Nathan Krasnopoler was a 20-year-old student at Johns Hopkins University back in 2011. One day he took a trip from the Waverley Farmers Market to his own apartment. He was riding his bicycle near campus when an 83-year-old woman turned into her apartment complex directly in Nathan’s path. He was in the bike lane at the time. Nathan was pinned under her car upon impact. He lost consciousness and suffered from severe brain damage. Six months later, on August 10, 2011, Nathan died in his hospital bed. Today a white “ghost bike” stands as a memorial to his fateful trip and to all bikers who have suffered while cycling. His mother, Susan Cohen, is a national activist (not by choice, as she describes it) speaking about the safety precautions needed for older drivers. “He was a brilliant young man with a bright future. There’s very little I can do for my son, except to remember him, and that’s what I’m doing,” Cohen explains.
Every day across the country bicyclists become victims of collisions that could have been avoided. Under Maryland law bicycles are treated as vehicles. This means all bicyclists operate their bikes with the same rights and responsibilities as a typical passenger car. The following are a few safety tips to bear in mind when using a bicycle for transportation:
- Follow all traffic signals. Bicycles are not permitted on sidewalks in Maryland unless a local ordinance permits this type of use. Obeying stop signs, use of turn signals (by hand) and appropriate lane usage are required by all cyclists.
- Clothing is important. If you use a bicycle at night or early morning remember that it is much harder for a car to spot a bicycle than a passenger car. This means that reflective clothing is a must. It could mean the difference between riding in the clear and colliding.
- Watch for doors. Bicycles have the advantage of a fast and sharp turn radius but the disadvantage of braking power. A driver opening their door could mean instant impact for the bicycler who is not watching.
- Living in a society that relies on passenger cars can be quite a challenge without a car. While some will find alternative forms of transportation, it can be tricky to travel without a personal vehicle.
If you have suffered an injury while commuting, contact Maryland’s personal injury experts at Bob Katz Lawtoday for a free consultation.