Bicycle safety depends on alert motorists

I, too, was saddened by the tragedy of 51-year-old cyclist Shawn Blumenfeld’s passing and would like to respond to Joe Heldmann’s letter to the editor about the need for cyclists to ride with lights (”Bikes need better lights,” March 30).

Proper lighting is important, and a law that requires it is one that I’d support, but we have no idea what lighting was on Mr. Blumenfeld’s bike. I’m a cyclist and rode over 3,000 miles in Baltimore County last year. I always have four rear-facing lights, one front-facing light, and a high-visibility jersey or jacket. None of them protected me from being hit by a car 4 1/2 years ago. In fact, the driver told the police that he had seen me, he simply didn’t move over properly to pass me.

Lighting, or the lack of it, does not absolve drivers of the responsibility of being aware of their surroundings. Nothing scares me more than being passed by someone holding their phone in their hand — except one who is in such a rush that they can’t pause long enough to pass me safely. Feeling the rush of wind from a side mirror is nerve-wracking.

Mr. Heldmann mentioned that he was a motorcyclist at one time. I feel a connection with motorcyclists because we are both out in the open while surrounded by multi-ton vehicles. We all need to follow the same laws, ride or drive defensively and cautiously, and be aware of our surroundings. Giving a driver a break because a cyclist may or may not have lights is simply wrong. It is unlikely that a cyclist who is hit from behind could be at fault.

Alan Merenbloom, Timonium

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