How the Newspaper Learns About Bike Crashes

by Adelaide Perr

Be skeptical of crash reports in local newspapers. The police officer giving the journalist a quote is often sitting in an office miles away from the crash scene. He or she is only getting second information from the on-scene officer who has yet to complete an investigation.

The night of my crash The Daily Camera, Boulder’s local newspaper, quoted a public affairs officer who was located 50 miles away in Lakewood, Colorado. His statement to the newspaper read, “The driver had come to a complete stop and yielded appropriately, when they were hit by the bicycle. The driver had started from a stop sign, but stopped for a turning vehicle. That’s when they were hit by the bicyclist.”

It wasn’t until May, seven months later, before my crash was written down otherwise. I remember the day clearly. I was sitting at work when a new email popped up on my screen. It was the Deputy DA’s sentencing memorandum, which had been submitted to the judge for the upcoming traffic case. The case was People of the State of Colorado v. Russell D. Rosh.

While the case did not officially include me, I had been in communication with the District Attorney’s office multiple times prior to May for updates on the case. I asked what punishments Rosh could face. I requested photos from the scene. I wanted to make sure the letters that had been written by friends and family on my behalf were read in court. Most of all, in all of my communication with the District Attorney’s office I wanted them to understand I wasn’t at fault in my crash.

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  1. Greg

    Sadly, this type of reporting on EVERY issue is common. I tell people to find an article on which they are an expert, or a witness, then simply read the article and find the error or errors. Sometimes it’s an incorrect fact, sometimes it’s the omission of a fact, sometimes it’s just a logic error, or in the case of a scientific article, it’s a misplaced decimal. On many occasions I have simply found biased reporting that makes assumptions without any basis in fact.
    The problem is that YOU might be the expert in that field, but I am not (or vice-versa) so if either one of us takes that article as fact, we are going to be mislead by a news media that is more focused on printing the story first than getting the facts correct.
    Find a couple articles for yourself in your own field of expertise, then understand that if it’s not 100% accurate, you can argue that all the other articles when read by experts are also not going to be 100% accurate, and then you figure out the news media in general is pretty worthless.

  2. Bill Plock

    Hi Greg, thanks for your comments and I think you make some valid points. No doubt reporters/media don’t get all the facts or don’t know what facts to look for or how to find them. I think in most cycling/motorist accidents, there is a sense of urgency to report the known facts because obviously often a human life is involved. I think article does a nice job of explaining the nuances of how police share the information and how incomplete it is due to a number of factors and how being incomplete can adversely effect all parties. Thanks for engaging with 303 and we try to present both sides and the facts as best we can. Bill Plock.


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