Dover Man Arrested After Fatal Bicycle Crash Involving Retired NH Police Officer
Our bicycle accident lawyers discuss this hit-and-run tragedy
The New Hampshire law enforcement community suffered a tragic loss on Sept. 21, 2021, when a retired Hudson police sergeant was struck and killed as she rode her bicycle in Kingston. Adding to the tragedy, the driver who allegedly killed the 59-year-old retired police sergeant fled the scene, leaving her on the side of Route 125 near New Boston Road. She had been in training for a charity bicycle ride.
By week's end – Sept. 24 – police had a suspect in custody. The 45-year-old man was arrested at a Portsmouth motel and charged with negligent homicide. He also was charged with conduct after an accident. Police tracked down the suspect after releasing images of his vehicle, a 2005 GMC Yukon, to the public that had been captured on video.
“That’s obviously great news, but it doesn’t bring back my friend and colleague who I worked with for 20-plus years,” said Hudson Police Chief William Avery, adding: “She was a great person and a good friend of mine.”
In addition, the suspect's wife was charged with hindering apprehension.
Bicyclists have a right to use the road
Riding a bicycle is a fantastic way to get around in New Hampshire, but far too many drivers don't think they need to share the road with cyclists. Sadly, all it takes is one negligent driver to cause a devastating bicycle accident that results in severe injury or death.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers can do their part to keep bicyclists safe by following these tips:
- Look out for cyclists where vehicles do not appear and use extra caution when turning left at an intersection.
- Keep in mind that someone riding a bike might need to slow down so they don't hit potholes, bumps, and other hazards they encounter on the road.
- Yield to a cyclist in the same way you would another motorist, and be careful not to misjudge how fast the bicyclist is going.
- If waiting to turn right on red, remember that a bicyclist could be approaching from the right rear of your car. Before you make your turn, be sure to look left-right-left.
- Be mindful of cyclists in parking lots, stopped at stop signs, at intersections, and when exiting a driveway.
- Drive defensively. That means you should obey the speed limit and adjust your driving for the road conditions.
- Give people who ride bikes room. Don't follow too closely and leave plenty of room when passing a cyclist.
Common types of bicycle accidents and injuries
Cyclists are presented with much different safety challenges than motorists because they are much smaller and have virtually zero protection in the event of a collision when compared to passengers inside an enclosed vehicle that has safety features such as seatbelts and airbags.
As such, it's the responsibility of every motorist to keep alert, stay attentive, and share the road with bicyclists.
Unfortunately, a lot of drivers ignore that responsibility, resulting in:
- Dooring accidents: when a driver or passenger carelessly opens a vehicle's door into the path of a cyclist. The person riding the bike can collide with the car door or be forced to swerve and crash into another vehicle or onto the ground.
- Left hook/left cross accidents: when a driver waiting to turn left at an intersection does not yield to an oncoming cyclist and negligently turns in front of or into the bicycle.
- Right hook accidents: when a driver carelessly makes a right turn in front of or into a person riding a bicycle in the same direction. One of the most common ways this happens is when a vehicle and a bicycle are stopped next to each other at a stop sign or red light.
- Right cross accidents: when a motorist pulling out of a driveway or parking lot drives into the street without looking carefully and ends up in the path of a cyclist.
- Rear-end accidents: when a motorist is following a cyclist too closely or fails to consider the shorter stopping distance of a bicycle and hits the back of the bike. This can also happen when drivers aren't careful in maintaining a proper lookout.
Anyone who gets hit by a car is at risk of suffering severe and potentially permanent injuries. Even when wearing a helmet and other protective equipment, it's common for bicyclists to suffer life-altering injuries such as:
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones (facial fractures, dental fractures, rib fractures, broken arm, broken leg)
- Internal injuries (ruptured spleen, lacerated kidney, collapsed lung, punctured lung, pancreatic trauma, bowel contusion, vascular perforation, traumatic hernia)
- Head injuries (concussions, traumatic brain injury, bleeding on the brain, skull fracture)
If you were hit by a car and suffered injuries, you have recourse under New Hampshire law, and a personal injury attorney can help you get a clear understanding of your legal rights and options.
Know your rights when you've been injured
Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do to protect yourself when riding your bicycle. No matter how safe you are, you remain largely at the mercy of motorists, which means all it takes is one negligent driver for you to get hit by a car. If you were hit by a car while riding a bicycle, it's likely you've suffered major injuries. If your family has lost someone in an accident, the pain and suffering can be immeasurably worse.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go down this road alone. When you have our law firm on your side, we can handle every aspect of your claim and aggressively advocate for your best interests while we fight for the compensation you need and deserve.
For more than 150 years, our attorneys have been proudly serving injury victims throughout New Hampshire. Founded in 1870, our law firm takes pride in making reckless drivers answer for their negligence.
Find out how an experienced New Hampshire bicycle accident lawyer can help you and contact us today for a free consultation. Our offices are located in Dover and Portsmouth, and we would be honored to talk to you about your potential legal case.