Monday, March 17, 2014

Reactions: Pothole Fatality

Recent news reports informed us of a pothole fatality in Minneapolis. A motorcyclist hit the pothole and lost his life in the ensuing accident. Time and location were given in the first reports: 10:30 PM on 394.

Yes, it was a tragedy, but I found my reactions to the event changing as, bit by bit, further details dribbled out. First reactions were pity for the biker and tsk-tsk-ing the state of our roads after this ugly winter.

When they announced, sans name, that he was from New York, there was some relief that it wouldn't have been anybody that I knew personally. It wasn't a stretch to guess that was so initially, as the folks I know who ride motorcycles were unlikely to be out in that part of the metro at that time of evening. They would be tucked in bed preparing for another work day, or still out of state avoiding winter. It was just a personal relief to have it confirmed.

But then it got more interesting. Reports from witnesses indicated a "high rate of speed" was involved, varying in reports from 100 to 120 mph.  I found myself annoyed at the rider for his recklessness, for being responsible for his own death rather than blaming whatever pothole he'd hit. It was insane to travel at that speed in a time of year where potholes were ubiquitous, nevermind the possibility of sudden ice or sand on the roads, all at a time of day when it was too dark to see them clearly even at normal freeway speeds. Even so, he likely wasn't creative enough to actually win a Darwin Award for his demise.

Yes, that does come to mind.

The final tidbit of information (to date) was that there was a second motorcycle involved. Spectators said they might have been racing. The second individual sped away and has not yet come forward to give witness or explanation, or possibly render aid. Now my annoyance grew to outright anger at the carelessness or worse. Was alcohol involved? Drugs? A fight or rivalry, friendly or otherwise? A "simple" overload of testosterone? I hope the second driver is found and charged for his/her part of the accident We may never know about any chemical impairment, but we do know about speeding and leaving the scene. Even if the second driver didn't see why his/her speeding partner dropped off, it was all over the news for days.

I now want not only explanation, but justice, i.e., punishment. This was not an innert pothole trapping the unwary or foolish, this was a death with culpability.

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