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Via The Baltimore Sun:

The family of a bicyclist who was killed last year in a collision with a truck on Maryland Avenue has filed a wrongful death suit against the driver and his employer.

On Aug. 4, John R. “Jack” Yates, 67, was riding his bike south on Maryland Avenue behind a truck when he got caught in the vehicle’s rear wheels as it turned right on Lafayette Avenue, police said at the time. He died at the scene.

The civil suit, filed Wednesday in Baltimore City Circuit Court on behalf of Yates’ wife, son and daughter, seeks $5 million in compensatory damages for negligence by driver Michael Dale Chandler of Severn and Potts & Callahan Inc. The demolition, excavation and equipment rental company is located on Lafayette Avenue.

Baltimore police investigators determined that Yates was at fault because he was riding in the parking lanes and tried to pass the truck. No charges were filed against Chandler.

But Steven D. Silverman, the attorney representing Yates’ family, said that the driver and his company were negligent because a surveillance video shows he turned right without signaling.

Also, “he took a right turn without making sure it was clear and free of traffic — cyclists or pedestrians,” he said.

The lawyer also argued that Yates was not negligent because statutes governing bicyclists require them to stay with the flow of traffic, as far to the right as possible.

“That’s exactly what Mr. Yates did,” he said.

More here, and, I’m sure, terrible comments from all the jerks in the state.

Have I just been living under a rock, or is this the first time it’s been made public that it was Potts & Callahan’s driver who was driving the truck?

I’m glad that Mr. Yates’ family is sticking to it, since it seems like the Police gave up.


With this cold, wet, snowy mess hitting Baltimore today, I thought perhaps we could use photos of that beautiful, sunny November day when we all paid tribute to Jack Yates and to cycling in [North] Baltimore.

Josh, from Baltimore Bicycle Works.


Liam, from Cyclosity.


GHCC board member John.


Finally, Mr. Dan finishing the ride!

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Baltimore bike bloggers (left to right): Barry, Johnny, Zack, Dan, Dave.  I feel like I should write something about the relationship between coffee and cycling, given the “You’re going for COFFEE?!” that ensued when ElRo went to get us some brews.  But I’m tired, and it’s Friday, and this weather is driving me toward the coffee itself.  I just like this picture.

[Photo courtesy of GHCC.]

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I didn’t get a chance to take a lot of photos because I was enjoying meeting everyone on the plaza.  Then, as you probably know, my MFin drive-side rear spoke blew in Waverly, and I had to bail like 2 miles into the ride when my tire and frame were getting too friendly. (Only after that did I learn about those awesome fiber spokes.) My wheels have been nothing but trouble since I got my bike this summer. I have to see if the good folks at the shot can do a warranty wheel replacement for me. Anyway, here are the first half of the share-ables I do have.
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ElRo has four times as many as I do, so stay tuned.

The Baltimore Sun, whose photographer stayed the entire time.

Kali Durga, with excellent photos.

Bikes N Coffee (two of my favorite things).

Photos in the Baltimore Bikes Flickr group (to which ya’ll are encouraged to add photos of all Baltimore bike activity, to highlight the awesomeness in our awesome city).

Greater Homewood Community Corporation.

The Baltimore Messenger.

Video from Liam!

Stayed tuned for more!

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This is the second Tour de Greater Homewood, a ride around North-Central Baltimore celebrating the good work that The Greater Homewood Community Corporation does to help build strong and healthy neighborhoods. This year, the ride honors the late Jack Yates, a former GHCC board member. The University of Baltimore is donating the space as part of the UB Green efforts, as Jack was not only a UB alum but was also a graduate student at UB.

If possible, please RSVP to the event on Facebook here.

Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!

1:00pm-4:oopm

Gordon Plaza at the University of Baltimore: Corner of Mount Royal Avenue and Maryland Avenue.

Participants will be required to sign a waiver (so that you can’t sue UB or GHCC if something happens to you or your bike).

Participants will be encouraged to make the suggested donation of $10, which will go to youth programming at Greater Homewood Community Corporation, to programs similar to those to which Jack Yates was dedicated.

Participants will get a sweet spokecard, designed  by artist Christina Ralls (you can see the images in this post).

Members of Jack’s family will be on in attendance! We will have a few speakers before the ride.

There are two routes, both of which will begin and end at the same place at UB.  There will be ride leaders (including several Eagle Scouts and one EMS — no kidding) to help with any mechanical difficulties and to help folks find their way.  Also, all participants will be given a set of directions on paper, which should be easy to follow.  The longer ride is the proper Tour de Greater Homewood.  You can view an interactive map of this route here.  The shorter ride is the Tour de Central Baltimore, for which you can find the map here.

If you have any questions, please don’t  hesitate to leave a comment.  If we don’t have the answer, we’ll get it for you.

And many thanks go out to everyone who’s volunteering and everyone who’s worked to get the word out.

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Leave a comment with your email address (no one sees it) if you’d like a PDF of this flier you can print!  This image will also be on the front of the spokecard participants will get. This was excellently and graciously created by artist and NBBB member Christina Ralls, who is available for graphics work I am told.

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With the Jack Yates Memorial Ride and Tour de Greater Homewood only six days away, it’s time to call upon experienced cyclists to serve as ride leaders! What do we need ride leaders to do? Study the route and help folks along the way. That is, RIDE, and then help folks find their way. We probably all do this regularly, but now it might be dozens of people asking for your help.

This is a link to the route on Google Maps (CLICK!) if you’d curious about the venue. It amounts to about 14.5 miles all told. There will be a shorter (@4-5 miles) ride that we also need a volunteer or two to lead.

We could also use help with registration (getting waivers signed; handing out spokecards; collecting donations). You’d still get to ride; you just might be behind everyone else.

We have two ride leaders and two volunteers for registration.  We need more!  If you’d like to help out, please leave a comment — or email us (northbaltimorebikebrigadeATyahooDOTcom).

Stay tuned to more ride details.

Mark your calendars for Sunday, November 8th, at 1pm for the Tour du/de Greater Homewood, being held this year as a memorial to Mr. Jack Yates, who was their board member and friend.  Mr. Yates’ family will be joining us.

Stay tuned for details and a call for volunteers (!).

At Baltimore Spokes.  Is it me, or does this email from the police sound almost hostile or, at least, annoyed?

Edit:

The Baltimore Sun reports that the cyclist was officially at fault, despite conflicting accounts of whether and when BCPD found the truck and also a statement that the investigation is not over?

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Zack and Dan and I had coffee tonight with Zack’s four month old son.  Then Dan and I took a long walk around Hampden, Rolden and Roland Park, sipping root beers, talking about the direction this blog has been heading lately.  When we started this website and our tongue-in-cheek bike “club”, we had nothing in mind but fun.  Why blog?  To spread the fun.  Environmental issues aren’t going to get as many people to ride bikes as posting pictures and paragraphs about having a fun ride will.  Maybe I’m just hedonistic?

I fully realize that I am largely to blame for the recent negativity.  Perhaps some of my recent posts would have been better on my personal blog (five years and going strong!).  In my defense, seeing a fallen cyclist in the road does tend to breed negative thoughts and feelings, and reading hateful comments on The Sun doesn’t help.  But we have to work to get past what happened and to get moving toward remembering why we cycle in the first place: it’s fun.  Yes, it’s good for the planet, good for your body.  But the best reason to ride is that it’s the most enjoyable way to get anywhere.  If we could hear Mr. Yates, he’d be telling us to get out and spread the cycling message through example and a smile, not through angry words.

We promised ourselves we would not use this blog only to complain about cars, about any segments of the cycling community (roadies, hipsters, Freds, etc.), about politics.  While we’ve done (I think) a good job of not being divisive about cyclists, we’ve gone and slipped into some us/them mind-set lately.  Cars/bikes.  Drivers/cyclists.  That’s just stupid.  I only know two cyclists who don’t have cars, and I’m one of them.  Hell, you could argue that it’s good for cyclists to have cars because each of them is one more driver who looks out for other people.  That’s an example we could all use on the road.  Everywhere.

And certainly lumping all drivers together because of people like The Sun‘s commenters and the people who yell at us is as bad as the folks who lump us all together because they see cyclists running redlights and nearly running over pedestrians.

Something gnawing at me says, “Mr. Yates just died last week!  We can’t act happy when the police haven’t even found the truck yet!”  But ask yourself this, as I have: What would you tell us if you were Mr. Yates?  I‘d say to keep riding.  To have fun and let everyone know it.  I‘d say that focusing only on danger and tragedy forever isn’t going to get butts on saddles.

So, in the spirit of lightening up, I give you Roxy, who looks like she ran into a wall.
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[Roxy photo by ElRo. Evil Crack Monkey drawing and photo by Johnny.]

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May he Ride In Peace.

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The Ghost Bike and Memorial for fallen cyclist Jack Yates is this Sunday, August 9th, at 6:00pm. It will take place at the corner where Mr. Yates was killed, Maryland Avenue and Lafayette.

A few of us North Baltimore types will meet at the Watertower between 5:00 and 5:30 to ride down together at 5:30. If you’d like to meet up with us, please send us an email or leave a comment so we know to wait for you.

And, there is a page on Ghost Bikes for Baltimore.

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The cyclist killed by a truck yesterday in Charles North has been identified as Jack Yates. My wife/ElRo used to work for the nonprofit on whose board he was a member, and she knew him. We talked this evening with their Executive Director, and it looks like the Tour du Greater Homewood will happen again this year, in memory of Mr. Yates. Advertisements of it happening this year on the 2nd were a misprint. (More on TDGH here and here.)

Also, Boson of Velocipede and a lot of other folks are working on a Ghost Bike and a memorial to be held Sunday at 6pm.  Stay tuned for details.

More on this tragic story:

Baltimore Spokes

WJZ 13

Baltimore Sun 1

Baltimore Sun 2

Baltimore Sun 3

ABC 2 News also Video

ABC 2 News 2

1000 Mile Summer

Baltimore Sun Ghost Bike article

Pictures from Memorial

Baltimore Sun blogs

Baltimore Sun 4

More WJZ video

Video of Memorial at Baltimore Spokes (in which you can spot three NBBB type folks)

Baltimore Sun, where the police blame the cyclist

I probably speak for everyone who writes for this blog when I say that my I am sick over this tragedy and also over the cold-hearted commenters on sites like The Sun who are blaming the victim. I can’t get the image out of my head that I saw when I went by right after it happened.  If I could, I’d give it to everyone who thinks this is the inevitable outcome of bikes and cars sharing the same space.  When cars bother to share, that is.

I hope SOME good can come of this. Something. Maybe our law-makers can get us a 3-foot rule? Maybe more of us (myself included) will get off our butts to help the efforts of people like Barry Childress and Nate Evans who are all trying to make Baltimore a better place for cyclists? Maybe we’ll all (cars and bikes alike) look out for one another more now?

Not that anything could be good enough to justify what happened yesterday.

Ride in peace, Mr. Yates.  Ride in peace.

(Image: Something I dug up on The Sun. I asked someone who knew him, and she confirmed that it is Mr. Yates.  He looks happy in this photo at Druid Hill, and that’s something we could all use tonight.)

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