An assistant coach for Catholic University's basketball team recently died in Kentucky while on a charity bicycle ride from Baltimore, Maryland to Portland, Oregon. The 24-year-old woman was struck and killed by a truck in Scott County, just outside of Lexington.
The woman and roughly 30 other bicycle riders had been riding cross country to raise money for the Ulman Cancer Fund. The objective was to cover 4,000 miles in 70 days. The woman had paused on the side of U.S. Route 25 to change a tire when the truck struck her. She was pronounced dead at the scene, while the riders around her suffered injuries that were not life threatening. There is no indication as to whether the truck driver stopped to aid the injured riders, or whether the truck driver was being negligent, or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Those who knew the woman praised her for her fun-loving personality and her willingness to take on challenges. She knew ahead of time that the 4,000-mile bicycle ride was going to be her greatest challenge yet, but she was prepared to see it through. She would be remembered for "her caring nature, considerable warmth, subtle sense of humor, and consistent thoughtfulness."
Now the woman's family and friends are prepared to continue the journey to its end, through a movement they have called "Miles for Jamie." They launched a Facebook group that called on people to ride bikes, run, or walk to finish the journey to Portland. Meanwhile, the woman's family has urged individuals to make donations to the Ulman Cancer Fund in her honor.
The woman's tragic death underscores the often vulnerable position bicycle riders find themselves in. The infrastructure for bicycle riding is too often inadequate, such as few bicycle-only lanes. Every year across the country, roughly 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured in reported road accidents, including 3,000 cyclists who are killed or seriously injured. Roughly 80 percent of cycling accidents occur in the daytime, and while 75 percent of fatal or serious accidents happen in urban areas, around 50 percent of cycling fatalities happen on rural roads. Of those killed, three-fourths died of head injuries.
Those seriously injured by a vehicle, or those who have lost a loved one in a vehicle accident, have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other party. Kentucky has a pure comparative negligence system, which means that even if the bicycle rider is partially at fault, or even mostly at fault, the rider or his or her loved ones can collect an award from the other party if they can prove the other party is partially at fault. By contrast, Indiana has a modified comparative negligence system, which states that if the injured party is more than 50 percent at fault, he or she cannot collect from the other party.
Miller & Falkner is an Indiana and Kentucky plaintiffs law firm. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, the firm provides representation in the areas of personal injury and employment law. If you need a Kentucky or Indiana personal injury attorney, contact us today for a free consultation.