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A 30 year-old Green Party candidate set to run for a Senate seat in Maryland this year was the victim of a fatal bicycle accident on Sunday. Natasha Pettigrew was riding her bike in early morning hours training for a triathalon when she was struck by an SUV. The driver of the car thought she hit an animal and kept driving with the bike lodged under her car.
The Washington Post reports that Natasha Pettigrew died in the hospital one day after the accident from her injuries. The Post quotes Maryland State Police spokesperson Greg Shipley: "She had driven to her home and called from her home. The initial indication was that she thought she may have hit a deer or animal in the roadway ... when she arrived home and saw the bicycle, she assumed it was something else."
Maryland Green Party co-chairman Brian Bittner adds, "Natasha had incredible potential as a future leader for this party and this state. The Green Party has never experienced a loss like this." Pettigrew put off her final two years of law school to run for the Maryland Senate seat. Although police do not suspect any type of drugs or alcohol involved in the fatal accident, they are still investigating the incident, and no charges have been filed.
Bikes and cars share the road as equals. Bike riders are expected to adhere to traffic safety rules in exactly the same way that cars are. But as the Natasha Pettigrew fatal bicycle accidents reveals, when the two collide, one is at a very distinct disadvantage. The sheer size, speed, and overall design of a car (and an SUV in particular) can leave a cyclist helpless. Biking during times when visibility may be difficult only serves to compound the problem. Pettigrew was not wearing reflective clothing at the time of her accident, another factor that could have contributed to accident.