48-year-old Diane M. Whitman of Montgomery Village, was biking east on Olney Laytonsville Road around 6:30 am when she was hit from behind by a 2011 Toyota Camry, also traveling east, driven by 30-year-old Heather Simmons of Damascas. Whitman was declared dead at the scene.
Simmons stayed at the scene after striking the cyclist, according to Capt. Paul Starks, spokesman for the Montgomery County Police Dept. Simmons was later taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police are still investigating the circumstances of the crash. Anyone with information is asked to call police at (301) 840-2435.
This is the first regional bike fatality in almost 8 months. [Speaking of which, does anyone know what happened in the Danielle Marie Cooper case? The name of the driver was never made public, and I've heard nothing about it since. But it is a similar crash to this one.]
The crash occurred about 30 minutes after sunrise, so I wouldn't be surprised if driving into the sun weren't part of the problem (they were heading east). That's by no means an excuse, just a thought. It will be interesting to see what investigators find. Of course at the top of the list is the construction of areas that require the use of traffic sewers to get any place. People who say she shouldn't have been riding on that road seem to ignore the fact that there really aren't any other choices if you're trying to get some place. The problem is one of road design, and road network design.
ABC7 had a story on this and a few things stand out. They interview a woman who says she won't bike the road anymore and instead she'll drive her bike to any place she wants to ride it - and that's sad. There is a sense from people they talk to that no one really thinks biking on Olney-Latonsville Road is a good idea, and so there is a little implication that the cyclist is to blame for even biking there.
But most striking is that ABC7 calls the road Route 108 (on TV at least) instead of Olney-Latonsville Road. Now I don't want to get all conspiracy-theory about it - and honestly I don't know what people call the road normally[Update: it appears that it is some form of 108 or Route 108] - but talking about getting hit on "Route 108" conjures up a very different image than "Olney-Latonsville Road." I'm not saying that's intentional, but I find it interesting. [Also they have a lot of a-hole commenters on their website]