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

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
Apr 21, 2016

  There are things the world needs less of.  Poverty.  Traffic.  Condominiums. Bike shops would not make the list.  Fixers and sellers of bicycles are folks who only the most irascible curmudgeon would wish to see fewer in number.  Yet, battle lines have been drawn in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood between the owners of high […]

Read More
Mike Dayton
Apr 15, 2016

I got hit. Put me down for 44 years without an injury, save for the occasional tired knee and lungs. A careful rider with a mirror to see cars that approach too quickly. A careful rider who watches and slows for riders off the back. Yes, a careful rider, but I don’t remember seeing the […]

Read More
portrait_main_harsch
Apr 07, 2016

A Man Died Today.   I / Bruce didn’t know him.   So why am I so sad? John Harsch was killed doing something that he apparently loved. Riding his bicycle.   I use the word “apparently” because I didn’t know him.   But there are a lot of things I know about him without having to have met […]

Read More
Mar 14, 2016

Iain Gerrard would have finished his 1,500 mile bike tour with a fun, slow-paced ride through the French Quarter, but sadly, the opportunity was taken from him. His parents, William and Jean Gerrard, are coming to New Orleans to experience the bike ride that their son was never able to finish. On Sunday, March 20, […]

Read More
Mar 08, 2016

Recently in Toronto, a young skateboarder was run down and killed when a taxi driver intentionally smashed his taxi into him. The driver was sentenced to four years.  The sentence has been criticized by some as too stiff, and the lawyer for the taxi driver is appealing the penalty. Here’s the video.  Watch as the […]

Read More
Feb 26, 2016

The crash that sent our webmaster and blogger Mike Dayton to the ICU (still in critical condition) and that injured three others has garnered much attention around the country.  We have reported on his condition, and the weak charges filed against the reckless driver. Thanks to so many for your kind words and thoughts to […]

Read More
12764536_10153279633001513_289113537971706586_o
Feb 23, 2016

As most of you know, Mike Dayton and three other cyclists were run down on a North Carolina road on Saturday, February 20th.  Mike is Bike Law’s webmaster and blogger, and if you read these pages, you are familiar with his wit, passion for cycling, and mastery of the topic.  Mike is better known as […]

Read More
no bike sign, bicycle accident, bike crash, bicycle accident attorney, bicycle accident lawyer,
Feb 19, 2016

I’ve had a good laugh at those ridiculous anti-biking bills that have been circulating on Facebook. All you can do is shake your head in disbelief, cringe a little and shrug it off. It’s like watching a spectacular belly flop from the high dive. First up is that asinine law proposed by Rep. Jay Houghton of […]

Read More
Door Zone--Bike Law Image
Feb 18, 2016

Dooring crashes.  You know the danger if you live in any U.S. or Canadian city where older roads have been retrofitted with bike lanes. Those bike facilities are often shoehorned into the space next to car parking. When car passengers open their door without looking, they can hit passing bikers. Here’s how Daniel Flanzig, a […]

Read More
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Feb 15, 2016

Tennessee bicyclists, take note: a bill being considered by your lawmakers could wipe out funding for biking and bike facilities. The bill with the potential to cause the most damage is HB 1650. (A related Senate bill is SB 1760.) The House Transportation Subcommittee has it scheduled for consideration this Wednesday (Feb. 17). What is […]

Read More
bicycle accident, bike crash, bicycle accident attorney, bicycle accident lawyer, Colorado bicycle accident, Colorado bicycle accident lawyer, Gunnison bicycle accident, Gunnison bicycle accident lawyer, Brian Weiss
Feb 12, 2016

Handling Bike Accidents Across Colorado Colorado bicycle accident lawyer Brian Weiss has represented dozens of injured cyclists. An avid bicyclist, Brian brings two decades of legal experience to the Bike Law network. Brian represents cyclists in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Aspen, and across the state. He is representing the family of a Gunnison cyclist who was killed […]

Read More
Load More