The recent death of local cyclist and high school coach Trish Cunningham in an Anne Arundel County bike accident has prompted cycling advocates to begin pushing for the enforcement of Maryland’s 3-foot law for motor vehicles and bicycles. This law, which was approved and enacted in 2010, states that drivers must leave at least three feet between a vehicle and the bicycle when passing. However, cynics of the law believe that it hasn’t been adequately enforced.
Now, after Cunningham’s death, cycling advocates in Maryland are pushing for additional measures to be taken. The hope is that these steps could help motorists understand the importance of safe driving habits around those on bicycles.
The “Share the Road” Campaign signs displayed throughout the state have been an initial effort to inform drivers about road safety, however, cycling advocates believe that more is needed. They would like the signs replaced with new ones that state “Three feet, it’s the law” to serve as a reminder to drivers about keeping a safe distance away from bicycles while passing.
Concern over driving safety and bicycle accidents is a nationwide issue. On average, one cyclist is killed every 12.6 hours in the United States. In 2011, approximately 48,000 people were injured in bicycle accidents.
According to recent statistics, there have been 51 cyclists killed in the Washington, D.C. area alone over the last five years.
The recent death of Trish Cunningham has brought the subject of bicycle accidents into the spotlight, due to her prominence within her community. A preliminary police report after the Anne Arundel bike accident attributed driver error as the apparent cause of the crash.
In Cunningham’s case, the driver of a minivan attempted to pass her while she rode up a rural, countryside hill. Due to the fact that both Cunningham and the van driver were traveling uphill, there wasn’t anyway to tell if there was any oncoming traffic. On that evening, there was. The van driver swerved back into the right lane to avoid oncoming traffic and collided with Cunningham. One approximate figure suggested that it would have taken Cunningham around 15 seconds to ride to the top of the hill.
If you, or someone you love, have been seriously injured in a Maryland, Virginia, or D.C. bike accident, you can hold negligent parties responsible for their dangerous actions on the road. At Lewis & Tompkins, we’re here to help. Contact our offices today to discuss your case (202-296-0666).