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Local Bike Accidents Highlight Safety Concerns

November 15th, 2010

This weekend, at least three bicyclists were injured in collisions with cars. We’re cyclists here, so we always read these types of stories with a heavy heart. Both stories were reported on WRAL.com.

On Friday evening, just north of Selma, two bicyclists were struck by driver Marie Jania. They suffered only minor injuries. It is not exactly clear who was at fault. According to the WRAL.com article:

Car driver Marie Jania, 37, moved into the southbound lane to pass bicyclists Renny Barnard, 17, and Richard Baker, 20, who were going north on N.C. 96, troopers said. At the same time, the bicyclists moved into the southbound lane to let the car pass them. The car struck the back of the bicycles.

This story brings to mind two related pieces of advice: 1) know (and follow) the rules of the road; and 2) share the road by respecting bicyclists and drivers alike. Cyclists and drivers need to follow the same rules of the road–we need to be able to count on others to act safely and logically.

The other accident, which happened in Raleigh, was more clear-cut. According to a separate article on WRAL.com, driver Brandis Chevelle Thomas was drunk and talking on a cell phone when she struck cyclist Justin Gabriel Walker.

Walker and his bike were thrown 110 feet and landed on the pavement of the right side of the road, according to the wreck report. Thomas kept driving for 2,000 feet before making a u-turn and returning to the scene.

Walker was taken to WakeMed, where he was in critical condition. …In addition to DWI, Thomas was charged with felony serious injury by vehicle.

The lessons of  this wreck are obvious: Don’t drink and drive, and don’t drive while distracted by talking on a phone.

While you don’t have control over the actions of others, cyclists can reduce their risks of being hit at night by making themselves as visible as possible. Make sure your bike has lights and reflectors, put reflective tape on your helmet (because you ARE wearing a helmet, right?), and wear white or light-colored clothing. If you drive a car at night, watch more carefully for cyclists.

By the shortest day of the year, December 21, sunrise will occur at about 7:20 am, and sunset will occur at about 5:07 pm. That means many people will be driving to and from work in the dark. So whether you ride on four wheels or two, let’s be careful out there!

If you have been injured in a bicycling accident and want to explore your legal options, contact the attorneys of HensonFuerst. We understand cycling, and we protect the rights of the injured. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.