Editor’s note: This story was updated at 8:35 p.m. on August 29, 2022, to include the amount of donations received.
Before cycling to her sons’ new elementary school last Thursday, Sarah Langenkamp used her cell phone to plan her route, which included the Capital Crescent Trail and designated bike paths in neighborhoods near her Bethesda home.
But those precautions came to naught when Sarah, 42, was struck and killed by a flatbed truck driver around 4 p.m. on her way home from school, according to county police. The mother-of-two was riding a bike path in the 5200 block of River Road at the time.
Angered by the senseless death of his wife, Daniel Langenkamp launched a go finance me page Sunday with the goal of raising $50,000 to help organizations that work on bike safety and increase advocacy for safer bike routes. On Monday evening, the fund raised more than $71,000 in donations.
“If cities are serious about making themselves walkable and bikeable to attract workers and talent, they need to do more than paint lines and bike symbols on the roads,” he wrote on the page.
“Such bike lanes – devoid of proper barriers, truck/car driver education, laws and enforcement – are nothing but death traps, luring innocent victims like Sarah to them. They result in tragic deaths that leave children without parents and the world without its most talented and committed individuals.
Daniel said in his post that he and Sarah have made cycling part of their lifestyle as a way to “live a healthy, humble, green life” in every place they have lived during their careers at the Department of Health. ‘State. The Langenkamps regularly cycled abroad, notably in Ukraine and Ivory Coast.
“Sarah didn’t need to show the world that she was a successful professional, diplomat, leader and role model,” he wrote. “His grace, intelligence, kindness, and deep commitment to advancing American interests around the world were evident in his work and actions. To carry out this important mission, Sarah rode her bike — almost every day.
Sarah, a diplomat with the State Department for 17 years, had recently moved to Bethesda with her family after being evacuated from Ukraine during its ongoing war with Russia, Daniel said.
“There, she had been in charge of programs to help the country’s anti-corruption institutions and direct millions of dollars in U.S. aid to police, border guards and other non-military security institutions.” , he wrote.
Daniel Langenkamp said he was using the anger he felt over his wife’s death to bolster his efforts to raise awareness about bike safety. He wrote that he hoped the advocacy efforts would lead to improvements such as increased legal assistance and better driver training. Other solutions could include mobile apps that rate the safety of bike paths or provide information about where accidents have happened.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 1,000 cyclists are killed and more than 130,000 are injured on roads across the country each year. There have been three fatal bicycle crashes so far this year in Montgomery County, according to data from Vision Zero – the county’s initiative to end fatal and serious crashes on county roads by 2030 .
“Cities shouldn’t brag about having ‘bike lanes’ when bikers are needlessly and repeatedly killed there, as has been the case this year,” he wrote.
Daniel Langenkamp could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday.
The State Department released a statement to Bethesda Beat on Monday saying it “extends its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Ms. Langenkamp.” A spokesperson did not provide additional information, due to “sensitivity considerations in the application of privacy laws”.
Dan Schere can be contacted at [email protected]