I read Rush Loving Jr.’s recent commentary denouncing Baltimore’s bicycle lobby with some interest, not just because I work as a physician in trauma and surgical critical care and frequently am on the sad receiving end of pedestrians and cyclists struck by motor vehicles, but because I myself was run over and almost killed on Roland Avenue a decade ago in the then unprotected bike lane (“Stop caving in to Baltimore’s bike lobby,” Sept. 9). The tire of the van (driven by my dry cleaner, incidentally. Smalltimore, right?) ran across my back, and I recall the months of pain spent in physical recovery and the deep respect I gained for skin by having none. My bicycle helmet then saved my life, but I’ve seen many lives lost in the context of my job who sadly helmets couldn’t save.
The repeated experience of telling parents and family members that the time had come to say goodbye to their loved one will never leave me. I firmly believe that if every single person in this city just once had the experience of seeing what it looks like when a cyclist is struck by a car and brought to the hospital, they would not be arguing over the “inconvenience” of parking and driving on our roads when they are joined with protected bike lanes. It is important to keep in mind that most people who are struck are not injured fatally, but many have to deal with disability of sometimes devastating degrees for the rest of their lives. We need to be willing to tolerate a minor inconvenience for the health and safety of our children and families. When I see the cars on Roland Park, protecting those lanes, I smile knowing that many fewer people will have to get bad news or go through an experience like I have had as a patient and as a doctor.
I would remind the anti-bike lane citizens of Baltimore that the bike lobby will soon find itself joined by the many new riders of Bird and Lime scooters who are decidedly not interested in being struck or run over while they travel through the city. Bikes and scooters are making Baltimore more accessible, cleaner and less inconvenient since fewer people in cars makes for easier car travel.
Dr. Thomas J. Cusack, Baltimore
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