Ghost bike placed in honor of Christopher Benton
FABB was very saddened to learn that Christopher Benton died on November 22 as the result of a collision with a motorist at Fort Hunt and Belle Haven Roads. The crash occurred on November 14. A ghost bike has now been placed at the site of the crash. A ghost bike is a white bicycle set up as a roadside memorial in a place where a cyclist has been killed. Besides acting as a memorial to Christopher, it is intended as a reminder to passing motorists to share the road.
Christopher was an avid cyclist who discovered bicycle touring in 1993. From 1994 to 1999 he toured throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2001 he started cycling to work four to five days a week, twenty-six miles round trip. Christopher also used his bicycle for transportation on short trips around his neighborhood.
The type of crash in which Christopher was killed, where a motorist turns left in front of an oncoming cyclist, is a very common cause of bicyclist/motorist crash. Motorists may not be looking for a bicyclist, may underestimate the speed of the oncoming bicyclist, or may ignore that the bicyclist has the right-of-way and assume the cyclist will stop. Cyclists need to be aware that this type of crash is common and always proceed with caution through intersections.
Motorists when turning should yield to bicyclists. They should approach and pass bicyclists at a reasonable speed, allowing at least two feet when passing. Cyclists should wear bright clothing to increase visibility and always use lights when riding at night. They should ride 2-3 feet from the edge of the road in a visible position. If there are parked cars, they should ride 4-5 feet from cars to avoid being hit by a door that could open suddenly. If the lane is too narrow to share (less than 14 feet), cyclists should take the lane, riding in the center or just to the right of center of the lane.
In all states in the U.S. cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists when using the road. Motorists need to be aware that cyclists often travel at speeds in excess of 20 mph, especially when traveling downhill. We must all share the road.
FABB continues its ongoing work to improve safety for all bicyclists in the county through our work on infrastructure design and road user education.