Ghost bikes appear in Seattle in places where riders are hurt by motorists.
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Ghost bikes appear in Seattle in places where riders are hurt by motorists.
Credit: Flickr Photo/cactusbones (CC-BY-NC-ND)

When Drivers Hit Cyclists, What Should The Consequences Be?

Construction for a new bike lane on Second Avenue downtown began on Friday, just one week after a truck hit a cyclist, 31-year-old mother Sher Kung. She died at the scene.

Safer bike lanes help protect cyclists, but some bike advocates say the laws should be tougher.

Seattle attorney Jim Duggan specializes in bike law and said drivers should be held accountable. But right now, they’re either charged criminally or get off on a mere citation, he said.

Police and prosecutors should take advantage of a relatively new “vulnerable driver law” that is seldom used. It allows the judge to suspend a driver’s license up to 90 days and fine him or her up to $5,000. Or the judge could impose 100 days of community service and driving school.

“What we hope is that it will have some sort of deterrent effect,” Duggan said.

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