May 21st was officially Bike to Work Day in Virginia (VA) which meant a higher-than-average number of bikes were on the road. Sadly, a day meant to promote healthy living and a better environment turned tragic in Fairfax County, Virginia (VA) when an SUV veered off the road and hit two bicyclists. One of the bike riders and the driver of the SUV died at the scene, according to the Washington Post. The other bicyclist suffered serious injuries.
This car-bike wreck occurred at Lee Highway and Forum Drive. Reports indicate the driver of the SUV lost control cutting threw six lanes of traffic and jumping the curb at Forum Drive. After hitting the bike rider, the SUV eventually slammed into a tree.
We don't know, at this time, what caused the accident. Some reports have speculated it could have been a medical condition with the driver of the SUV but no one can say definitively.
Bike to Work day, as mentioned earlier, is an attempt to promote physical fitness and decrease the number of cars on the road, which will help cut down on carbon emissions for the day. Unfortunately, this accident highlights the inherent risks associated with biking to work on a regular basis. Having bicyclists, with only a helmet as their best protection, share the road with cars, trucks, and SUVs creates a volatile situation where even the slightest error - either from a bicyclist or a vehicle operator - can lead to a loss of life or serious injury. In 2008, approximately 13 bike riders were killed in accidents in VA, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Statistics aside, I want to send my deepest sympathies out to the family of the bicyclist that was killed in this terrible accident. He was only 17 years old and was reportedly involved in high school athletics. Losing someone you love in an accident is awful, but the pain of losing someone so young with such a bright future ahead of them makes this loss that much more tragic.
If you'd like to send your condolences, here is a link to the slain bicyclist's Facebook remembrance page.