02

Blog

Personalizing the Consequences of Bicycle Crashes – the Gerald Apple Story

I always wonder what it will take to get the attention of motorists. How can we drive it into people that they shouldn’t take risks when operating a two ton hunk of metal at high speed? Maybe stricter traffic laws – lower speed limits, prohibiting cell phone use – would help; or increasing punishments for those who break the laws, especially when doing so causes injury or death.

Certainly those measures should be considered. But we can also continue to share stories. All of us involved in cycling, whether we interact with other cyclists while riding, or on the advocacy side, or in the legal world, have lots of stories to tell. These stories personalize the consequences of taking unnecessary risks when driving. And to anyone with a conscience, they should be a daily wake-up call.

Gerald Apple

Today my thoughts are with the family of Gerald Apple, especially his wife, Debbie Apple. Gerald worked for 37 years serving his community as a firefighter. He had recently retired from his job at the Guildford County Fire Marshall’s office (although still working part time) and took up cycling to improve his health.

One afternoon last fall, Gerald was finishing up his ride and turning left into his driveway. Debbie wasn’t home at the time but expected to come home that night to a normal, quiet evening with her husband. Instead, she came home to a nightmare.

A driver coming up behind Gerald crossed the double yellow line to pass Gerald on the left, even though Gerald was already in the left lane, hit him and threw into the air until he landed in a ditch.

Gerald suffered serious brain damage from the crash and never recovered. He was moved from facility to facility as his wife fought with health insurance to pay for his care. Gerald passed away in February of this year. His wife, who is disabled, is left with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses that health insurance wouldn’t cover. But worse than that, she is left without her life partner. Gerald Apple spent his life and career helping others and his life ended too suddenly and tragically.

There is a fund to help the Apple family: Donations can be sent to: 237 E. Main St., Gibsonville, N.C. 27249, or taken to the Fidelity Bank branch; a walk/run fundraiser is also planned this weekend in Gibsonville. If you live in the area, it’s a way to repay Gerald Apple for his long service to the community.

As part of the bike community, think about what you can do to help prevent the next tragedy. If you have a compelling story to share, tell us. Be a missionary to your friends, family, co-workers about safe and cautious driving. Spread the message that the person on a bicycle is someone’s husband, wife, father, mother and/or child. Our actions affect the community as a whole – I know you know that; now let’s make sure everyone else does.

Comments

Jun 23, 2016

On June 22, 2016, the driver who ran down and killed five Kalamazoo cyclists and injured four others was officially brought into a Kalamazoo courtroom and charged with five counts of second-degree murder and four counts of reckless driving causing serious impairment. At that court proceeding, it was also revealed that the driver, 50-year-old Charles […]

Read More
Jun 20, 2016

Before heading out for a ride most of us intuitively check our air, brakes, chains and cranks and do a once over of our bikes.  We confirm our helmets are secure, our cell phones and Garmins are charged, and that we have lights, if we think we’ll need them.  If we are going any significant […]

Read More
Jun 17, 2016

In light of the Kalamazoo, Michigan tragedy, it’s so easy to focus on what’s wrong with the world. Several similar incidents this year have hit too close to home. Some friends in North Carolina were also run down in group.  As were clients in in North Augusta, SC.  As our community grows, we experience more […]

Read More
Jun 08, 2016

Since early this morning, my phone has been blowing up with calls, text messages, and e-mails from cyclists concerned, outraged, and simply wanting more information about the recent tragedy in Kalamazoo.  It’s hard for me to think about this tragic collision, but at the same time, it is impossible to escape. Here is just one […]

Read More
rep62
Jun 02, 2016

*** 2d UPDATE, June 5, 2016, noon *** A cyclist emailed Havard to ask him to change his anti-bike position; Havard responded.  His parents not only taught Havard “not to play in the road,” they apparently taught him when you are in a hole, keep on diggin’! We invite you to let him know how […]

Read More
TORONTO, ON - JULY 7: Critical injury lawyer Patrick Brown seen inside the Mcleish Orlando law firm on July 7, 2015. Brown is raising awareness about the lack of regulations at extreme sport facilities around the city.
Jun 02, 2016

Patrick Brown of Bike Law Canada has been nominated for Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s 25 Most Influential! We would not only like to congratulate Pat, but ask that you take the time to vote for him due to his efforts advocating for cyclists. Pat is a proud founding member and past director of Cycle Toronto (formerly Toronto Cyclist Union) […]

Read More
2-42-55 Yellow
May 31, 2016

When I first met Richard a nurse was assisting him with the delicate task of using the hospital bathroom.  He had just had surgery on his broken right leg, now wrapped in a heavy plaster cast.  Defecation and its attendant tasks were proving a challenge.  He needed help. The rest of his body was a […]

Read More
IMG_0466
May 27, 2016

As lawyers who advocate for cyclists in Colorado, we try to effectuate change one case at a time.  Recently in traffic court, we were able to make things better not just for a sole client, but also for other cyclists. Jonathan came to see me after a horrible bike crash.  He was crossing the road […]

Read More
May 20, 2016

I recently had the chance to meet a passionate bicyclist named Max Mcallister.   Max is, by all accounts, the real deal when it comes to bicycling and bike culture and is definitely a Bike Law kind of guy.   He rides every day.   He seeks out challenges.   He rides through pain and, occasionally, injury.    He gives […]

Read More
video
May 15, 2016

Here’s a video of an off-duty Charleston police officer confronting a cyclist (who had been cycling against traffic on a one-way street), preventing him from leaving, and getting physical and ultimately schooled.  The officer is currently on administrative leave pending investigation. There’s a lot to discuss. We often get complaints from cyclists harassed by police […]

Read More
May 05, 2016

Despite a visionary mayor for decades and a promising new one for months, and despite great weather, an urban core, and flat topography, Charleston is a horrible, unsafe place to ride a bike.  Our city leaders — so good on many issues — have completely failed to plan for transportation. But more and more of […]

Read More
Apr 26, 2016

At Bike Law, we know too well that drivers are often not seriously charged for injuring cyclists in crashes. But in more and more of our cases, they are.  Here’s a recent example from North Carolina in which the police correctly upped the charges from misdemeanor to felony.  Thanks to the growing number of police […]

Read More
Load More