyclist Run Down by an “Impaired” Driver

Matthew Ratelle 10-26-72 -- 12-20-12 CThe Times Union reported today that another cyclist has died.  Matthew Ratelle was struck down from behind about 8:30 a.m. (broad daylight) on 9/3.  According to the report, one can conclude that Ratelle was an “avid cyclist” who had driven to the start of his ride on Rt. 22, was wearing a helmet, was riding on the shoulder, and had a GPS device on his bicycle – all hardly signs of a casual or unprepared rider going on an errand.

According to the Times Union, the killer, Becky Goodermote, was charged with::

  • Leaving the scene of a serious personal injury accident
  • Operating a vehicle while impaired by drug
  • Driving with a suspended registration
  • Failure to use due care

The TU report notes further that Goodermote, who was also suspected of texting at the time, left the scene but was caught when her concerned family member told  police that Goodermote returned home with extensive damage to her vehicle that she could not explain.Matthew Ratelle 10-26-72 -- 12-20-12 B

Ratelle, who leaves a wife and three young children, landed about 30 yards from where he was struck and suffered massive trauma.

UPDATE 12-22-12

Funeral and Wake for Matthew Ratelle, Another Cyclists Killed on the Road – Those cyclists who would like to reach out to the family of a fellow bicyclist Matthew Ratelle may visit on Sunday, December 23, 2012 from 4 until 7 p.m. at the Parker Bros. Memorial, 2013 Broadway, Watervliet.

The funeral will be Monday, December 24, 2012, 10 a.m., Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, corner of Eagle St. and Madison Ave., Albany.

Contributions may be made to the Ratelle Family Trust, to benefit his children, in care of the funeral home office.

Visit parkerbrosmemorial.com for directions, to light a candle, and for condolence book.


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Cyclists and Others Gather to Dedicate the Ghost Bike for Paul Merges

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThirty-two people attended the dedication of Paul Merges’ ghost bike.  His cousin Mike and Laurie, Mikes’s wife started the ceremony by lighting a candle and speaking on behalf of the Merges family.  Several others made comments about the need for safety on the roads or in sympathy for the family.  Two members of Albany’s Common Council attended and one of them spoke.  Twelve bicycle riders then rode silently from the ghost bike on Washington Ave. and Manning Blvd to Washington Park.

Merges was struck down by a drunken driver on OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASaturday, November 24, 2012.

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Filed under Events, Rides