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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.


There’s a great post at Bike Radar about how to survive a bike crash, since we will all have one eventually. Before the safety dogs go nuts, think about this: How many people do you know who have never ever ever been in a car accident? How many people do you know who have never ever ever fallen down walking or running? I’m thirty and have been car-free for four years. And I’ve been in exactly five car accidents, one o of which I caused and one of which (not the one I caused) totaled my car. Sure, I know people who have been in fewer accidents, but I know people who have been in more, also, even people younger than I am.

I don’t know if everyone is going to crash on their bike, though.  There are people who ride way more than I do who haven’t crashed as adults.  Last winter, I went down on some ice on January (just a bruise and scratch in the paint of my downtube and a lot of thankfulness that there were no cars and that only one person saw me) and infamously went down in April (from which my hands are still busted up).  I know Mr. Zack had a (literally) scrape with the wall on the Jones Falls Trail switchback at Stieff, but he didn’t go down — just got rock-wall-rash on his arm.  Certainly, there are veritable bike heroes in Baltimore like Barry, who have been in some crashes.  But in a cases like this, I chalk it up to just plain high mileage.  I don’t know anyone who rides their bike more than folks like Barry and Greater Brown Bear.  In other cases, I’m sure, crashes get caused by people riding drunk, on dark streets sans lights, by not paying attention, easily-prevented equipment failure, etc.

Sometimes, as happened to me (with my little 8 mile commute) and as happens with high-mileage folks (certainly not including myself in that category), cars and infrastructure might eventually get you.  But will it get all of us, as cars are getting more used to seeing us and when the infrastructure for cycling in Baltimore gets better every single day?

I wouldn’t want to tell someone whose interested in cycling but afraid to take the plunge, “Dude, you’ll crash one day.  A pot hole, car door, ice, gravel, drunk guy — it’s gonna happen.”  But I wouldn’t want to outright lie, either.

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(My former set-up. I used to run the smaller light at the left seat-stay, and even jerry-rigged to the back of my rack.)

It’s been said in several places on the byke innernetz that if your LEDs are a few years old, you might want to replace them. Why? LEDs last nearly forever, no? Because the technology is getting cheaper, brighter, more efficient, more durable and easier to mount!

These are Giant lights that I had on my (crashed) Giant bike. The larger one ran me nearly $30, and the small one was about $10 I think in 2006. The big one was bright enough to do the job fairly well, but it ate batteries like I drink coffee — as they said in Lost in Translation, “with much intensity!”  The smaller one died pretty quickly, too.  Both fell off the bike several times.  In fact, that larger one was actually stolen from ElRo (click here to see image of baby in her tummy) since mine fell off in traffic and got destroyed.  When I crashed that bike in April, someone who got to the scene handed me my pump and this smaller damned light.  I can vouch for its durability — it fell off a few times and took quite a big roll a couple of those.

When I got my new bike this summer, I wanted to get new lights, too.  My five LED headlight was Okay for being seen, but it went dim in a few hours and had a very narrow beam.  I wanted some improvement in that area, too.  The light I had was about $25 in 2006 also.  There were some very awesome lights out since then, and I was excited to try some out.

Planet Bike all the way.  Not only are they brighter and easier to mount.  They also were cheaper, and they haven’t fallen off yet.  I should really get around to posting something about my cheap/simple light set-up.  Maybe next week.  Stay tuned!

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