As a Baltimore injury accident attorney, I understand the healthful benefits and feeling of freedom that bicycling provides to people. In fact, with energy conservation on everyone’s lips and green living all the rage, biking to school, work or the store makes more sense now than ever in the past. That said, I will throw in a word of caution; that is, bicycles are great fuel saves and exercise machines, but they are no match for a car, truck or SUV.
With summer just around the corner, I don’t wish bring readers down, but the fact that more and more bicyclists will likely be hurt or killed in a traffic accident in the years to come is likely a good bet. I was reminded of this by a recent news article that talked about the Baltimore cyclist, Jack Yates, who was tragically killed by a fuel tanker truck late last summer.
According to the article, Yates’ family filed a five-million dollar wrongful death suit against the driver of the truck, along with the man’s employer. As most people already know, the 67-year-old Yates was pedaling his bike southbound on Maryland Avenue when he became caught in the trucks rear wheels and run over as the vehicle turned right on Lafayette Avenue. He died at the scene.
The civil suit, which was filed in Baltimore Circuit Court on behalf of Yates’ wife, son and daughter, alleges negligence by the driver, Michael Dale Chandler, and his employer, Potts & Callahan Inc., a demolition, excavation and equipment rental company. The suit seeks compensatory damages.
The attorney representing the Yates family contends that Chandler and his employer were negligent because a surveillance video shows the driver turned right without signaling. The lawyer also points out that the driver made the turn without checking to be certain that the path of the vehicle was clear and free of traffic, meaning cyclists or pedestrians.
On the other hand, police investigators had found that Yates was at fault because he was riding in parking lanes and attempted to pass the truck on the right — an illegal maneuver in Maryland, according to Agent Donny Moses, a city police spokesman.
Although Chandler did not stop following the incident, investigators do not believe the driver was aware of what had happened. “You roll over a body in that size truck, it’s kind of like rolling over a pebble,” Moses added.
According to authorities, police found the vehicle two days after the collision at Potts & Callahan’s service yard. DNA testing of hair and blood on the truck’s tires confirmed that the samples belonged to Yates, police said.
Family of bicyclist killed in city accident files $5 million lawsuit, BaltimoreSun.com, March 5, 2010