Oct. 7, 2019 (PORTLAND, Maine) – Kathleen Kirsch, 63, was hit on her bicycle on Route 1 in Scarborough by the driver of a pick-up truck on the afternoon of Sept. 13. Kirsch succumbed to her injuries the following day, marking Maine’s second cyclist fatality of 2019.
The driver of the truck, Marc Greenberg, 53, has been cooperating in the ongoing investigation. A crash report must be completed within 30 days of the crash, at which point, the police will meet with the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office to determine if charges will be filed.
Two weeks later, on Saturday, Sept. 29, a 34-year-old male cyclist was found unconscious with his bicycle on the side of the road in West Bath. Police believe it is possible that the man was hit by a vehicle. Other than a confirmation that the cyclist was wearing a helmet, no further information has been released at this time. The Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department is seeking more information about the crash.
“The number of fatalities and crashes we have seen in Maine this year is concerning,” says Jim Tassé, Assistant Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.
Tassé says the Coalition will continue its outreach and education efforts to remind vulnerable users about best practices when using the roads. The organization says with the days getting shorter and school being back in session, it is imperative that motorists to stay alert and aware, obey speed limits, and never drive distracted or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
“We hope the passage of LD470, which forbids the use of any handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle, sends a clear message to motorists about the importance of non-distracted driving, and will result in fewer crashes altogether,” says Tassé.
As a reminder, pedestrians and other vulnerable users can be present on Maine’s roadways in all conditions and times of day. Pedestrians and cyclists should use extra care to be visible, especially when walking or biking after dark, and to follow best practices and the law for roadway safety.