Letter to local newspaper wrongly blames cyclist for death
Feb 16, 2005 20:00 PST
The below letter to the editor appeared in today's issue (Feb 16) of The
Bakersfield Californian newspaper. (also viewable at www.bakersfield.com,
but you have to "register.")
A little background. Hoffman was an outstanding instructor at the local Jr.
College, an incredible athlete and a first-class human being who was run
down from behind and killed by an inattentive teenage motorist driving his
parent's Mercedes. The road is one frequently used by local cyclists, with,
as you know, every legal right to be there. Hoffman was riding legally.
Whatever you think of the lawsuit, blaming the cyclist riding legally on the
road is utterly wrong. Reminds me of the days when blacks were blamed for
"inciting" lynchings and torture in the south, or when women were blamed for
I'm sick of being the only voice in the southern valley to speak out against
these ignorant and hate-filled yahoos who blame the victim whenever a
cyclist is injured or killed. Anyone else want to take a crack at it.?
You can e-mail your letter of response with your opinion to
Keep it coherent and under 250 words and it has a high chance of getting
LCI #702-K-C, League of American Bicyclists
Co-founder, South Valley Bicycle Coalition
Doesn't understand suit
Just when I am convinced that I have seen and heard it all in regards to
strange and senseless legal proceeding and their outcomes, along comes one
that leaves me stunned and outraged.
A recent article in The Californian reported that the family of the late
Norm Hoffman had not only filed suit against the city of Bakersfield but
that the city had paid the family $25,000 rather than go to court.
The article went on to extoll the bicycling prowess of the late Norm
Hoffman, who was tragically killed in a bicycle versus car crash that took
place on a city street.
Anyone who has driven on that particular street can't help but relaize that
it was and still may be unsafe for bicycling.
So why was Norm Hoffman, renown for his bicycling prowess and devotion to
fitness, bicycling on an unsafe street? Why is the city of Bakersfield
responsible in any way for his poor judgement that resulted in his death?
The article pointed out that the city did not admit any responsibility. So
why then is the family receiving $25,000 from the city?
It is ludicrious that the family filed the suit. No amount of money will
bring back their loved one. This suit does not honor his memory.
This settlement does not serve justice. It is an injustice to Norm
Hoffman's memory and an injustice to the taxpayers of this city.
The city has issued an open invitation to nuisance lawsuits in the future.
-- KATHLEEN WHEELER, Bakersfield