Monday, June 16, 2014

Should Albuquerque Bicyclists Start Packing Heat?

  Depraved indifference, or, it sure seems like more than the usual number of alarming headlines lately.

"Saturday morning an SUV hit Rivers as she rode her bike through this round-about at 4th Street NW and Roy Avenue. The driver didn't stop. Another cyclist found Rivers unconscious in the middle of the road.

"'To me, it was an intentional hit and run,' said Roni Gibbons, who called 911 and stayed with Rivers until paramedics arrived.  Gibbons said the same SUV honked at her and swerved into the bike lane just moments before hitting Rivers. She said the SUV went up on two wheels when it turned into the round-about.

"'There was a cyclist further east of her that says they had done the same thing to him,' she said. 'And when they got to me they harassed me. They got to her and they actually hit her.'
"At this point, investigators aren't considering the crash intentional. Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputies said it's more likely the driver was speeding and lost control."

Per the story, Barbara Rivers is recovering at UNM hospital from a long list of injuries including bleeding in her brain, a broken ankle and severe road rash. But her husband, Thom Stein, said she's expected to make a full recovery.

Unintentional? Hmm....based on witness statements, sounds like three cases of assault with a deadly weapon. Is going into a roundabout on two wheels when innocent lives are at stake ever unintentional?

Here, too, is part of Joline Krueger's article in the Journal regarding another cyclist reduced to shards of a human being.

Answers elusive in Edgewood hit-and-run 

"...Michael Wolff, 56, had been riding his bike on a rural stretch of U.S. 66 near Barton Road about four miles west of his home in Edgewood on a blustery June 6 evening. ...
No one knows if he saw what hit him. He hasn’t regained consciousness. From the injuries to the bike and his body and the shards of polycarbonate, like what is found on turn-signal lights, Bernalillo County sheriff’s investigators speculate that whatever struck and ran over Wolff was larger than a pickup truck, possibly a commercial-style heavy truck.
Whatever it was, it hadn’t stopped.
So much damage had been done. Wolff’s left leg – the “good” one, Ball said – was so badly mangled that it was later amputated above the knee. His scalp was peeled from his head. His pelvis was crushed, his ribs broken, right arm shattered, face pulverized, lungs bruised, abdomen splayed open..."
6-16-2014 NOTE: As just reported by KOB, this cyclist has died of his injuries. 
As far as packing heat and deadly force? With the caveat that this is not legal advice, nor am I a lawyer nor do I play one on TV,  threatening or using deadly force is only permitted in extreme cases where needed to protect your or someone's life and that is the best option.  Buzzing, careless and reckless driving or hit and run are rarely if ever, cases where one can use deadly force to protect one's self. Perhaps if the guy backs up and is taking a second run at your down and immobilized loved one, that is a different story.  Using, or even threatening deadly force without justification (such as brandishing) could likely end up with the brandisher enjoying an extended, all expenses paid stay at the New Mexico Greybar Hotel while that reckless motorist is home enjoying a cold one. Popping a few ventilation holes in a reckless motorist's car or truck may feel great at the time, but is not allowed, esp. if the holes are in the back of the cab. After all, this is not Florida.

 But generally, if things get bad enough or if your commute involves a five a.m. ride down Zuni while dodging armed meth-heads, what can a cyclist do to protect against intentional use of deadly force against him or her self, other than take a different route, learn to sprint, talk the perp down, or be frightened off the road? I always wondered if the New Mexico legal notion of "Extended Domain" that motorists enjoy applied to a bicyclist on a bike.

NM 30-7-2 states:
30-7-2. Unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon. 
A.   Unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon consists of carrying a concealed loaded firearm or any other type of deadly weapon anywhere, except in the following cases:  
(1)   in the person's residence or on real property belonging to him as owner, lessee, tenant or licensee;  
(2)   in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance , for lawful protection of the person's or another's person or property;  
(3)   by a peace officer in accordance with the policies of his law enforcement agency who is certified pursuant to the Law Enforcement Training Act [29-7-1 NMSA 1978];  
(4)   by a peace officer in accordance with the policies of his law enforcement agency who is employed on a temporary basis by that agency and who has successfully completed a course of firearms instruction prescribed by the New Mexico law enforcement academy or provided by a certified firearms instructor who is employed on a permanent basis by a law enforcement agency; or  
(5)   by a person in possession of a valid concealed handgun license issued to him by the department of public safety pursuant to the provisions of the Concealed Handgun Carry Act [29-19-1 NMSA 1978].  
B.   Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the carrying of any unloaded firearm.  
C.   Whoever commits unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.  

The State Dept. of Public Safety site says:
Question: Do I have to be licensed to have a concealed loaded handgun inside my vehicle?
Answer: No. New Mexico law allows a person who is not otherwise prohibited to have a concealed loaded firearm in his/her vehicle (including motorcycles and bicycles). If you are not licensed to carry concealed in this State or in a state that NM recognizes, you may not have the weapon concealed on your person when you exit your vehicle or motorcycle. Top of Page

 I would not advise anyone whether or not to pack heat except to say if you have any doubts about your judgement, training, or ability to use it, DON'T. But there are better sources of advice, such as excellent concealed carry trainers in these parts, including some at the Los Alamos Sportsman's Club. The final decision is up to the individual and the decision should not be taken lightly. Way too much at stake and way too many ways to get things screwed up if you don't do it right.

Meanwhile, if you are anywhere near that Bermuda Triangle of civic decency called Albuquerque, be careful out there. Just because some of the cyclists in the Duke City are paranoid of traffic, it doesn't mean they are not out to get you. Examples abound.


Steve A said...

Unlike concealed carry, open carry for cyclists has a deterrent effect to a motorist considering harassment. It raises the possibility that their violence might carry consequences.

Khal said...

Hear, hear.

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