Carolina cyclists face deadly risks when sharing roadway with motorists

Two cyclists remain in the hospital after two separate serious South Carolina car accidents involving passing cars and bicycles sharing the roadway between Beech Island and Aiken led to injury wrecks. The first crash happened during the early evening hours in late October 2010 when a Dodge Durango crashed into a group of cyclists riding on Beech Island.

All cyclists were struck, and three were transported to Augusta hospitals for treatment. One rider remains in critical condition.The riders were wearing reflective gear and helmets, but because there is no shoulder or lane for cyclists along the popular bike route, riders must use the road, WRDW-TV Augusta reports.
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The second bicycle-involved Carolina crash was a hit-and-run accident happening around 3:30 p.m. last weekend in Aiken, WRDW-TV Augusta reports. The cyclist remains hospitalized and authorities are looking for the driver, who they believe was driving a compact white car.

The accidents have now compelled Augusta officials to restart dialogue about developing a four-county master plan that includes more walk-path and cyclist-friendly space along area roads. Area cyclists say they’ve been down this road before – so to speak – with city planners, and are still waiting for talk to turn to action. A spokesperson with the Augusta-Richmond planning commission said that the commission is dusting off project ideas initially developed in 2003 and plan to start pressing the public for ideas this spring.

In 2008, 25 cyclists were killed and another 704 injured in North Carolina car accidents. While slightly fewer riders were injured on North Carolina roads in 2007, the number of fatal bicycle-related car accidents more than doubled.

In South Carolina, 15 cyclists were killed on South Carolina roads in 2008 and another 541 were injured. While these statistics represent a slight drop in the number of fatal car accidents – in 2007 there were 20 cyclists killed biking on South Carolina roads – there were 60 more cyclists injured in bicycle-related car crashes in 2007.

As city planners deliberate and investigate ways to make streets safer for cyclists and motorists, the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center has created a “bikeability checklist” to help cyclists determine how bikeable their community roads are.

A few key things to look for include:
~ Road surface conditions.
~ Intersection mitigation.
~ Driver behavior.
~ Accessibility to public transportation.
~ Signage and directions connecting pathways.

The Greenboro injury attorneys with Lee & Smith know that being involved in a serious or fatal car accident, can be among the most trying times in your life. We hope that if you are involved in a serious car accident anywhere else across the Carolinas, you will call us at 1-800-887-1965 or email our law offices to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights.

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