Baltimore area framebuilder Tom Palermo, aged 41, was struck and killed by a car Saturday while he was riding his bicycle. Tom was a husband and father of young children. I've seen some of Tom's beautiful bicycle framebuilding work, though I'd never met him personally -- but from everything I've heard from those who knew him, it sounds like he was a really great guy. Dale Brown, of the Classic Rendezvous group, called Tom "truly one of the nicest guys in cycling."
|Tom with his daughter. (Photo from the Bikemore blog)|
Unfortunately, a terrible truth for all of us cyclists is that there is far too often an "accidents will happen" mindset in our justice system, so the drivers who maim and kill cyclists rarely see any kind of criminal charges, or those charges are so watered down as to be rendered meaningless. Police, prosecutors, and grand juries, being primarily motorists themselves, are much more likely to identify with the drivers in these incidents -- and thereby take the attitude that the cyclists took their lives into their own hands simply by riding in the streets.
|And yet the driver left the scene.|
There is currently an effort from friends, family, and other cyclists to encourage the prosecutors on the case to pursue homicide charges against Cook. You find some info about that on Facebook. There are some nice photos of Tom with his family on the site.
More info about the incident can be found HERE and HERE.
Tom Palermo got his start building bicycles with the Proteus Bike Shop in College Park, Maryland, which is where a number of other builders got started. Some of Tom's framebuilding work can be seen at his website. He was a talented guy. But the real tragedy of this story is that his young children have lost their father -- and nothing can change that.
Will there be justice for Tom?