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From the police news release:

"Preliminary investigation by patrol units indicated that the bicyclist was northbound on the sidewalk of the southbound side of Fenton Street and was approaching Silver Spring Avenue. A 2004 Toyota Corolla was traveling westbound on Silver Spring Avenue and was approaching Fenton Street on a green light. The bicyclist entered the intersection on a red light and collided with the Corolla. The bicyclist, who was not wearing a helmet, was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. ..."


They have already reported that the cyclist entered the intersection on a red and the driver on a green, although I would imagine those are the very circumstances they are referring to as being still under investigation.

Would be nice to hear Jesus's side. Just 23 years old. Very tragic indeed.

I've never rode this intersection before but based on google maps Silver Spring Ave appears to be a 25 mph zone with speed bumps.

I wish the police would report on things more relevant than helmets: did the cyclist have lights, was he wearing dark colors, was either party speeding, DUI, etc.

I've ridden the road a lot and I ride on Fenton, but the road surface kind of sucks and it feels a little unfriendly at times.

This is also after dark, so I wonder what the light situation was.

Why are the police mentioning the helmet in this case , where as they have not done so in others? Could this be because the man died of a head injury?

david, maybe (though they mentioned it this morning when he had only been hit). But I think SJE is correct that whether or not he had a front light is more relevant. Because it was at night, and it's the law.

Exactly, Washcycle. What the police choose to mention suggests that this factor was relevant to the cause of the incident. Its like the moral of the story.

The cause of the accident? The cyclist ran a red light. Plan and simple. Not if he was on the road or sidewalk or if he was wearing a helmet.

Running red lights and stop signs is one of the most risky and stupidest things peds, cyclists and drivers can do.

Yes, this is a horrible accident, but one that could have been very easily avoided. Blame is not on the mode of transportation but the running of a red light.

That's the primary cause, but there were contributing factors.

Who provided the witness testimony that resulted in the police concluding that the cyclist ran the red?

In motor vehicle accidents with cyclists, there's often not a second side to the story. For all we know, it was the driver who ran the red, but as the driver is the only one able to tell their side, that's the side that got reported.

Not saying that's the case here, but as the case is still under investigation, you just don't know

i was going to say what urban engineer did...

silver spring is a dump; and filled with marginal economic ameriucnas, usually of minority ethnic makeup. its part of MoCo -- which means it is bike hostile. like takoma park (the berkeley of the east?! pleeeezze...) there is not a single bike lane. the two main roads are between six and nine lanes wide.

silver spring is unrecoverable as a quality place. and i say this knowing first hand that it is light years better today than it was ten yeaars ago.

and no, the MBT will never be completed. and, no, the new transist center wont help either. (dedicated high spped bus on closed routes, like in south america and europe would be hugely helpful...but this is the usa-- that will never happen).

@satan - There's a bike lane on Carroll and (faded) sharrows on Maple. Sligo Creek Parkway closes Sundays but is open to bikes. I believe Takoma Park has some of the "bikes may use full lane" signs too.

Not only are there some bike routes in downtown Silver Spring (Second Avenue, Grove Street), there is the separated Green Trail along Wayne Avenue. 16th Street now has "Bikes may use full lane" signs on the hill south of Second Avenue. I ride through downtown Silver Spring all the time; it's fine. If it's dark, i use lights; i don't run lights in crosswalks, etc.

Yet another tragedy.

If you want to get useful information from the police investigation, you might have to be persistent. After a fatal bike crash in Bethesda 8 years ago they did not want to talk to concerned citizens about the crash or release the crash report days if not weeks later. In an ultimately fatal crash in upper Silver Spring around the same time, MCPD did only a cursory search for the hit & run driver, and did not put a detective on the case until a bicyclist (me) demanded it and even then didn't put the right kind of detective on it until the victim died a month later (he never woke up).

I agree with satan.

Silver Spring is a dump.

My (ex)wife's parents' lived there from the 1960's, until 2004. When my (ex)wife n' I were dating(1987-1992), I was always thinking how, I would have preferred going into NE DC despite all the drug problems, than go into Silver Spring.

Silver Spring is home to the area's finest Cameroonian restaurant - Roger Miller's on Bonifant Street. I recommend the Njama Njama.

some thoughts

A. IF he did run the red, he was particularly at fault coming from the sidewalk, since that is the last place anyone would be looking for a cyclcist running a red.
B. even more so, going against the flow of traffic in the travel lanes
C. Crossing from the sidewalk, agains the flow of the travel lanes, its probably a good idea to dismount and cross as a pedestrian, even streets that arent that bad
D. I too wonder if he had lights - in my experience helmetless sidewalk riders often also lack lights.

I haven't been to Roger Miller, but Silver Spring is home to the area's finest Burmese restaurant—Mandalay Café, which is right across the street from Roger Miller. I recommend anything with the tomato-onion-cilantro base. The gram fritters are also very tasty.

My comments are spam again…

"Silver Spring is a dump"? Really?

I washit at night by a motorcycle I had both head and tail lights on at the time. I suffered a concussion and much of the incident I do not remember to this day, that was about 30 years ago, I am alive , I had a helmet on. True this is the only time I was so saved in more then 40 years of cycling but what if I did not have the helmet? The report shows me ending up some 140 feet from point of impact. We were both taken to hospital. The frame was twisted beyond all use. What if I did not have a helmet? I recall a friend who was hit, broad side. I went to the hospital to see him. He has lost vision in one eye and now to this day he is not the same. He seems not to even recognize me or many other of his friends. No helmet. Then there was the man who was hit on 17th st. I have not checked up on him lately but no news is good news. He too was an associate and I know many of his closes friends. But like I said I was only maybe saved once in forty or more years of often very reckless biking but now I always wear my helmet. Now if this were Amsterdam then perhaps I would not feel so but Here in DC there are people who drive drunk, texting etc. , not to mention shooting. Btw the one time I had a bike stolen it was at gun point. As to the law the man who hit me admitted to having 5 or 6 beers at the scene. Nonetheless his attorney got the whole matter thrown out because the officer question him without an attorney. I gone to stop now as I get angry when I think about the courts and I would not want to post anything in bad taste. If you get hit at that time it is better to have a helmet then a light or a lawyer. Those maters will come later for you or your next of kin as the case maybe.

This is very sad. I agree that there is a need for lights, though it might not have mattered if the driver was coming from his side. One wonders about his speed and the side reflectivity.

On the issue of police reporting on helmet use: I think that this may be a result of the accident reporting system. The FARS data (I think that is Fatal Accident Reporting System) is rudimentary for cyclists. But there seems to have been an effort since 2010 to at least include the helmet question. So if helmet-or-not is one of the questions that the police are required to address in the accident reporting system, it makes sense that they will give that information out.

I would like to see both front and rear lights reported, though of course it will be more difficult to know whether they were working.

David: I don't dispute that helmets can be useful and even save lives in certain situations. I also don't disagree with Joe that the primary cause of the accident is crossing against the light. My point, should it have been missed, is that we don't know the full story. Without complete data, we don't know what works.

antibozo, I have a ticket in with typepad to fix this.

If you get hit at that time it is better to have a helmet then a light or a lawyer.

In most cases, this is probably true, but I'm unclear as to how it is relevant.

In 3 incidents that cyclist died this year the present case , the Lamont street case and the one at Maryland ave. S.W. I believe all involved head trauma . This is much more of a problem in broadside hits .I to wish the reports contained more date but I shall not place "data" ahead of first hand observation after all when you observation something directly that is indeed the scientific method.

washcycle, thanks.

David: I agree that observations are useful. There are four caveats.
1. there are many cases when "no helmet" was reported incorrectly
2. there is very inconsistent data gathering and reporting. We always seems to hear about helmets (and that can also be wrong), but not other issues.
3. Helmets are good for only certain categories of head trauma and degrees of injury. If you are hit by a truck, head trauma is only part of the problem (blood loss, internal injuries, rhabdomyolysis, heart trauma, infection).
4. Cause of death is only part of the story. Unless we know more, we end up focussing on a protective measure (e.g. helmets) instead of regulatory and behavioral changes that might be better and cheaper.

My concern is that we see inaccurate and incomplete reporting, and it being used to advance a preplanned agenda (helmets) ahead of public safety. We end up with everyone wearing helmets, but little change in death becuase of cyclists without lights, roads that are poorly designed, and drivers without responsibility.

As per standard the cause of the accident is slowly being pushed back and the minor things contributing to the accident take the for front.(If the first police report is correct as to the cyclist running the light)

What I'm learning is that if I have lights, refelctors a helmet and ride in the road and never on the sidewalk then I can run lights and expect to be safe.

(Note: I almost always wear my helmet but thats not what saves my life, it's making smart choices such as not running lights that keep me alive.)

Joe, if there's nobody coming you can run the light without endangering yourself. In that case it technically doesn't even matter whether you have lights.


I do not run reds.

I do see riders, especially in the city, who treat reds as stops and proceed through them deliberately. I don't think thats what happened in this case. I am leary into this turning into a "those scofflaw cyclists" thing that conflates really terrible behavior with arguably sometimes safe (if not lawful) behavior. I do note that there is way too little attention paid to proper lights at night all around.

I don't generally run reds. But if it's 2 a.m. and there is no one in sight and little chance of anyone coming along in the next 15 seconds, i'll stop but i will then proceed through. Because of my work schedule, this scenario actually occurs once in a while.

Typepad reports that they recently changed spam vendors, but if I keep pulling your comments out of the spam folder eventually it will learn. Sigh...

Joe, the real cause was that he pulled out and hit a moving car (or maybe it hit him). Red light or no, that is a bad idea. If you want to get to the REAL cause.

The red light should be a guide as to what is going on, but as we all know you can get hit while going on green or be safe when going on red. There's no magic there.

WHY he pulled out when a car was coming we'll never really know. But that he didn't see it, or he didn't see the light or both are probable explanations. And why didn't he see things? Low visibility caused by being in a bad place (the far sidewalk) with no lights at night. It also explains why the driver didn't see him. We've probably all been saved when someone else was paying attention and we screwed up. He wasn't and part of the reason may have been low visibility on his part.

We try to set traffic up so that two drivers have to make a mistake for there to be a crash - that's the idea of defensive driving. We make things complicated to do this. So, let's not oversimplify it, because it's complicated by design.

I've ridden there before and second whomever said the road kind of sucks. There has been some construction nearby and parts of the road were somewhat grated.

Of course, given a choice I would ride Fenton over Georgia any day of the week. People typically go the 30mph speed limit on Fenton. GA is a crapshoot with people speeding, randomly merging because of sudden areas with cars parked, etc.

Definitely quite tragic. The helmet is the magic missing element here imo.

washcycle, thanks. I wonder what it is about my comments that seems so spammy to them. (I assume this isn't happening to a bunch of other folks.)

No. So it must be either your name or your ip address.

For the individual. My concern is not for public propaganda but rather for the individual. It is good to learn from experience but that often comes too late. So it is better to learn from other peoples experiences there by avoiding many hard "bumps". So I offer some of my experiences I am petty near an anarchist it is far from he to tell anybody what to do but if I have travel a road then I feel I should tell others of hazards that I have seen. Now they can take the advice or they can decide not too, I just trying to do a favor. What can the individual do to protect him or herself. You may hope to influence the good driver not to hit you with lights but the drunks etc. i.e. there are factors beyond your control. What can the individual do to protect him or herself. That is my concern. Helmet laws , whether or not more people are going to bike or not i.e. telling others what to do is just not something I care for. I rather just go for a ride. With my helmet on after all I want to keep both eyes pointing in the same direction.

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