An Oneida County man admitted he was looking at a soybean field when he struck and killed a 74-year-old woman riding her bicycle Saturday in Kirkland, NY, according to a police report in the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper.

yield_to_bicycle_signAnd police there have decided NOT to charge the admittedly distracted driver with any crime because, sadly, they apparently don’t understand the laws concerning bicyclists!

Police said Catherine Howard-Gilpin, of Clark Mills, was riding on the right side of Fountain Street, heading north, shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday when she was struck by a pickup truck driven by Franklin Frost, 68, of Sauquoit, who was driving the same direction Gilpin was riding, police said.

Frost told police he looked to the left side of the road into a soybean field. “When he looked back, the bicyclist was in his lane and he was unable to avoid the collision,” police said of Frost’s statement.Police said Frost was not injured.

The newspaper report said Gilpin was not wearing a helmet, according to police. She suffered head and internal injuries, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kirkland police said they do not plan to charge Frost. A police officer said the accident happened on a narrow stretch of the road where there isn’t much of a shoulder.

Isn’t it interesting that despite the fact that the driver admitted he was NOT watching where he was driving, the police say they are not going to ticket him, even though his illegal and negligent inattention killed this poor woman …?

And isn’t it interesting that despite the fact that the law does NOT require a cyclist over the age of 14 to wear a helmet, the news media chooses to emphasize that fact in its headline? Although I am a huge proponent of ALWAYS wearing a helmet, many helmeted cyclists are killed every year, so the fact is that this cyclist may have died even if she was wearing a helmet.

And isn’t it interesting that the police say the cyclist was “in the driver’s lane”? The last time I read the NY Vehicle & Traffic laws, the lanes are for cars AND bicyclists, so the idea that the lane belonged to the driver is just dead wrong.

Hmmmmm, tough for a cyclist to get a break these days with everyone so quick to blame the victim ….

I would encourage all concerned readers to contact Kirkland Police Chief Daniel J. English to voice their outrage directly. His office number is (315) 853-2924 and his email is

Please contact the chief today.

Please be safe out there this fall!

Thanks for reading.



James B. Reed
NY & PA Bike Accident Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
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