Bike-car collisions worry Montgomery Co. residents

WASHINGTON — Residents are concerned for cyclists’ safety after yet another collision between cars and bike riders in Maryland.

A cyclist was struck by a car Tuesday morning in Cabin John, Maryland.

Pete Piringer, spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, tweeted about the accident at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The cyclist and the vehicle collided as the car turned into a parking lot off MacArthur Boulevard. The cyclist was traveling on the MacArthur Boulevard bike path alongside the road. The collision was minor and the cyclist did not need to go to the hospital.

Stefanie Rothschild lives in the area, and says she and her family use the bike path a lot.

“For years I’d push a stroller, or I’d be jogging, walking my dog, and people would come up onto the bike path to pass other cars turning, which was terrifying.”

Rothschild says the town has recently installed a median, but it’s still dangerous.

“It’s scary considering what happened last week,” she says, referring to the cyclist in Bethesda who was struck and killed while out riding. Rothschild also says the accident occurred right next to an elementary school bus stop.

“I’ve sat at this bus stop for 10 years with my elementary school kids, and I’ve seen some crazy things.”

Piringer told WTOP that bicycles and cars are both vehicles in the eyes of the law, so they need to learn to coexist.

“We need to appreciate bicyclists’ vulnerability on the road. Cyclists do have rights.”

That said, Piringer has advice for both cars and bikes on how to safely share the road.

For drivers, he says paying attention to your surroundings is key.

“Give it your full attention, give them at least 3 feet of clearance, and certainly look around, get off your phone and clear your mind, but look around before you make any kind of turn.”

Piringer also cautions against “dooring” a cyclist, that is, opening your car door into a bike lane without checking to see if anyone is coming.

For cyclists, Piringer has several rules for smarter cycling.

First, follow the rules of the road. Be visible, be predictable in your actions and pay attention in problem areas like intersections and parking lots. And above all, Piringer says, the best thing you can do is the simplest thing you can do.

“Always, always wear a helmet.”

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report. 

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