Last week Evan Wilder was involved in a bike-car collision at slow speed. After the collision the driver threw his bike into the back of his truck. Then Wilder was ticketed for following too closely. But video from Wilder's bike-mounted camera shows that this was not the case. That he was passed too closely and that the driver merged in front of him without giving him enough room. Now the police are investigating the ticket, which may be waived and the incident, which may result in charges for the driver for destruction of private property.
On Saturday February 22, Lynn headed out for a 200k bicycle ride, just as she had on so many days over the last several decades. Within 30 miles of the finish, a man driving a light colored Honda CR-V hit Lynn and her friend Maile. Maile was hit with a glancing blow of the vehicle and her injuries were painful but not serious. Lynn was hit directly and was critically injured.
The man in the car drove away leaving Lynn and Maile lying in the road.
Many other wonderful citizens stopped immediately to help and the paramedics from Anne Arundel County and Prince George's County Maryland arrived quickly. Lynn was transported by helicopter to the Shock Trauma unit at UM Baltimore Medical Center where she underwent emergency surgery and was placed on life support. She and the outstanding team of medical professionals have fought hard for her life. The road to recovery will be long.
Eyewitnesses identified the make of the vehicle (Honda CR-V) and the appearance of the driver. He was a white male between the ages of 50 and 60 with a dark or gray mustache. The police found the side view mirror at the scene, narrowing down the year range for the vehicle to 1997-98 or 2000-2001. But no license plates were seen. There have been many tips and leads and the Anne Arundel County Police have been working diligently to find the driver. But they have still not found him.
The goal of this campaign is to raise money for a reward for information leading to the capture and prosecution of the driver. We hope that a substantial reward will help to trigger someone's memory of a friend or neighbor who showed up with a damaged CR-V on the night of February 22nd.
If the reward is not given, the money raised will be used to cover Lynn's substantial medical expenses. -
Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Rachel Dombrowski said Rachel Anna Buckler was driving on Chapel Point Road when she struck Thomas Roepcke with the driver side of her vehicle and continued driving, leaving the man injured on the side of a road. Roepcke was not found until hours after the crash, about 3 a.m. Sept. 2, and succumbed to his injuries in a local hospital Sept. 10.
Text message records indicate that Buckler had been drinking that evening, Dombrowski said.
So, what's the penalty for such a crime?
Buckler was sentenced to a year in prison and has since been released.
But she actually got out a few days early to spend the holidays with her family, and was given both school and work release privileges. That's nice.
Now, Buckler’s attorney Robert Hetherington said, she is remorseful and would like to be a nurse. However, her felony charge prevents her from realizing this particular dream, Hetherington said, as nurses cannot have felony charges on their records. Hetherington requested her sentence be changed to probation before judgment, which would have effectively expunged her record.
“Given her choice of profession, a felony conviction amounts to a life sentence,” Hetherington said. “It will forever keep her from being a nurse. ... She wants to give back, to make up for these tragic events. She has served her punishment.”
No, a life sentence is actually very different. You just can't do a job that requires a history of responsibility. You know who else can't be a nurse? Thomas Roepcke. But wait, there's more.
Dombrowski also noted this is not Buckler’s first time hitting a person with her car: an accident she was in during 2008 when she struck a cyclist resulted in the cyclist developing epilepsy and suffering from complications related to the concussion he got.
I'm just going to let that sit for awhile.
During the investigation of the incident that killed Roepcke, Dombrowski said Buckler told officers she had only ever struck deer.
In fact, Buckler said she thought she’d hit a deer the night she killed Roepcke, Dombrowski said. A text message Buckler received from a friend that evening read “Rachel-1, deer-0. Think of it that way,” according to phone records obtained by the state.
Tracy Roepcke [the victim's brother] took particular issue with Buckler saying she mistook his brother for a deer, given the “hair, blood and bits of his clothing and bicycle” that were found on her vehicle.
The judge denied her request.
“She showed no mercy. I don’t believe my denial ... will be a loss to the nursing profession,” Bragunier said. “She could have saved a life, but she chose to save her own skin. Buckler’s life is not ruined. She still has one.”
And one last bit
Tracy Roepcke also spoke of the ire he held for the state’s attorney’s office for allowing Buckler to plead guilty.
Speaking on Thursday afternoon in a phone interview, Charles County State’s Attorney Anthony “Tony” Covington (D) said he could not say exactly why Buckler had been afforded the Alford plea in the first place without going back and re-examining court records but did say such pleas are not uncommon.
Despite new laws passed to prevent these kinds of things, another driver who killed a cyclist will walk away with only traffic fines.
A motorist won't face criminal charges in an August accident that killed an assistant track coach at Annapolis High School.
Anne Arundel County prosecutors announced Friday that a grand jury has declined to indict 37-year-old Whitney Decesaris. She will be charged with negligent driving and other traffic offenses.
“The grand jury determined that there was no probable cause to charge the driver with Criminally Negligent Manslaughter, which would have required a finding that she drove in a manner that was a gross deviation of the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the circumstances,” said a six-paragraph statement issued by the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s office. “As a result of the grand jury’s decision, the Anne Arundel County police will issue negligent driving and related traffic offenses to the driver by citation.”
The four traffic citations — failure to exercise caution, driving left of the center line and unsafe passing, negligent driving and failure to control speed — each carries a maximum fine of $500. Decesaris can pay the $2,000 in fines or contest the citations in court.
“I’m scared to ride now,” said Mark Hamilton, a county resident who took up cycling this year while nursing a running injury. “Precedent has been set that if someone kills me, it will only cost them $2,000 in traffic fines.”
“If there were ever a case that could clearly be made for [criminally negligent manslaughter], it’s this one,” said Alex Pline, who made a video that showed the approach to the accident scene as Cunningham and DeCesaris would have seen it.
It also sounds like DeCesaris lied
A car suddenly appeared from the other direction, police were told, and DeCesaris swerved back to the right and slammed into Cunningham. Impact marks on the front bumper of DeCesaris’s minivan were about 10 inches from the right side of the vehicle, indicating that Cunningham was struck directly from behind, according to someone with knowledge of the investigation.
Leitess’s spokeswoman, Heather Stone, also refused to answer when asked if political pressure had been exerted on Leitess from the well-connected family of the driver. Decesaris is part of a family that developed much of Prince George’s and southern Anne Arundel counties. The Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute at the Anne Arundel Medical Center is named for members of her family.
“Starting today, I need to forget what’s gone, appreciate what still remains, and look forward to what’s coming next"
If only Trish Cunningham had that option. Maybe DeCesaris should go to jail and maybe not, but she certainly should not drive again for a very long time.
The Family says
“It was our hope that out of this tragedy some good could come and a higher awareness of the need for cars and bikes to respect each other and the space needed for cyclists to safely ride on the roads; however it appears that the States Attorney’s office has determined that unless drugs, alcohol or phone use was involved it is open season on bicycles in Maryland. The loss to our family was huge and we understand that nothing can bring Trish back, but to do nothing but issuing a traffic ticket only compounds the tragedy and is unacceptable. Based upon our investigation, we believe that the Defendant (contrary to some news reports) never crossed the center line or attempted to pass until after Trish was struck from behind. There is no explanation as to how she failed to see Trish when it is a long straight hill and why she failed to do anything to avoid the wreck or even considered closing and passing a bicycle (or any vehicle) on a blind hill. We also look forward the complete file being released so the public can make up their own minds as to whether charges should have been filed.”
Penney, an experienced cyclist, was struck by a car while riding his bike on Sligo Creek Parkway at about 11:30 a.m. on Thursday. Scott Davis, 23, of the 10900 block of Bucknell Drive in Wheaton, was driving a 1986 Volkswagen south on Sligo Creek Parkway near Dallas Avenue, according to Montgomery County Police.
For unknown reasons, Davis crossed the road's center line, striking Penney, police said. Penney was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring; Davis was taken to Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park with non-life-threatening injuries.
Scott A. Davis was not drunk and did not leave the scene, but he was charged, prosecute and convicted of vehicular manslaughter, which is pretty unusual as noted in the NYT article
“We do not know of a single case of a cyclist fatality in which the driver was prosecuted, except for D.U.I. or hit-and-run,” Leah Shahum, the executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, told me.
So looking him up I found the court records of his case. He was convicted in March 2003, and sentenced to 7 years in prison (with all but three suspended). But it looks to me like there were several appeals made and denied and some hearings on probation violations and then it is unclear what finally happens. Can anyone understand this better than me. Did he ever go to prison for this?
After a 9 year old boy was killed in a crash with a car last month, many commenters wondered if the driver was speeding, and some expressed a wish that cars be equipped with black boxes.
The thing is that many cars are equipped with a "black box" and it's likely the one in this crash, an Infiniti Q56, was as well.
Automotive "black boxes" are now built into more than 90 percent of new cars, and the government is considering making them mandatory.
And that's up to 96% in 2013.
In cars, they're usually called Electronic Data Recorders (EDR) or sometimes the Airbag Control Module,
EDRs are part of a car's safety system, which has to make split-second decisions, for example, whether to pull seat belts tighter or inflate the airbags. And engineers like to see data from real-world crashes to track how those systems are working. So the EDRs save the crash data, and as safety systems grow more complex, the recorders keep saving more information.
They weren't designed for investigative purposes but rather for safety. However, in at least one recent bicycle fatality similar data were used to prosecute a driver.
Such data would seem to be very useful to the public. It could help car and road designers make both safer, and it could help to prosecute drivers whose negligence leads to a death or injury of another. And for those reasons, the "National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed making the devices mandatory on all new cars, starting next year." But Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass wants to let drivers opt out of using them.
"I would argue that this is a device that the average person should be able to turn off if they so desire," he says.
The reason appears to be privacy concerns.
"Consumers should have control over the information collected by event data recorders in vehicles that they own and they should have the option of disabling the device if they choose to do so. This is a basic issue of privacy," stated Congressman Mike Capuano.
I have to disagree, because while the EFF and Capuno have some valid concerns (about who can access the data, what it records and who owns it), those are addressed by current regulations.
In keeping with NHTSA's current policies on EDR data, the EDR data would be treated by NHTSA as the property of the vehicle owner and would not be used or accessed by the agency without owner consent.
EDRs do not collect any personal identifying information or record conversations and do not run continuously
So, drivers already have the right to "opt out", just after the crash - unless they're a suspect in a criminal investigation. Codify the current regulations capping the data types and quantity and defining who owns it and who can access it into law if there are concerns about the regulations being changed, but don't let drivers turn the devices off.
If one is worried that this is a privacy violation, consider that - with a warrant - we can make drivers submit to a blood test. You can't tell me that downloading data off their car's computer is more invasive.
Govtrack gives the law, co-sponsored by western Virginia's Morgan Griffith, a low chance of passing (4%), so I guess for once gridlock is working. But for the sake of making roads safer, and prosecuting unsafe drivers, we need to make the installation and use of these devices mandatory, while putting in reasonable privacy protections for drivers.
With the new section of the MBT open, that means that the entirety of the planned trail from Union Station to Bates Road, with the exception of the ramp at L Street, is open. There is a cycletrack being installed on 1st Street NE, but that is more of an upgrade than an initial section. Still, I really wish we'd gotten the tunnel under Monroe Street as orignally proposed.
Maryland has a new Secretary of Transportation, James T. Smith Jr.. The Post interviews several transportation advocates about him starting with AAA's Lon Anderson, only one mentions biking "Michele Whelley, head of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, said business leaders in her group want more commuter train service, as well as road improvements around Aberdeen Proving Ground and Fort Meade. They also want to see new sidewalks and bike lanes to better link Fort Meade with two commuter rail stations." I'm guessing they didn't interview Shane Farthing of WABA or Carol Silldorff of Bike Maryland.
Several years ago, Fairfax County cancelled a program by which citizens could report bad drivers who then got letters asking them to be good drivers. It was cancelled due to cost but the chief of police thinks that part of the reason was "people didn’t like getting these letters." Still, Hunter McCleary of FABB has a suggestion for where the money to continue the program could be found. "This month Fairfax County launched a program to rid many roadsides of illegally placed advertising."
The studies indicated that speed limits along N. Meade Street, Clarendon Blvd and Wilson Blvd could be decreased from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour. The N. Sycamore Street/N. Roosevelt Street studies indicated the speed limit could be lowered from 35 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour.
The only cost involved will be approximately $5,000 for signage, county staff say. The public hearing is slated for Sept. 21.
"If you were to review news reporting about trails (shared use paths, used by bicyclists and pedestrians) in the DC area over the course of a year, for multiple years, you would see an increase in crimes reported every Spring."
This isn't really a biking story, it's more of an unsafe gun handling story, but yeah, a cyclist was riding along in Herndon when a handgun discharged as it was being loaded inside a house and the cyclist was shot in the abdomen. The cyclist was taken to a hospital for surgery. John E. Albers, 49, was charged with willfully discharging a firearm in a public place resulting in injury and taken to the county detention center. This is why we need to register bikes.
A 66-year-old was riding a bicycle Friday afternoon along the shoulder of Route 1 in Bethany Beach. Reportedly, she tried to cross over the northbound lanes of the highway in a diagonal direction into the path of vehicles. One vehicle was able to brake and swerve to avoid hitting her. That maneuver forced another vehicle to brake and swerve to the left, striking her. She was thrown from the bicycle and died at the scene.