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22 Aug ’10 Comments (9) Blog, Recently Spotted

Another Bicyclist Hit in Charlotte, NC

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In the beginning of July I reported on a bicycle accident that happened less than 8 miles from my house.  A woman had been hit while training for a local triathlon on a very popular road for cyclist.  One thing that I failed to update everyone was a woman (on the same triathlon course pre-riding) was cut off, by a car trying to park, going through our small college town.  She received trauma to the head and road rash.

It Happened Again

Bicycle Accident

Photo Credit : Richard Kirkman & DavidsonNews

This past Thursday, on the same triathlon course (AGAIN) a gentleman named Bill Doherty was cut off by a large box truck and pulled 50-75 feet under the truck.

This is how it was described to me by the witness. Billy was keeping pace with traffic at the time, so he was probably doing 30+ mph. His Garmin showed the last recording at 28.7, but that was as he was being pulled under the truck. The truck drive partially passed Billy and then swung into the road with no indication etc, that is about 200 yards before the creek on Rocky River road just outside of River Run. Bill left a black tire mark about 5 yards before impact, so that alone shows how close he was. He was dragged for about 40-70 yds under the truck, and while under the truck he was grabbing onto anything for dear life, including the drive shaft. The driver only stopped because the witness was making him stop by his horn I think. The driver of the truck was about to reverse over Billy’s head, and the witness stepped in again and stopped that. So the real hero for this is the witness. His name is Don ***** from Michael Waltrip racing. Very humble man who has contacted me numerous times since last night to see how Billy is. Billy lost consciousness for about 1-3 minutes under the truck I believe as well.

The main premise in all this is driver didn’t even clear Billy when he turned.  – CharlotteVelo.com

What Do We Do?

The local cycling community is cursing, loudly, and rightfully so.  We’ve had more accidents in the past 6 months than the 5 years that I’ve lived in the area.  Does anyone have experience with setting up a local advocacy group, or how to properly educate and maintain the bridge between cyclist and automobiles?

9 Responses to Another Bicyclist Hit in Charlotte, NC

  1. Paige says:

    We’ve had some very heated debates in our paper here in Winston-Salem after a cyclist was hit and killed a few weeks ago in a neighboring town. It’s getting scary out there.

    • Eli Robinson says:

      First, pick a cause- Share the Road, The 3-Foot Passing Law, Rails to/and Trails, Safe Routes to School? These are pre-screened distinct approaches that other regions have broken ground with. Do some research about what groups are working on the issues you care about in your town, county, or state, become a member (they are usually membership driven), and start volunteering and working with them. If your interest is broader, and more general bike safety and access, then you can look nationally and internationally as well. Cooperation with groups at all levels is essential, and all levels create some kind of impact, just try to make sure that your efforts are consistent with your goal. For example, if you hope to have legislative support, seek out routes to accessing politicians who may support your cause, such as cyclists, environmentalists, or parents, through advocacy groups that will feel approachable for the suits. If your goal is to bring the general public’s attention to something that they aren’t seeing, civil disobedience such as critical mass rides are a traffic disrupting protest used internationally for all types of causes. It’s up to you to weigh out the risks and effort you are willing to make in your process of promoting a cause, and for some of us the legal routes, which require a certain degree of investment and consistency, are the most challenging of all, where as for others the danger of public protest is the challenge. Ultimately all function as a component of community organizing and are essential to one another, especially when they’re aligned and are working together rather than creating infighting. If it hasn’t been started yet, start petitioning at bike shops to raise awareness about the issue, gather a database of supporters, and to demonstrate the actual population of concerned individuals, who are also VOTERS. Bring your substantial list to the attention of politicians through letter writing and call-ins, and gather speed with as much media attention as possible. There really is a “Pedal Revolution” occurring right now in the United States, and its a very fun revolution to join. Thanks to some incredible pioneers on the issue and to the internet, it is also amazingly easy to participate immediately at whatever level you want. A Google search at your town and your nearby towns in NC and the words “Bike” and “Advocacy” came up with a list too long for me to list. From city planning boards to club charity events, you are in a hub of activity. Maybe it just needs to be laced together, and probably your blog is helping do just that! Ride safe, have fun, and thank you for your work!

  2. Andria K. says:

    Suggestions:
    See the links under “Advocacy and resources” at Tucson Velo at http://tucsonvelo.com

    Consider sharing information and stories statewide by using a tool like Publish2. Here’s a start:
    http://www.publish2.com/newsgroups/cycling

    (Stories that expire from traditional news sites will disappear from there too; it doesn’t prevent that.)

    I do highly recommend reaching out to cyclists statewide. Too often Charlotte forgets that Raleigh, in particular, and surrounding areas with many colleges can be resources.

  3. Monica says:

    Hey there! I just moved to Chapel Hill from Austin, Tx.. in Austin, the cycling community is very large and very tight – there were periodically accidents like these, and as a result a few advocacy groups and community blogs popped up. I’ll go dig out a few links later on today and send them your way!

  4. Frank Parsons says:

    I find during comutes that cars don’t expect or understand that i could be moving fast… I can feel their sense of entitlement to an “easy” pass as they flare their cars around… (Monica, my son is Austin riding daily – agree with the strength of cycling there)

  5. Thank you! You typically create really exciting content articles. You enhanced my mood.

  6. Name says:

    Check out Bicycle Colorado: http://www.bicyclecolorado.org

    They have done great things for cycling safety in Colorado.

  7. Fred says:

    As a fellow cyclist, i find it difficult to read stuff like this. The laws are out there however, most aren’t enforced until it’s too late. The only thing one can do is make sure that their fellow cyclist know what’s expected of them and that you can’t depend on someone else knowing the rules of the road. So when they ride on city streets, they should always ride defensibly.

    Sad. :(

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