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Some kind-hearted folks are organizing a ride from Baltimore to Annapolis to honor fallen cyclist Larry Bensky.

This is a ride from Baltimore to Annapolis to memorialize Larry Bensky, who as you all know was killed this past Tuesday while riding on Butler Rd. We’re doing this on Monday as it is the last day of the current legislative session and a great and somber opportunity to get bill 461 passed into law. House bill 461 requires motorists to give cyclists three feet when passing. Some say that it can’t be enforced but they’re missing the point. The point is to draw attention to the rights of cyclists and to move one inch, or three feet, towards a better, more civil society. So join us.

Respond to the event on Facebook here.

I can’t make it, since my child is about to be born any day (literally) now.  But if any readers/contributors do and would like to share reflections, stories and photos, please drop us a line.

More information about yesterday’s crash that killed one cyclist and left another seriously injured:

Baltimore County police have identified an Owings Mills man who was fatally struck by a car while riding his bicycle Tuesday afternoon near Butler and Falls roads.

Lawrence Bensky, 42, of the first block of Quarterhouse Court was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the initial police investigation, Faith Frenzel, 64, of the 1900 block of Gravel Road in Hampstead was driving her 2001 Toyota Echo westbound on Butler Road about 4:30 p.m. when she struck Bensky’s pedacycle on the shoulder of the road. The pedacycle became lodged in the front of the car before colliding with Joel Alan Wyman, who was also riding a pedaycle, sending both victims off the road, police said.

Wyman, 45, of the 2200 block of Harmony Woods Road in Owings Mills was taken to Sinai Hospital, where he was in serious condition.

Police were preparing charges against Frenzel, pending the completion of their investigation.

More.

Yes, you read correctly. She hit them on the shoulder of the road. And the police are preparing charges.  I wonder if any will stick?

From The Baltimore Sun:

A car struck two cyclists, killing one, Tuesday afternoon in Baltimore County.

Police said a sedan vehicle struck an adult male on a bike near Butler and Falls roads around 4:30 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other cyclist was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and their condition is unknown, police said. Police did not have additional information on the victims.

The driver of the car was not injured, police said. Police are still investigating.

(More.)

The comment section, of course, is full of, “I share the road, but not THIS road,” and, “THESE CYCLISTS have a death wish,” crap.  But there are also cyclists, drivers, and people without their heads in….the sand sticking up for all of us.

More, at Baltimore Spokes, also.


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.

What the hell is going on in Maryland this summer?  An Elkridge teen was killed this weekend by a drunk driver who was in possession of heroine and who had a previous drug charge.  This is very sad.  Our thoughts go out to this young man’s family.

mayor_1_0809Dear Mayor Dixon,

I am writing as a native of Baltimore City, a resident of Baltimore City, as a huge fan of your administration and as a cyclist.

Please let Baltimore keep its first (and hopefully only) Ghost Bike.  As a cyclist, I’m sure you know what we’ve all been feeling in a city where some people think that it’s an acceptable course of action to go onto The Baltimore Sun’s website and leave hateful comments in the wake of a real person losing his life in a violent manner.  After getting yelling at, dodging potholes and bracing ourselves as cabs ride too fast and too close, we’d like to keep this symbol of the vitality of the Baltimore cycling community and this reminder of a very good life cut needlessly short.

I believe that a certain news station jumped the gun in telling its viewers that our Ghost Bike would be removed, maybe because their footage of it was a day late and fifty participants short of the event that only The Baltimore Sun showed up for Sunday night. Given all the good that you have personally done for cycling in Baltimore — and for making Baltimore a better city to live in generally speaking — I am confident that our Ghost Bike isn’t going anywhere. It’s your Ghost Bike, too, as a member of our cycling community. And, more than the press might be giving anyone credit for right now, you certainly know what this memorial means to cycling and to Baltimore.

Thank you for myriad things, not the least of which, keeping this memorial where it is.

(This idea was totally stolen from Harry. Or, rather, it is Harry’s challenge met. Will you complain when the Ghost Bike is gone, or will you email Mayor Dixon, too?  Do it!  And post your message here as a comment!)

mayor@baltimorecity.gov

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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.)

I came home from work sick today. My sinuses are wacky enough that I took the bus instead of cycling because I keep getting dizzy. Anyway, I caught a ride home with a family member at lunch time (who was coming home to near where I live), and we saw the aftermath of a TERRIBLE accident at Lafayette and Maryland Avenue, near where you enter the Jones Falls Trail.

There was a firetruck, police and patrol car, caution tape. I said out-loud, “Oh, please don’t let it be a cyclist.”

But it was. I saw a bike. And I saw a cyclist on the ground, face-down, still wearing a helmet. He (?) looked bad. (I certainly didn’t take any cell phone photos because I’m not deranged.) As we headed North, I heard an ambulance in the distance. Given that there was caution tape blocking the scene and that no one on the firetruck seemed to have moved the cyclist, I can only assume the worst.

My heart is sick. If you’re the praying type, have at it. Pray, metta, anything. This is terrible news for all of us.

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Geezus!  What is wrong with people that they feel like they need to succumb to distraction while driving thousands of pounds of planet-killer?

On July 11, at approximately 2:44 p.m., a blue 2008 Mazda M3I driven by Royal Kessick III, 47 of Richmond, Va., was traveling northbound on Three Notch Road, north of Park Hall Road. Hugo Gonzalez, 44 of St. Leonard, was riding a bicycle on the southbound shoulder of Three Notch Road heading towards Park Hall Road. Kessick’s vehicle crossed the southbound travel lane, onto the shoulder and into the path of Gonzalez’s bicycle. Gonzalez was struck by the vehicle and thrown into the grass adjacent to the roadway. Gonzales succumbed to his injuries. Kessick’s vehicle continued towards the wood line, struck a tree, overturned once and landing upright.

Kessick was flown by Eagle 1 to Medstar. Gonzalez was wearing a bicycle helmet. Initial investigation indicates alcohol is not believed to be a contributing factor. Members of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Collision Reconstruction Team responded to the scene and assumed the investigation.

Anyone who witnessed the collision is asked to contact DFC Timothy Reese at (301 )475-4200 ext. 9115.

(Source.)

Witnessed? Why? They need to find out why this driver veered over, not who’s fault it was. Did he pass out from medication? Does he have a health problem? Or was he just too distracted by his frackin cell phone to not run over a cyclist? Benefit of the doubt or whatever?

Whatever. You don’t cross over two lanes because you swerved around a deer. If you fell asleep, you shouldn’t be driving. If you passed out from medication, you shouldn’t be driving. If you have a medical condition that makes you drift over two lanes, you shouldn’t have a damned license! If you were on the phone, OMG, I hope you go to jail.  You are too careless to walk around with the rest of us, let alone drive around.

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After writing about how long it’s been since there was a cycling death in Baltimore City, last week, two cyclists were killed in Ocean City in one week.

The first, Kristin Anne Stormer (23), of Hollidaysburg, PA, was reportedly crossing in the crosswalk against the traffic signal. Witnesses report that she was wearing headphones. This was in broad daylight.  The driver is not being charged. (Source.)

Then on 2:30 Friday morning, Daniel Bren (like the machine gun) struck Edward Zisk (41) and Maxim Matuzov (20), both of Ocean City, Maryland. The two were cycling on the Route 50 bridge when a drunk driver struck them both and left the scene. Thanks are due to the witness who followed the truck and helped identify the driver. Daniel Bren, this “dirty pig of filth“* is being charged with a list of offenses, including negligent homicide by vehicle while under the influence. Homicide, when you kill a cyclist. That’s what you should be charged with. The authorities got it right this time. (Source.)

Our condolances and well-wishes go out to everyone affected by these tragedies.

*[Maybe he’s a “nice” guy, but he hit two people with his truck and left the scene, killing a man — after being irresponsible enough to drive drunk in the first place. Even if he’s a saint who drove drunk for the first time last week, it’s hard to feel badly for his plight. Not with a life cut short. Cut short by his behavior.]

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