Driver Error: Cyclist Death

Trish Cunningham was involved — in a lot of things. Devoted to her family, the 50-year-old Annapolis resident was also an assistant high school track, field and cross-country coach. She worked at the Annapolis Running Shop and, as a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, she served as field hockey commissioner and coach. Ms. Cunningham completed her first duathalon in July of this year. In August she was hit by a van while cycling and killed.

Riding south on Riva Road near Beards Point Road on the day she died, Ms. Cunningham reached a blind rise in the road the same time as Whitney Anne Decesaris, who was driving a Honda Odyssey van, traveled in the same direction. In a no-passing zone, Ms. Decesaris decided to pass Ms. Cunningham, and when doing so, she observed an approaching northbound vehicle. Ms. Decesaris swerved right, driving directly over Ms. Cunningham.

In Maryland, aggressive driving is against the law. Aggressive driving includes behaviors like the following:

  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Passing on the right or dangerous passing
  • Speeding
  • Following too closely
  • Failure to obey signals and signs, or to yield the right of way

While the causes of aggressive driving are unique to each driver, in this case, it appears Ms. Cunningham was killed by impatience. Charges have yet to be decided in the case, but regret cannot compensate for the full and rich life Ms. Cunningham enjoyed and the family and community that enjoyed all she had to offer.

Cycling is inherently dangerous, as is driving. The two do not mix when motorists drive aggressively.

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