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The hazards of city bicycling and organ donations

Dan Morhaim's op-ed regarding advanced directives troubled me in two ways ("Planning for the worst," June 6). First, even the most careful bicyclist is in danger, and secondly because parents don't ultimately have the right to decide on organ donations.

I live on the corner of Pratt and President streets and watch turning cars encroach the green "bike lane" often. Fortunately, no one has been injured yet, but riding a bike in Baltimore is dangerous. When we moved here from New York, I attempted on several occasions to ride around the city but recognized it was a hazardous procedure. Unlike New York City, where bikes and automobiles share the road (yes, it's true), Baltimore drivers are oblivious to bike riders. I know this from personal experience and from direct observation.

The tragic car accident that left Nathan Krasnopoler brain dead, even though wearing a safety helmet, indicates just how perilous it is to ride a bike in the city. Granted, Baltimore has designated lanes for bicyclists, and some are painted bright green, but motorists are often unmindful when they turn or if the lighting is poor. While I feel sorry for the victim's family and friends, I also have sympathy for the driver who hit the young man, especially since he was trapped under her car and she could do nothing but wait for help to arrive. No doubt this woman will be suffering guilt for the rest of her life.

Regarding organ donation, there is ample information and everyone should let their loved ones know of such a request. I have let my family know, and have it written down. However, in no way should this most personal matter be allowed into the hands of "health care surrogates." And under no circumstance would I put this on my driver's license or tax return. I do not trust the bureaucracy and neither should others. While the life and death reality of an organ is understandable, it is also understandable that such a body part has incredible financial worth. I would never entrust such a donation, should I be in a vegetative state, to anyone other than a responsible and reliable family member.

R.N. Ellis, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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