Dear Driver of the Silver SUV who ran into me on my bicycle this Saturday…

August 11, 2014

2014-08-09 19.29.11Dear Driver of the Silver SUV with MD tags who ran into me on my bicycle this Saturday,

I am saddened that you drove off and left the scene and that we did not get a chance to meet face to face.

Equally importantly, I am wondering why you passed me when you couldn’t’ see the oncoming traffic? And then why you did not brake, and you instead swerved into me?

Before I ask you the many questions swirling though my head, I must say how truly grateful I am to the two (or three?) kind other drivers that stopped immediately, called 911, and helped me through the initial shock until the ambulance arrived. Thank you also to all the first responders who took such good care of me from Paramedic’s Carpenter and Miles from the Laytonsville Fire Department, to the wonderful ER nurses, Docs, and other staff at both Montgomery General and Washington Hospital Shock Trauma Center.

I’m also grateful that it was only my bike that went under your back wheel and not my leg or worse. However, this has been no picnic.

2014-08-09 19.28.39Your careless, indifferent and illegal driving caused me three very painful broken ribs near my spine, a concussion, a yet to be fully diagnosed shoulder (that hopefully isn’t a torn rotator cuff), a sprained foot, and multiple bruises and cuts. I can’t work this week, and I can barely care for myself right now. But again, I’m grateful that it wasn’t worse.

As you approached me on Rt 108, the road was very straight. I could clearly see you in my mirror and I’m sure you could see me with my bright red and white shirt, my bright blue helmet, and the red flashing light under my seat. I was riding right next to the white line heading towards Laytonsville, following the law and not hogging the road in any way. Most of my ride that day was on low-traffic country roads, and I wrongfully assumed drivers would be willing to share the road with me for the last 2 miles of my ride on Rt 108.

What were you thinking trying to pass me as we both approached that blind hill just past Rocky Road? With the hill rising out of the road blocking our view, did you not wonder if cars were coming towards us in the opposite lane?

What was so urgent that you couldn’t wait another 30 seconds until you could see if any traffic was coming the other way? Did you not see the double yellow line in the road?  Or did you think it didn’t apply to you in this case, because I was on a bike?

But then as you crested the hill and saw the red car in the other lane coming head-on, why did you turn your wheel in my direction? Why didn’t you just hit the brakes and try to drop back into our lane behind me like a normal person does when they realize they don’t have room to pass?

Maybe it was just a natural reaction to swerve away from an oncoming vehicle and back into your lane. But the manner in which your vehicle came so gradually into me makes me curious. It was as if I was being gently pushed by someone’s arm. It was so gradual that I can’t help wonder if you intentionally tried to squeeze your vehicle between the red oncoming car and me.

As your mirror and then door pushed into me, I wonder if you could see me out of the corner of your eye? Did you hear me yell out incredulously, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!” as you pushed me off the road.2014-08-09 19.28.46

Did I suddenly disappear from your view your vehicle drove over my back wheel and whipped my body sideways down to the ground?

I doubt you heard the crack of my ribs as my shoulder and head slammed into the ground. But maybe you heard the crunch of my bike under your tire and the loud pop that a modern bike frame makes when it snaps into pieces.

If not that, surely you felt your tire thump over my bike? Did you wonder if my body was caught under the wheel too?

Did you look back in the mirror and see me laying in the ditch not moving? Or did you just look straight ahead down the road as if nothing happened?

Did you brake at all afterwards, and pause for just a moment? Did you debate at all with yourself about stopping? Or did you push down on the gas without hesitation as you left me there.

Maybe you assume2014-08-09 19.28.50d the other drivers would stop for me or maybe you actually saw them rush to my aid before you left me there.

But what if it was just you and me that day? Would you have just left me there in the ditch all alone, unconscious, and in in shock?

What thoughts went through your head as you continued on about your drive? Did you wonder if I was alive or dead? Did you tell yourself it was my fault because you think people shouldn’t bike on that road anyway?

Did you tell anyone about what happened on Saturday afternoon, or is this our dark little secret?

Do you now feel relieved that I am alive? Have you thought about how you would have felt if I did not recover? What if it was you that had to make the call to my wife, or my mother, father and brother?

Those are many of the questions that have been swirling in my head since we met on Saturday. But what really astounds me, the question I keep coming back to, is why in the world did you try to pass when you couldn’t see if the other lane was clear?

If I was in a slow-moving car with flashers on, would you still have tried to pass me at such a dangerous blind spot? What if I was a farmer on a tractor? Or a rider on a horse, would you still have tried to pass me that way?2014-08-09 19.29.04

Was it because I was on a bicycle that you didn’t think about the consequences? Or was it that you just didn’t care?

I look forward to hearing from you. Montgomery County Police’s efforts to publicize the incident are raising awareness and maybe we’ll hear from you or someone else. Either way, I’d really like to know, “What were you thinking?!”

Sincerely,Fulton_Century_May_2012_307

Kurt Zwally,

Silver Spring, MD

About these ads

157 comments on “Dear Driver of the Silver SUV who ran into me on my bicycle this Saturday…

  1. seaofcarnage says:

    Having been run over myself and lucky to be alive, I am so very sorry to read this. I do want you to know that drive and determination will get you back on the bike one day. PTSD is something you will likely need to get some counseling on, I am lucky and do not remember my collision. Please consider traditional Asian acupuncture, it was my saving grace.

    I hope that your assailant is caught, and I hope they have great remorse. I also hope you have friends and family that will support and push you when you try to give up. In the end, I hope you ride again very soon. Much bike love!

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Hey SeaOfCarnage – great name by the way. Sorry to hear you were hit too. Those are good suggestions, and I’ll keep them in mind. I don’t know that I’m feeling any emotional effects (other than the normal being bummed out that comes with any major injury), but maybe they’ll show up later.

      Maybe its b/c the car itself didn’t hit my body with much force. Everything I experienced consciously, was rather gentle. The door came over, I yelled out, I hear my bike crunch and it started to disappear from underneath me, and that was it. Next thing I new I was in the grass on the other side of the hill with these nice people helping me. I think I actually passed out before I hit the ground. I think my brain just does that when something really bad is about to happen to me. I think its something I developed from growing up ski racing and crashing at high speed.

      I had a similar incident one time in college where I got a massive amount of air and suffered a bad concussion. I think I actually passed out in the air before I hit the ground. I remember being way up in the air and having this awful feeling of dread and then going limp.

      I think maybe if I saw the car actually collide into me, or if I went over the hood unexpectedly, I can see that really shaking me up. Or maybe it hasn’t it me yet.

      Anyway, I’m going on way too much about me here. Thank you for the suggestions. My aunt was just telling me yesterday about how she started getting acupuncture for a bulging disk in her back and the resulting pain. She said she was skeptical but that acupuncture really works wonders for her when nothing else did.

      Well I hope you weren’t inured too badly but it sounds like you had to do some rehab. I hope you’ve fully recovered and are back on the bike. I also hope they caught your assailant and I like your choice of words there. Assailant is more appropriate than “driver”.

      It sounds like you’re back on your bike enjoying your passion. Stay safe out there. Sincerely, Kurt

  2. Kevin says:

    Kurt, I cannot stress enough the fact that I’m glad you’re not more seriously injured than you were. I hope the healing process is fairly swift for you and that justice in served in this case. Many drivers where we live (Northern Ontario Canada) have a proprietary attitude toward the roads and are very aggressive towards cyclists. Just this season, my fiancee was pushed off the road by a transport and that was a harrowing experience for both of us. We both ride with cameras on our helmets, so the truck was able to be identified. It’s something to consider when commuting distances and time allow for the ride to be recorded. It sounds like this driver would have tried to pass you regardless of the lane position you took. Not that I’m trying to discourage you from taking a rider safety and awareness course, but some people are going to do what they do regardless of circumstance. I hope all this works out for you and that if anything comes out of this experience, it’s an educational opportunity across the board and on both sides of the debate. Cheers to a speedy recovery, Kevin :)

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Thanks for your comments Kevin, and I’m sorry to hear about your fiancee being run off the road. That sounds scary, and I hope she wasn’t injured badly, and has recovered.

      Definitely getting a camera, just trying to figure it out. The Fly6 would be my first choice, but it sounds like they haven’t figured a solution for people with small bikes who also ride with a seat bag.

      Yea, who knows if I could have prevented it by riding more in the lane. Making it so they’d have to go further into the other lane might have made them think twice about it. Or maybe it would have made them angry and they just would have driven into me on purpose. Who knows.

      Thanks for the well wishes. I’m doing a lot better this week, except for three sneezes that have put the pain back through the roof. Twice today! Anyway, I’ll be OK with time and some PT.

      Thanks again and both of you stay safe out there. Best, Kurt

    • Eagle Spirit says:

      When my son was in high school he road his bike to school. He was sitting at a corner waiting for the light. When a car was coming around the corner too fast and came up on the curb and hit my son’s bike knocking him to the ground. He was lucky to come away with only scratches and bruises. The bike was a bit messed up and required some repairs.
      The driver got around the corner and down the road a bit and actually stopped, stepped out of the car and got back in the car and drove off. There was a man in another car who saw the accident, and part of the license plate and suggested that he report it. And we did. But the driver was never found.
      Those head cameras area a good idea. If more cyclists would get in the habit of wearing them maybe that would make drivers more careful. Good luck to all Cyclists out there,

  3. Deana Wilson says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Every one is in such a hurry these days. I can’t imagine hitting some one, whether by carelessness or honest accident, and leaving them. I can’t imagine not at least saying I’m sorry and calling for help. My best wishes to you and for a fast recovery. Karma does work wonders and it does come back to those who don’t do the right thing. I firmly believe it.

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Hi Deana – Thanks for your message. I agree Karma’s a bitch. I imagine this person probably already has a crappy life, and they just decide to take it out on others. Hopefully, they’ll think twice next time and don’t hurt someone else.

      Thanks again for your support. Sincerely, Kurt

  4. Brian Hobbs says:

    I’m sorry about your accident and wish you the best of recovery from your injuries. However, I have to say, any person who chooses to ride a bicycle on a highway in this day and age, with all the texting and otherwise distracted drivers on the road, will likely get more of the same. Sorry it’s just a FACT!

    • mjm419 says:

      Brian, in my state (Mississippi) at least, there is are laws defining bicycles as vehicles, and we may use roads unless signs state otherwise (i.e. on interstates). We also have a 3-foot law requiring vehicles to give cyclists at least 3 feet when passing. This is also a FACT.

      • Kurt Zwally says:

        Thanks MJM419. We have similar laws here in Maryland. In fact, the road has several signs reminding motorists and cyclists to share the road. We also have the 3-foot law as well. And the driver crossed a double yellow line.

        Regarding your comments Brian, this was on a rural country road and not a highway. Its called 108 but that section 2 miles from Laytonsville is in the middle of no-where and the speed limit is reasonable. Hardly any cars passed me on the whole 3.5 mile stretch I was on. The driver if found, would likely face severe penalties for the laws they broke.

        Having said that, yes, distracted driving, texting, etc. is making cycling more dangerous. Also, in hindsight cycling alone on that section of 108 even for those short 3.5 miles was taking a bigger risk than I’m comfortable with because of the distracted drivers as you note. Normally, I ride in a group, but the next time I ride alone out of Laytonsville, I’ll be sure to take a different route that avoids 108.

        Thank you both for your comments. Sincerely, Kurt

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Brian – see my comments below. Thx, KZ

  5. Chris Olin says:

    Solidarity from upstate NY. I’ve been hit several times, the last one in 2013 where I was hit at ~40mph and ended up with a broken ankle. Fortunately, the drivers have stopped each time, though, I always go out with a camera on my helmet each time.

    I’ve invested in a Veho Muvi NPNG, which retails for under $150 on Amazon. I haven’t been hit yet since getting it and it’s not as rugged as a GoPro, but in the event of an accident that damages it, the data should be retained on the microSD card, which can be removed and footage pulled from it.

    Really hope this person is caught.

  6. benwhite says:

    This resonated very strongly with me. I was struck by the mirror of a passing pickup truck three years ago. It had those extended mirrors that you usually see on trucks that do a lot of towing or have dual rear wheels. The mirror reached into the bike lane to strike me. I was pitched forward and when my front tire made contact with the sidewalk curb I went over the handle bars and I hit a light pole with my head / shoulder and my feet feet and bike were dangling in the road still when I regained consciousness. The questions of “why” and “what were they thinking” came up almost daily. The goodwill of the witnesses that stopped to help me (and I later learned someone who followed the hit and run driver 6 miles to their place of business) restored some of my faith in humanity. I hope you take some comfort in knowing there are some of us (hopefully most of us) out there that care – like those that stopped. I am also a firm believer in helmets, I think mine saved my life (I wrote a little thank you to Giro the same day). But you can only do so much while biking to protect yourself and rely on the skill, reason, and courtesy of others on the road. Just like driving accidents can still happen – and I wonder how the driver of that SUV would behave if you were driving a full size car “too slow” rather than cycling. He might have still run you off the road and the debate would be a little bit different than cyclists vs cars. The lesson people need to learn might still be the same – we can’t be selfish when driving. Drivers are responsible for deadly machinery and the lives of those around them. Bicyclists on pedestrian walks are too. I think the societal selfishness needs to be confronted – that it is not “their road” it is our road – cyclists motorcycles trucks and cars. Share the road. Lights and traffic laws are not just for cars. Pedestrians should follow crosswalk laws. We all sacrifice a few minor inconveniences to make the system safer for everyone. And as a side note, do your Physical Therapy and take your recovery slowly. PT does help even if the little shoulder exercises seem stupid and weak compared to what you could do before. Good Luck!

  7. Shawn says:

    Typical MD drivers. Only care about themselves. We all need cameras on our bikes.

  8. Erich says:

    The driver belongs in hardcore ass-rape prison. Forever. And ever. Amen. Attempting to rehabilitate this kind of sociopathic indifference for another human is futile. It needs to be bred out of our species. I’m so sorry this happened to you. Speedy recovery!

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Hi Erich – I’m not going to touch the first part of your comments, as prison rape is a serious issue too. (Although I imagine you might have just said that in the heat of the moment.)

      But I agree, the number of sociopaths and indifferent people out there is astounding. If you want to really blow your mind, go read the comments people posted in response to the story about this WTOP radio posted on their site. We kept the trolls off Liz’s blog here, but the one time I looked 99% of the comments were justifying and condoning the driver’s behavior. Really shows what we’re up against in terms of raising awareness.

      Having said that, the good people at WABA (Washington Area Bicycle Association) that things are a lot better with drivers than it was in the past. So that’s progress I guess.

      Anyway, thanks again for your comments and well wishes. I’m doing better this week already. Sincerely, Kurt

  9. Tom says:

    Kurt I am so very sorry to hear this story. As a fellow cyclist, I am always afraid of the impatient or distracted driver who doesn’t see me, doesn’t want to wait for me, or worse — doesn’t care about my safety (or even wishes me harm). It is heartbreaking to hear your story. I am glad to hear your injuries aren’t as bad as they could have been, although I imagine that is not much of a silver lining to the situation, from your perspective. I wish you a speedy recovery and I hope justice is served somehow, someday.

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Thanks for your comments and well wishes. I’ll be OK with time and some PT. I’m just glad it wasn’t worse. And the outpouring and support so many people from the cycling and broader community is heart warming.

      Thanks again and stay safe out there (and maybe get a camera like the Fly6 or something, I am). Sincerely, Kurt

  10. lconn22 says:

    I am so sorry to hear of this. I hope you are recovering quickly. Your roads are similar to the one where I live in Chester County, PA and I have near collision experiences frequently. There is no excuse for that kind of driving.

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Hey Iconn22 – thanks for your comments. I’m coming along, just need to avoid sneezing as just one really sends the pain through the roof.

      Sorry to hear about the bad drivers up there frequently giving you close calls. Yes, I have family up that way and West Chester is really pretty too. I imagine its a great place to ride if you can find roads without the crazy’s.

      You might seriously consider getting a rear-facing continual loop camera. I’m looking at the Fly6 or a GoPro.

      Anyway, stay safe out there and thanks again for your message. Best, Kurt

  11. Mike Britton says:

    Kurt, I’m sorry this happened to you. I ride on inadequate roads almost daily, with texting drivers, and I know something like this will happen to me eventually. It’s not worth quitting the sport, though, and I hope this is the case for you. Heal fast, ride fast.

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Hi Mike – thanks for your message and the well wishes. I’ll be back on the bike once I’m back to normal. No doubt about it.

      Thanks again, and stay safe out there. Best, Kurt

  12. Thank you for sharing this letter. I have never been hit by a car but have been passed on a blind hill or curve and but for the grace of God could have been in the same situation as you. Speedy healing in body and sprit to you!

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Hi Patricia – Thanks for your message. Yes, its astounding how many people have written me describing near misses like you’ve had. I’m glad it wasn’t worse for me, and that nothing bad has happened to you.

      Thanks again for the well wishes, and stay safe out there. Sincerely, Kurt

  13. Rebecca says:

    I almost ran over a bicyclist the other day and it scared me. I truly did not see this person until after I had passed her. I immediately though, “OMG, if I had hit her, I could have killed her!” I had come to a stop sign, intending to make a right turn. I looked left to see if any cars were coming. She was wearing black and red (please know that red is one of the hardest colors to see, especially at night) and riding on the shoulder of the road. I made a complete stop, and proceeded with the turn. It wasn’t until after I completed the turn that I realized I almost hit her because I did not see her. My first concern was for her, and I was so relieved that I did not hit her, BUT, I also became a little frustrated that she did not make eye contact with me and make sure that I intended to stop for her. Sure, she had the right of way, but does that really matter after someone is dead or seriously injured?! I can understand why some motorists feel frustrated with bicyclists. As a bicyclist, please understand that not all motorists are dutifully watching out for you for a variety of reasons. You are your own best protection. Make good choices, but know that altercations between bicyclists and motorists do not end up well for the bicyclist.

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Hi Rebecca – Thank you for sharing your experience, and I’m glad it didn’t result in a bad outcome. Yes, intersections can be dangerous, and its really important that everyone be alert for each other and follow the traffic laws – drivers and cyclists alike.

      Along with brightly colored clothing and lights (both of which I had), I agree that making eye contact is an important way that cyclists can make sure drivers see us at intersections even when we have the right of way. I make it a point to do that myself.

      You mention the frustration of drivers towards cyclists. But its important not to lump people together in a group and defend the bad actions of some, based on the bad actions we see in others. For example, drivers talk about the bad actions the see by some cyclists, and use that as a justification for being aggressive towards cyclists.

      For example, here’s one many video of drivers running stop a sign (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5um0Upbfcw) and there’s video out there of drivers doing the same. Also, many cyclists like myself also drive and I see bad drivers doing things to OTHER DRIVERS all the time.

      These people who don’t obey traffic laws, whether it be texting or rolling a stop sign, are dangerous to everyone on the road, and need to be recognized as members of the group of “dangerous/careless/selfish people” regardless of how they choose to propel themselves down the road.

      For example, through this experience I have come to know a woman, Michelle, who was struck by a hit and run driver at a T-intersection even AFTER she made eye contact with the driver. She had the right of way and he pulled out from a complete stop, rammed her onto the side of the road, and left her there. To this day she still has nerve damage from the assault, and the driver was never found.

      I realize your intent was not to defend the actions of either the driver that struck me or Michelle. And I agree with your point that making eye contact can help us cyclists protect ourselves from accidents, and I’ll re-evaluate whether or not my red and white jersey is visible enough even on a sunny days like August 9th.

      At the same time, I’m pretty sure the driver saw me. That’s why they hit me with the door and not by the front bumper. Nonetheless, I’ll be riding differently and avoiding riding alone on that route to reduce my risks from dangerous drivers.

      I also think that frustration and selfishness on the roads increases the likelihood that people will make bad decisions that hurt others.

      Thanks again for you contribution to the discussion here. Sincerely, Kurt

  14. Krissy says:

    I am sorry that this happened to you. I hope they find who did this and am happy that you weren’t hurt worse than what you endured. I have shared this with my followers.

  15. Reblogged this on the surly biker and commented:
    Everyday I bike to work, I do so in fear. Because it seems inevitable my time will come. I only hope I am as “lucky” as Kurt was.

    Kurt: heal quickly, and get well. Fabulous post.

  16. […] Dear Driver of the Silver SUV who ran into me on my bicycle this Saturday…. […]

  17. whistleandblaster says:

    And are the Montgomery police taking this seriously? Following up? I have lost faith in my jurisdiction, where they can’t find the driver WITH the tag number.

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Hi WhistelandBlaster – Yes, I do believe that MoCo police are working hard on the case. In addition to the press release, they are using a variety of investigative methods that I can’t disclose publicly at this time.

      While the witness who was in the car behind the assailant is confident about the information she provided about the vehicle, at least one of the digits in the partial tag she provided is not correct. It was also missing the two letters.

      Complicating things for the police, is that fact that MD registrations don’t include the vehicle color. Also, the model is coded in the VIN but not listed in the registration information. So the police can’t pull up all silver Toyota Forerunners in the state and compare tag info.

      Although MD has many great progressive laws, a good change we might want to advocate for would be to include both color and model in new vehicle registrations. It sounds like that would help the police find hit and run drivers, regardless of whether they strike pedestrians, cyclists, or other drivers.

      Thanks for your comments. Sincerely, Kurt

  18. johnstoner says:

    One thing I found–in an incident that was actually my fault–is that rearview mirrors detach with surprising ease. I was on my bike. I stopped and did the right thing. Not everyone does. But an SUV missing a right rearview mirror is a little easier to find. Hopefully that knowledge will not be useful to you in the future.

    It sounds like you were doing everything you could–lights, road awareness. I’m not sure what else I’d recommend. I’ve been hit a few times myself, mostly low speed incidents in city traffic. Most recently I was hit walking across the street, in the crosswalk, no less.

    Heal well and be safe.

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Hi John – thanks for your comments, and sorry to hear you were struck walking across the street in a crosswalk. That’s terrible, and I hope you’ve fully recovered.

      Good suggestion about the mirror. It just brushed me, so I doubt there was even enough force to fold it back if it was that kind of mirror. But its worth checking the side of the road for debris.

      Thanks again! Kurt

  19. Steve says:

    That’s horrible that an accident happened. TI be honest, you have no idea what condition the driver was in (did he or she have a seizure or medical condition? Something horrible happen to him or her st dame time?). While I hear your pain, I would not rush to judgement and criticism). Bad things happen but I’m pretty much would be in a wait and see mode.

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Thanks Steve. That’s a good point. However, a witness that was in the car behind the driver has come forward with some information about the driver and the vehicle. The partial plate and vehicle info hasn’t yet been enough to find the person, but they did say the driver got out of his car at the next intersection and inspected it for damage.

      Thanks again for your comment. Kurt

  20. Deborah Henrichs says:

    Hoping for a full recovery. As for the person who hit you, i hope they do come forward.

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Thanks for the well wishes and support Deborah. I’m already feeling a bit better this week, and can care for myself now. Yes, it would be great if the come forward or if the police’s continuing efforts result in an arrest. Thanks again! Sincerely, Kurt

  21. Charles Williamson says:

    Hi Kurt-

    Unbelievable!! Every time I hear of stories such as yours, it makes me want to vomit. Your letter said it all and I am so disappointed in people who’ve done these things and still consider themselves part of society. There should be a mandatory sentence for people who hit a cyclist and leave them on ground and flee the scene.

    I love road cycling and since I started cycling several years ago, I have never felt better and I have a better outlook on life in general. Many of my friends who don’t cycle constantly ask why do I want to put myself in harms way with motorists who could care less and with traffic laws and a court system that does not support cyclists who are involved in accidents with motorists and I always tell them that I am not oblivious to the dangers, but refuse to sit at home and not do something that I’m so passionate about out of fear.

    One year ago, a woman turned left in front of me at an intersection and I plowed into the passenger side front bumper at 21 mph. At least, I could see her car getting closer as my bike brakes did all that they could to stop me and I’ll always remember how the lady kept talking about the dents and scratches to the side of her car even as I was still trying to get up off the pavement.

    I wish you a speedy recovery and I certainly hope the person is found, but they will probably keep their driver’s license and will probably have to do a day of community service and told to be more careful the next time and that’s it.

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Hi Charles – thanks for your well wishes and support, and I’m sorry to hear about that woman turning in front of you. You said it well, I’m not oblivious to the dangers, and will get back out there as soon as I can. I’ve also learned more about how ride in a way that might help reduce the risks from these kinds of drivers.

      I hear you about the court system, and through this process I’m astounded by how many cyclists in similar situations around the country report that the police their area believed the driver and let them go. Or after the police did the right thing, the driver got off easy in court even though they inflicted permanent injuries on or worse on the cyclist. I understand the courts in Maryland haven’t always been a place where cyclists can find justice for those who cause them injuries or worse.

      The Montgomery County police department, however, is working very hard on this case, and I feel very fortunate. I’ve received some updates on the case, but at this point I get the sense that they are running out of options and need more information to find the driver.

      Well thanks again for your comments and stay safe out there. Sincerely, Kurt

  22. porico says:

    I am sorry to hear of a rider down. Riders need to be smart about controlling traffic behind them. I ride on country roads all of the time. If there is oncoming traffic, or a blind hill, or blind curve, I move to the center of my travel lane. The car approaching from back of me has to either go completely into the other lane, or wait. And, if they do pass too closely, I have buffer to move into. As soon as the oncoming car is close, or the blind spot past, I move back over. Second, never hug the white line. You are asking to be buzzed. Ride 18 inches out- there is some weird psychological distance from the white line that causes drivers to behave differently. Use a helmet mirror and control the cars behind you. Drivers, you may think this is extreme, but one out of every 1000 of you or so tries to kill me if I hug the white line and allow you to pass in a blind situation or oncoming traffic. Been there, done that. Third, I think I’m getting one of the new cameras that you can attach to your handlebars. A group of riders here already got a driver arrested for pulling in front of them, jamming on the brakes, and causing riders to crash. They were able to produce the GPS data that showed they were in a straight section of road. I’ve been riding for 28 years and have yet to get hit.

    The driver should be charged with assault. There is slim chance of any justice, given past records of reckless drivers maiming or killing cyclists. We are on our own and should act accordingly.

    • Kurt Zwally says:

      Hi Porico – thanks for your message and good suggestions. Yep that’s the plan. Several other riders have contacted me and suggested I do the same. And I’ve already started looking for both rear-facing cameras like the Fly6, and one for my bars.

      Thanks for your helpful suggestions and stay safe out there. Sincerely, Kurt

  23. Tamara says:

    MD plates….that is all you needed to say!

  24. […] Dear Driver of the Silver SUV who ran into me on my bicycle this Saturday…: Did I suddenly disappear from your view your vehicle drove over my back wheel and whipped my body […]

  25. I hope you are feeling a bit better now and that they driver has been identified

  26. Susan Houseman says:

    Kurt – First I sincerely hope you are on your way to a full recovery. Thank you for sharing your insight and emotions and questions. My son was not fortunate enough to be able to share. I often wonder what his words would be. He and his girlfriend were left by the side of the road in Florida one year ago. Neither of them survived. It was a straight stretch with a wide lane at 630 am. We all continue to ride but are so painfully aware of irresponsible drivers. Thanks so much for sharing– Sue

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s