I write today with a a heavy heart about two fellow randonneurs who were tragically struck while riding a 200K permanent in Maryland last week. To makes matters worse, the assailant abandoned the riders to die on the side of the road at the site of the crash. Fortunately, emergency crews were notified and both riders were taken directly to hospitals for treatment, one by ambulance and the other by helicopter.
The investigating police department was quick to post the notice above on Facebook, which you should read and share if you have not done so already, especially if you live in the Washington DC area. While unlikely to bring the perpetrator to justice, there's always hope that someone out there may be able to connect the dots. Here is a link to a full article in The Washington Post with additional details.
Gauging from the story and from photographs posted online, the accident occurred at what appears to be a fairly common location, a bridge where the road narrows and the shoulder disappears. We've all been there before. There are steps to take, but no manner of reflective gear, lighting, hand signals and "taking the lane" will fully protect you from the negligence of a driver of a two-ton SUV.
This accident certainly stirs memories for me as I recall the long, painful road to recovery after my own particular run-in with a car. In my case, though, I was fortunate that the driver of the car that hit me did not leave the scene and took full responsibility for his actions. As a result, the medical team came to my aid quickly and his auto insurance company delivered on their commitments to my care.
Please join me in sharing the news of this terrible accident and in offering support to the victims and others who suffer from similar tragedies. I hope that our two sisters in randonnering will recover quickly and completely from this terrible crash and that they and their families get the support they need along the way.
Beyond this particular crisis, we all need to engage in whatever it takes to reduce the incidence of vehicular cycling accidents. Ride your bicycle often. Call your representative. Write a letter to your local paper. Riders of bicycles have just as much a right to use our nation's roads as do drivers of automobiles. We will not live in a civilized society until everyone acknowledges this simple fact.