Christopher Lee Bradshaw of Lothian, MD was convicted of violating Maryland’s 3-foot bicycle passing law and negligent driving on April 19, 2021 in Annapolis, MD’s District Court. Maryland’s 3-foot passing law was enacted on October 1, 2010 but charges for violating this law and endangering bicyclists when passing them too closely are very infrequent. However, the increase in usage of video camera technology (like Cycliq cameras) by bicyclists and law enforcement is improving those statistics by holding dangerous drivers accountable.
On Saturday, October 3, 2020, Ed Caldeira was out for his regular Saturday morning group bicycle ride with about a dozen other riders. This group of experienced cyclists typically rides about 45 miles, mostly on the scenic roads of south Anne Arundel County.
On that particular Saturday morning, Ed and his riding friends were only a few miles into their ride which took them onto Sands Road, a popularly ridden South County country road. Multiple drivers passed the bicyclists safely. They gave the cyclists more than the required 3 feet of space and some even moved entirely into the other lane of travel to allow a greater and safer passing berth. [Many safe drivers pass this way but on October 1, 2020, an amendment to the existing 3 -foot passing law made it legal for motorists to cross over the double yellow centerline to increase safety when passing bicyclists (provided there are adequate sight lines, no oncoming traffic, and plenty of time to return to their original lane of travel).] Right after one driver passed Ed and his fellow riders with care, Christopher Lee Bradshaw, who initially began his pass safely, aggressively steered his pick-up truck toward the cycling group and buzzed them at extremely close range.
Mr. Caldeira reported that the truck’s mirror brushed his shoulder. There was no oncoming traffic at the time and the close-call appeared intentional to the cyclists. After zooming by and grazing Ed’s shoulder, Bradshaw accelerated and continued on his way. The cycling group pulled over to assess what had happened and regroup after what was nearly a deadly (and seemingly intentional) act.
Ed Caldeira has been biking for 30 years and was able to maintain control of his bicycle. As an experienced and educated cyclist, he also rides with Cycliq integrated front and rear-facing video camera lights (Fly 12, Fly 6) mounted to his bike’s handlebars and seat post as do others in the group. Mr. Caldeira called police from the side of the road to report the incident and followed up by providing the recorded video evidence.
Police Used the Cycliq Video
Using the Cycliq video, Anne Arundel County Police were able to identify the truck’s tag and track down the driver, Christopher Lee Bradshaw. Bradshaw was subsequently charged with violating Maryland’s 3 foot bicycle passing law, negligent driving, and reckless driving.
The Anne Arundel County Police collaborated with the Anne Arundel County’s State’s Attorney Office and the case went to trial in Annapolis District Court on Monday, April 19, 2021 where eyewitness testimony was corroborated by the irrefutable video evidence shown to the judge, clearly capturing the extremely dangerous and potentially deadly pass.
Bradshaw was convicted of negligent driving and violating the 3-foot passing law. Unfortunately, in Maryland and nationwide, the number of bicyclist and pedestrian road fatalities continues to rise, even as the mortality rates for both motorists and motor vehicle passengers decline. In 2020, despite the decrease in motor vehicle traffic volume due to COVID-19, the number of Maryland’s pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities rose. This close-call case on Sands Rd. demonstrates the importance of both this piece of bike-safety legislation and how the growing use of video camera technology and appropriate enforcement can be used to catch and convict dangerous drivers. So, remember, when you see a light on a bike, it may very well be a Cycliq camera looking back at – and recording – you.
According to Rachael Maney, National Director of Bike Law, the nation’s most experienced network of independently practicing bicycle attorneys and legal advocates: “Video camera technology mounted on bikes, inside vehicles, and their growing usage by law enforcement are making dangerous drivers more likely to be caught, charged, and convicted, and we hope these growing number of convictions discourage careless, reckless, negligent driving and inspire motorists to exercise greater care.”
Bicycle Advocates of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (“BikeAAA”) has been working with its partners in the Anne Arundel County Police Department and other county and state agencies to improve safety for all road users, but especially those most vulnerable. We encourage drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians (many of us are all of those things) to each know and understand their respective rights and responsibilities, and ask drivers to use extra precaution when they encounter people on foot or bike.
Learn more about Maryland safety laws at https://zerodeathsmd.gov/pedestrian-safety/ and at Bike Law MD.