I would like to thank you for your comments to WJZ regarding the Baltimore City Department of Transportation’s stated intentions of removing the city’s first Ghost Bike. I was glad to see you come out in support of the Ghost Bike memorial that was put in place on Sunday night by many of the community’s local cyclists.
As you know, the hit and run accident resulting in Mr. Yates’ death on August 4th 2009 has galvanized the cycling community statewide. While I am no longer a resident of Baltimore City, I was born in the city and have lived in and around the city my entire life. I have seen a great transform over the last 30 years as Baltimore has become a cleaner, safer, more family oriented city. I consider Baltimore my home town, as do so many Marylanders. I am writing to let you know that your leadership will help to influence attitudes about cycling across the state.
Every cyclist knows that there are inherent risks to riding on the road, and we accept those risks. Many cyclists do their best to ride in a manner that is both safe for themselves and for the others on the road. Still, according to the State Highway Administrations website seven cyclists die on the roads of Maryland annually. In addition over 650 cyclists are severely injured in accidents. These statistics are highly disturbing in large part because many of these accidents are preventable.
It is my opinion that the average motorist is not as aware of cyclists as they should be, as evidenced by comments posted on the news articles on baltimoresun.com. The truth is that Maryland law treats bicycles as any other vehicle. With a few exceptions, bicycles are allow on all public roads in the state by law. In addition it is incumbent upon cyclist to follow all traffic laws while riding on the road.
Our state highways are littered with roadside memorials put there by families and friends in remembrance of loved ones who died in motor vehicle crashes. From what I can tell, The State Highway Administration makes no effort to remove these memorials. The Ghost Bike project is intended to raise public awareness of the fact that a living and breathing person died while riding a bike in a manner similar to these roadside memorials.
I am respectfully requesting that you continue to give your full support to the cycling community by ensuring that the Department of Transportation does not remove the Ghost Bike memorial that was put in place on Sunday. Thank you for your continued support of the cycling community.
Damien <surname removed>