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Death of a Bike Messenger
Hard-hitting investigative report on the death of bike messenger Casey Moe in 1997. This disturbing story exposes the corporate media's anti-bike bias that has permeated San Francisco for years. It's just one tale of San Francisco's hostile streets, that most recently led to the death of cyclist Chris Robertson. Join bicyclists on April 27 for a peaceful show of numbers that road rage will not be tolerated. A27 Web Site: http://www.scorcher.org/crobertson/a27.html
The following is a detailed examination of how the accuracy of the account of Casey Moe's death in August 1997 severely eroded between the time the Examiner filed its report the day of the accident and the Chronicle filed its report, nearly 24 hours later - after relying on a briefing from the San Francisco Police Department.
If accepted as fact, the Chronicle's remarkably inaccurate portrayal of the circumstances surrounding the death of Casey Moe materially reduces the legal and public relations liabilities of JC Decaux (a city contractor responsible for maintenance of the broken public restrooms in San Francisco and more importantly, the associated advertising kiosks), a patron of both the Chronicle and Willie Brown.
Imagine how this story would have played if accurately presented: a JC Decaux driver, driving with a suspended license and suspected of having been speeding, struck and killed a professional bicycle messenger in a downtown crosswalk during the morning rush hour. Bike messenger Casey Moe, 25, is survived by a one year old son.
Detailed analysis at:
Updates to the original analysis
Update - September 14, 1997: Based on our findings from interviews conducted September 10 and 12 (see below), we revisited the accident scene to see if the alternative version of events - which did not make it to the news - fit the scene. Our conclusion: if the police report of where Casey Moe was struck is accurate, it is possible, if not probable, that he was struck either crossing at the crosswalk or hit from behind while traveling with the flow of traffic, not making an illegal turn into oncoming traffic as was widely reported.
Update - September 12, 1997: Today we spoke directly with the woman who reported a very different version of events She confirmed that the people she spoke to on the scene said Moe was hit after swerving to avoid hitting a pedestrian who suddenly appeared in his way.
We also interviewed Larry Hatfield whose Examiner article was significantly more accurate than the Chronicle article which appeared a day later. He stated that, as far as he could tell, none of the people he interviewed actually saw the cause of the accident. As we suspected, the report that Moe was struck while making an illegal left hand turn onto Sansome came from the San Francisco Police Department - not from any eye witness - and the Chronicle repeated this dubious interpretation of events without checking the facts.
Neither Sergeant Mahoney nor Larry Hatfield said they were aware of the bystanders who reported that Moe was struck while swerving to avoid hitting a pedestrian. If Moe was indeed hit this way, it's possible that rather than traveling east on Market as so many non-eye witnesses have claimed, he may have been traveling west - with the green light - and swerved away from the curb into the path of the van which struck him from the rear. Given the absence of credible eye witnesses and the gross inaccuracy of media reports to date, this is as likely a scenario as any.
Update - September 10, 1997: After talking with the police, our theory that Moe was hit in or near the crosswalk was verified as fact. In addition, we learned by specifically asking that: 1) the issue of the speed the van was traveling was never raised by the investigating officers and 2) there was a JC Decaux executive on the scene within minutes after the accident - even before Sergeant Mike Mahoney of the "hit and run" unit arrived.
For the complete hard hitting investigative report, visit:
Join bicyclists on April 27 for a peaceful show of numbers that road rage will not be tolerated. A27 Web Site:
Contributions to Casey's family may be sent to:
Casey Moe Memorial Fund
c/o SF Fireman's Credit Union
2390 Market St.
SF, CA 94114