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Bicycle accident raises safety

By Monique Lewis
Daily Times Staff Writer

SALISBURY, Delware USA -- Nine out of 10 cyclist fatalities are the result of not wearing a helmet, said Dennis Winters, president of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

Charles Curtis Campbell of Salisbury was bicycling northbound on Route 13 to clock in at Target by 4 a.m. Monday, said Christopher Plumadore, a Maryland State Police collision reconstructionist.

Rough rain might have played a role in Campbell's death when a Herr's snack-food truck driver, Stephen Richard Sprankle, struck the bicyclist in the left lane near Clover Street, MSP Sgt. Keith Johnson said Monday.

"He was not wearing a helmet," Plumadore said. "Anyone over the age 16 is not required to wear a helmet, but it's recommended."

Campbell was found lying in the center of the median by the guardrail, Johnson said. He died at the scene.

Target is on the right side of the road. Plumadore and Johnson said Campbell should have been in the right lane. A left turning lane is several hundred feet further down from the accident, Johnson said.

So far the investigation is leading toward blame on Campbell, Plumadore said.

"If he was going to be turning left, he had every right," Winters said. "(The cyclist) is not required to ride to the right lane if the cyclist perceives it to be a hazard to the vehicle."

Bicycles are treated as vehicles in Maryland, states the Motor Vehicle Administration Web site. Motorists must yield the right-of-way to bicyclists. A bicycle is not restricted to the right side of the road, the Web site states.

"You try to stay to the right, but there are some things you just have to avoid," Winters said.

Not all cyclists obey the rules of the road, but the greater risk is that drivers don't treat bicyclists as drivers on the road, said Erin Drew, a Salisbury bicyclist.

"The right side of the roadway is frequently strewn with debris," Drew said. "Motorists need to be aware that bicyclists are vehicles and have every right to share the roadway as long as they're behaving in a safe, legal manner."

Campbell also wasn't wearing visible night clothing, Plumadore said. A red reflector was mounted on the seat, and Campbell's and Sprankle's speeds are still undetermined, he said.

# Reach Monique Lewis at 410-845-4656 or mlewis@salisbury.gannett.com.

http://www.delmarvanow.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050701/NEWS01/507010301/1002

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