The dangers of biking in an urban setting were brought home again recently during a memorial ride held in honor of a local Baltimore bicycle enthusiast who was killed in a traffic accident last August. Sixty-seven-year-old John Yates was killed in a truck-bicycle accident by a hit-and-run trucker while he was riding near the intersection of West Lafayette and Maryland Avenues.
At the time of the accident, police investigators said that a truck struck Yates as it was turning left onto West Lafayette. Witnesses at the scene reportedly told police that Yates became entangled beneath the rear wheels of the tanker truck. The cyclist suffered fatal injuries, including severe trauma to his left leg and abdomen. As a Maryland personal injury lawyer, I can tell you that accidents between trucks and bicycles rarely come out well for the cyclist, which is why riders must be especially watchful whenever they mix with other vehicles on the road.
According to police reports, the man’s widow said that he had been running errands on his bike that day before the deadly truck-bike crash occurred. Yates reportedly headed to the University of Baltimore to make certain his registration was in order as he prepared to begin work toward his third master’s degree — he planned to become an alcohol and substance abuse counselor.
About 80 cyclists participated in the memorial ride through North Baltimore in early November. The second annual Tour De Greater Homewood was also known this year as the Jack Yates Memorial Ride.
According to news reports, the Greater Homewood Community Corporation organized the ride; Yates was one of the group’s board members. Organizers had hoped the event would raise awareness about bicycle safety. Seven people have died in bicycle accidents every year in Maryland from 2005 through 2008, according to State Highway Administration figures.
At the time of the ride police had still not identified the truck driver who killed Yates. However, police also believe that the drive may not have been aware that the collision occurred and therefore left the scene. In fact, law enforcement authorities have said that a surveillance video camera recorded the event and showed that Yates was apparently at fault. A lawyer representing the Yates family stated that the video also shows that the truck driver did not signal he was making the turn.
Cycling community rides to honor one of its own, BaltimoreSun.com, November 9, 2009