Whose at fault in an accident…

I’ve said many times before that the regulations and bike lane creation create the false impression that cyclists are “required” to stay to the right—regardless of circumstance and as this comment by a traffic specialist shows that is not 100% true. In fact it’s quite a fallacy. many people assume that for the cyclist to give up her natural road space is what they should do when confronting traffic and quite the contrary until it’s safe you need to be the traffic claiming your right-of-way as needed… The tragedy in this case is compounded by the possibility that the truck raced past the driver then made a turn that the cyclist was unable to account for.


“At fault crash data that I have seen from bike friendly places tend to be ~ 45% driver, 45% cyclist and 10% unknown.  So I am not saying that the cyclists can in no way be at fault here but there is something in the way that this was delivered I find very disturbing.”  (From Barry Childress, BaltimoreSpokes.org)

—– Forwarded Message —- 

Please note this response from my inquiry about the investigation : 

I am the commander of the Traffic Section within the Baltimore Police Department.  I supervise the Crash Team and therefore the e-mail you authored to Mayor Sheila Dixon was forwarded to me for a response. 

I was at the scene of this tragic crash and I know that this incident was investigated thoroughly from the very beginning as a very serious issue, as all fatal crashes are.  We have obtained a video of this incident  that shows the entire event.   

There are only some aspects of this case that are public record.  I will tell you that the video clearly shows the cyclist to be at fault.  There is no “right to the road” as a cyclist.  You have the same rights as a motor vehicle and also the same obligations.  The cyclist was not operating within those parameters.  The  tanker truck that the cyclist struck was a large one.  The cyclist struck it in the rear.  There is no evidence to support that the driver was ever aware there was an impact.  Do not believe what the media reports as entirely true regarding this or any event.   

The investigators within the unit are very educated and experienced in all types of crashes and have attended several schools specific to the physics of a pedestrian crash and a cyclist fatal crash.  With regard to the question of it being investigated as a hit and run accident, not only was it investigated as such but the truck was located by investigators within a few days of the incident.   

Please feel free to contact my office if you have any further questions.   

Lt. Leslie Bank 
Traffic Commander 
Baltimore Police Department 


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