Man’s death could lead to law changes

Man’s death could lead to law changes

The death of a 20-year-old Maryland man from a brain injury sustained in a car accident could help lead to sweeping changes to state law.

The family of the man, who was a student at Johns Hopkins University at the time of his death in February 2011, is supporting legislation currently under consideration by the Maryland General Assembly to require drivers to pass a competency test, attach eight points to the driver’s license of a motorist who doesn’t contact authorities in an injury accident, and broaden the scope of who can make organ donation decisions.

The young man involved in the accident, who was from a Baltimore suburb, was riding his bicycle home in a marked bike lane when he was struck by an 83-year-old driver attempting to make a turn. He was pinned under the car for at least 15 minutes. He never regained consciousness until he died nearly six months later from brain injuries.

His family maintains a Facebook page in his memory and has developed “Safer Maryland Roads,” a brochure that summarizes their work to try to prevent similar accidents.

Johns Hopkins also has become proactive, working to improve safety in some areas around the university where bikers and pedestrians share the road with cars. It also has paid for a broader safety study of certain streets and intersections. Additionally, university officials expect a two-year safety upgrades project for bikers and walkers to start soon.

But this work will go to waste if drivers are not more careful and do not learn that they have to share the road. It shouldn’t take any more deaths for the message to get across.

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