RE: August 10, 2008, motorcycle Accident on Oak Street.
I am writing to you about the 6:00 pm Global TV report on the fatal motorcycle accident which occurred yesterday, August 10, 2008, on Oak Street across from the Children’s Hospital. I would first like to give you some background on McNeney & McNeney and myself.
McNeney & McNeney has, for over 30 years, put a great deal of time, effort and money into promoting and protecting motorcyclists and their rights. Jim McNeney was a founding member of the Association for Injured Motorcyclists, Vancouver Chapter. Mr. McNeney also founded the British Columbia Coalition of Motorcyclists, an organization dedicated to providing a united front for motorcyclists in British Columbia. McNeney & McNeney has also supported the Canadian Motorcycle Drag Racing Association for many years.
I was involved in a very serious motorcycle accident when I was 18 years old. My situation was similar to the deceased’s in that the driver of a car turned out in front of me and caused the accident. I suffered numerous serious injuries, the worst being a broken back resulting in my being confined to a wheelchair. Even though no police officer saw the accident I was charged with speeding. After all, I was a young man on a sport motorcycle, so I must have been speeding. It took a two day court battle to prove my innocence. I was fortunate that there were numerous independent witnesses that testified that I was not speeding. You cannot imagine the frustration and pain it caused me to be falsely accused of being the cause of my injuries.
Now consider your report. Immediately after the piece on the accident you broadcast a story titled the “Need for Speed” about the dangers of speeding motorcyclists, and include images of motorcycles drag racing. Whether you intended it or not, by the timing of the two stories, you are perpetuating a serious prejudice and animosity towards motorcyclists, the vast majority of whom are law abiding citizens.
Furthermore, your reports create a perception of liability on the part of the deceased. It appears that you have presupposed the deceased was speeding. This is very hurtful to the motorcycling community and, no doubt, devastating to the family of the deceased.
I ask you to take the time to consider how I was treated after my accident, and how your reporting affects the general public’s perception of motorcyclists. I suggest that clarification of your report would go a long way to mend bridges with the motorcycling community, many of whom are very upset and have contacted me about this story.
I look forward to your written response, which I will pass on to BCCOM, the CMDRA and AIM. Please call me if you have any questions.
Yours very truly,