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We can't discount the possibility that the cyclist was on the shoulder and the motorist wasn't paying attention and drifted into him. Certainly the position of the bike and the damage to the car is more suggestive of that than the explanation offered. But as you note, the position of the cyclist is irrelevant -- every user of the roads has a duty not to run into the other users. If she had rear-ended a car that had stopped to make a right turn would anyone care whether the turning car was all the way over to the right of the lane?

Sadly, Maryland is a contributory negligence state, so if even 1% of the responsiblity is pinned on the cyclist, the motorist isn't responsible.

Police said the preliminary investigation indicates the car's driver was traveling within the posted 40-mph speed limit, as she was on her way to a college campus.

"He was an avid bicyclist," Peck said. "He had a valid [driver's] license. He chose to ride his bike."

Maybe i'm taking it out of context, but that sentence gives me the creeps.

Contrarian, I didn't understand that line either. Does no one speed when going to a college campus? Contrib, I think, only refers to the civil standard not criminal. Still if Maryland is like Virginia, they'll need to prove gross negligence not just negligence as the former is illegal but the latter is not. If she wasn't speeding, drunk or texting at the time, I think it's just negligence.

darren, whoops on the name and yeah, I didn't get that line either. Were they making the point that he hadn't lost his license (aka drunk driver)?

My in-laws still don't have it after three years, no worries.

Maybe i'm paranoid, but I read it as "he could have prevented this by just driving, it wasn't like he HAD to bike." Cycling as contributory negligence. I spent 8 years down there, and nothing surprises me about St. Mary's County.

From the damage to the car and its location, as well as that of the bike, it looks like he was riding as far to the right as he believed safe and practicable.

No speeding? That is quite some damage to the car. Maryland law requires you to operate your vehicle in a safe manner: that means that if you cannot see things in front of you (like a cyclist) then you need to slow down.

As said before, if she had hit a car, or a cop on a motorbike, I don't think we would be blaming the victim.

There was some discussion on CPABC (I think) about what defines a shoulder. Someone (again I forget who) quoted a MDOT official as saying a shoulder was wide enough to support a four wheel vehicle. What you have in the photo above is called a "supporting surface". Unfortunately the official couldn't provide anything written to back up his statement.

I've wrecked more than a few cars in my day and that is some serious damage. It's also pretty clear as SJE points out, that he wasn't riding down the middle of the road.

I'd think that one of the key elements of driving a car is watching what's in front of you. That’s pretty basic to operating any vehicle; be it a bike, car, lawnmower, skateboard...etc. That said I’m amazed how many drivers seem to look right at me and then turn into me while riding my bike.

To Grendel's comment, Maryland's definition of a shoulder is: "that portion of a highway contiguous
with the roadway for the accommodation of stopped vehicles, for
emergency use, and for the lateral support of the base and surface
courses of the roadway."

So three purposes are linked with the connector "and." Does that mean that a piece of pavement has to serve all three purposes to qualify as a shoulder? If otherwise, shouldn't the connector be "or"? The presumption is usually that the legislature knew what it was doing when it chose the words for statutes.

So much discussion about the cyclist. Was he far enough right in the shoulder? Did he choose to ride his bike instead of drive? Was he wearing his helmet?

On the other hand, the driver was perhaps not speeding so....case closed? Should we all stop wondering about whether she did anything wrong? Just a regrettable mistake (which she'll have to live with for the rest of her life)?

Practically every day, I see drivers talking on their cell phones or texting. Seldom are they speeding. In fact, they slow down so that they can look at their phones or to just think about their conversations instead of the road. They are oblivious to the outside world. Just sayin'

I'll go on to say that there is nothing really unusual about a driver failing to stop for something in his path. According the NHTSA there are almost two million rear-endings a year in the US, accounting for just under 30% of all collisions. Drivers drive into stuff all the time -- about once every 17 seconds, on average.

What is unusual is the person being run into being blamed for the accident.

Even if you accept the premise of him being in the middle of the lane, then she was driving over the double yellow. That's the only way his "center roadway" matches up with that impact on the extreme right of her car. If she didn't see him, then what reason did she have to be crossing the double yellow line?

You don't get that amount of damage hitting a 15mph cyclist at 40 mph. 60 maybe.

I think it's funny that they cut the mail box out of the picture. INPACT was beside the MAIL BOX!!! So why do you think he was out in the road. Still how not see him when there is no turn at that spot? And the sun was behind her!!

not to mention I thought bicycles always had the right away to cars. This is my family

I imagine the bicyclist will be assessed blame for riding in an unsafe manner, whether or not he was obeying the law. He got hit, so therefore whatever he was doing must have been unsafe. Most police officers (and drivers) believe bicycling in the road is inherently unsafe anyway, so the rider was behaving in an unsafe manner simply by being on a bike, right? If the rider gets hit, all the more proof. Wasn't Alice Swanson officially faulted for riding too fast for conditions? She was hit, therefore whatever speed she was going must have been unsafe (given the "condition" of a truck driver making an illegal turn across the bike lane).

Contrarian: you make an EXCELLENT point. If the "shoulder" is defined by the "and" then the area that was shown in the photo is not officially the shoulder, at least as understood in that statute.

I visited the scene where Leymeister succumbed to his death. There is a shoulder, and on that shoulder is a mailbox that is approx. 10 inches in overhang within that shoulder. It is clear that Leymeister was avoiding contact with the mailbox. Infact the mailbox has multiple dents, damage etc. I Compared other mailboxes on the same route, they do not overtake shoulder space. None the less, we have a bicyclist who infact was obeying the law,the area of roadway has a clear visual span. and Leymeister was hit by a car being driven by a student. @ 7:58 am. 1) What time was her class ? Was she running late? 2) Was she texting/on the phone? Let investigators answer those few questions and make them as headlined as " He had a Valid drivers license and The bicyclist appeared to be in the road" This cannot be overlooked.

Would a 3-foot law eliminate the ambiguity of negligence and fault? Regardless of where the bicycle was in the roadway, the driver clearly violated the 3-foot rule.

Exactly. Maryland has a 3 foot passing law and it doesn't say "Unless the cyclists is too far from the right."

Police said the preliminary investigation indicates the car's driver was traveling within the posted 40-mph speed limit, as she was on her way to a college campus.

Contrarian: Read that as "the car's driveer was traveling within the posted 40-mph speed limit, WHILE she was on her way to a college campus", not "the car's driver was travelling within the posted 40-mph speed limit, BECAUSE she was on her way to a college campus". It is simply a compound sentence that says she wasn't speeding and was on her way to campus. It took me three times of reading the sentence to realize that's what they meant. Awkward wording.

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