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and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and
disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel
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Who Killed Diva de Loayza?
A bicyclist run down on Western Avenue
ultimate price for bad traffic planning
A speeding minivan tore across two lanes of Western Avenue and
slammed into Diva de Loayza, who was riding her bicycle. The oblivious
idiot behind the wheel of the death van literally splattered her
body and her bike up a side street called University Place.
She hung on to life for days at Albany Med, her body broken and
her head shattered. She finally expired this past Thursday.
University Place, showing the location of the body and the
bike. Note the bouquet.
Look at the above photo. The minivan started from where the blue
sedan is stopped on Western Avenue, at the top. Considering the
distance, and the force of the impact which threw the body and
the bike up the road, the minivan must have been going wild and
fast, in a big hurry.
Ms. de Loayza was a successful business woman who owned four retail
outlets across the state, including one in Troy. She was well known
by many as a fashion designer, and she had light skin. Therefore,
the corporate media amplified her death, mourning
it as a great loss.
Last August, when a fellow named Jose Perez was run
down and killed on his bicycle by a speeding SUV on Broadway in downtown Albany,
the corporate media barely noticed. Mr. Perez, after all, was lower
class, hispanic and dark skinned.
The difference in social status did not matter. The deaths of
both Ms. de Loayza and Mr. Perez were treated the same way by the
In both cases, the Albany Police did not ticket the lunatic drivers
of the speeding vehicles, and refused to release the names of either
killer. And the corporate media colluded with the police, making
no effort to reveal the perpetrators. They put the blame squarely
upon the victims.
In other words, it was their own damn fault that they were riding
bicycles on City streets. In the minds of the authorities, they
deserved to die.
This is a wonder to me. Compare this to maritime law. As everyone
knows, the larger boat always yields the right of way to the smaller
craft. The reason is not hard to figure. Your yacht is bigger,
faster and more deadly than my kayak. If you ram me you’re
using deadly force, thus you need to use restraint when I cross
That’s not necessarily true on the roadways. According to
New York State vehicle code:
Section 1146. Drivers to exercise due care. Notwithstanding the
provisions of any other law to the contrary, every driver of a
vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicyclist,
pedestrian or domestic animal upon any roadway and shall give warning
by sounding the horn when necessary.
What the hell does “due care” mean? As far as I can
tell it doesn’t mean a damn thing. This provision of the
traffic code is so indistinct, it amounts to a license to kill
bicyclists and pedestrians. That is, as long as you use an automobile
instead of another weapon, like, say, a handgun.
I’d like to see section 1146 updated and clarified to read
something like: “Whoever operates a gas guzzling fume spewing
motorized vehicle shall take “due care” not to cause
physical harm or death to any bicyclist or pedestrian. Any motorist
who violates this directive will be subject to penalties similar
to any other clown who commits assault or murder.”
There’s nothing at all absurd about this. Take a visit to
a place like Burlington, Vermont. Note how the cars always yield
to bicycles, and screech to halt every time a pedestrian steps
into the street. The laws about this are strict, and the local
police enforce them vigorously.
I don’t know the details of Mr. Perez’s death last
August, perhaps his killing by SUV was unavoidable. We’ll
probably never know for sure. But the anonymous killer of Ms. de
Loayza, while morally responsible for her death, can claim mitigating
circumstances. He/she did not act alone.
The three-way intersection where Ms. de Loayza and her bicycle
hit the pavement has staggered traffic signals. Here’s how
1) The lights turn red in both directions on Western Avenue, traveling
east and west. All traffic comes to a stop.
2) The lights on Western then turn green traveling east only.
The lights for vehicles traveling west remain red. Eastbound traffic
proceeds, while westbound traffic remains stopped.
3) After about ten seconds, the west facing light turns green,
and the westbound traffic proceeds.
Left turn onto University Place in front of stopped traffic.
So basically, this is most certainly what must have
happened. The minivan careened across Western Avenue as this red
sedan is doing in the photo above. Note the red light on
the signal, which is green facing away from the viewer.
Ms. de Loayza, riding her bicycle west, saw the red light and
the stopped traffic on Western Avenue. We can safely assume that
she noticed that no traffic was coming toward her from the side
street on her right, University Place.
Seeing the red light and the stopped westbound traffic on her
left, she made the fatal assumption that if the auto traffic is
stopped in one direction, it must also be stopped in the other
direction. Thus, she must have decided as a practical matter that
it was safe for her to proceed through the red signal. Right?
Wrong. Whoever designed this intersection wanted to give auto
traffic an extra chance to turn left. But the traffic planner didn’t
think about bicyclists and pedestrians. There are no crossing signs,
no indication whatsoever that the signal lights are staggered for
left turning automobiles. There’s not even a crosswalk. Nothing.
Where's the crosswalks?
The police and the corporate media made much of how Ms. de Loayza
ran a red light. Somehow this made her culpable and absolved the
actual killer and the traffic planner from all responsibility.
But is this fair?
Consider that the traffic signals and indeed the layouts of the
intersections along Western Avenue are designed solely for the
use of motorized traffic. There is a decidedly suburban feel to
this part of Western. Despite the presence of sidewalks, bicyclists
and pedestrians along this strip are treated as little more than
intruders at the petroleum consumption orgy in the automobile slum.
It is because these intersections are designed for autos that
they appear absurd to bicyclists. Moving a bicycle takes physical
effort, thus every unnecessary stop is a tiring strain on the bicyclist.
The stops don’t matter to auto drivers, it doesn’t
take much energy to push levers with one’s feet.
Thus, bicyclists routinely and characteristically break traffic
laws designed to regulate motorized traffic. They do so out of
necessity. On many occasions I’ve watched Albany Bicycle
Police on patrol break traffic laws, such as running red lights,
riding on the sidewalk and even riding against the traffic.
Diva de Loayza & Morsel
To hold the late Ms. de Loayza to these sorts of technicalities
is absurd and specious. The simple fact is that the driver of the
minivan should have stayed alert, and he/she should not have smashed
sideways into her bicycle and sent her sprawling to her death.
Much was also made of how Ms. de Loayza did not wear a helmet
at the time of her slaughter. In this state, no one above the age
of fourteen is required to wear one. Certainly, she should have
But this was presented by the police and the corporate media as
more evidence of her neglect and culpability. It’s her fault
that a minivan hit her. It’s her fault that the intersection
was designed to kill her. She should have worn her helmet.
I am thoroughly sick and tired of this crap. Decent, upstanding
human beings of all varieties routinely die on our roadways, run
down by automobiles, punished because they are riding bicycles.
By all appearances, the authorities approve of this situation.
Compared to bicyclists and pedestrians, automobile operators have
a disproportionate share of rights and privileges. It is high time
to reign them in. When will it begin? How many more people need
to die for no discernible reason before common sense prevails?
And I’m sick of the corporate media finding fault exclusively
with the bicyclists who die, absolving the motorized killers of
all blame. It’s time for those people to grow up and start
thinking past their suburban agenda. Enough with the auto propaganda.
They don’t even make the damn vehicles in America anymore.
In my opinion, the driver of the minivan who killed Diva de Loayza
should be charged with manslaughter. The traffic planner who designed
the intersection that killed her should be charged with criminal
This kind of behavior is no longer acceptable.
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