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Friends plead for driver caution following death of Cary cyclist

Posted October 24

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— Friends of a bicyclist killed early Friday spoke Monday about his love for his family and the need for more awareness on the roads.

Officials with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said 36-year-old Jason Markley was struck by a car at about 6:30 a.m. Friday on NC-751 near Luther Road. As Markley attempted to make a left turn, the driver of a Chevrolet Pickup struck him from behind.

Markley died on impact.

Markley’s death has been hard on his friends and family and on the bicycle community as a whole. Those who loved him are now devoted to getting the word out about bicycle safety.

Nanci Blackert said that, first and foremost, Markley loved his family. She also said he was generous and left an impression.

“Jason was the most doting dad there ever was. He would have moved the mountains to do anything for his wife and kids,” she said.

Jim Pullen said it’s time for drivers to think seriously about how they view people on bicycles.

“What I would ask drivers to do is pretend that’s your brother, your father, your sister; somebody you know and love that’s on that bicycle,” he said.

Just days before Markley was killed, two other cyclists were injured in a hit-and-run in Cary.

Pullen, who has been cycling for decades, said he knows the difference between a nervous driver and a careless driver. Both extremes can be deadly, he said.

‘The best thing a driver can do when it comes up on a cyclist or a group of cyclists is slow down, pass when it’s safe to pass and pass efficiently and quickly,” he said.

“Wherever they think they need to be is not more important than that person, than that person coming home tonight to their family," Blackert said.

Pullen said a common rule of thumb is to give cyclists three feet of space as you’re passing.

Ramsey Capps, 42, was the driver of the truck that hit Markley. He has been charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision and misdemeanor death by vehicle.

11 Comments

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  • Brian Jarman Oct 25, 5:04 p.m.
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    I agree. I've never understood why it's legal for someone to ride their bicycle on a highway and slow down traffic... let alone why anyone would even want to do it. It's just dangerous, and inconsiderate.

    My personal opinion is that it should be illegal to ride your bicycle on a road unless the speed-limit is like 35 mph or below. I feel like that would be much safer for everyone involved.

  • Mary Meadows Oct 25, 4:27 p.m.
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    Mark Cooper. This is one of the best, common sense comments I have seen in regards to bikes on the roads. I was avid bike rider for many years. Used lights, reflective vests, etc. I only rode in my neighborhood. Everyone who knew and loved me was worried when I rode. I have pretty much stopped riding my bike for exercise and instead go to the gym now. I would rather live to see my kids to adulthood then argue my right to be on the road. I have understood the bicyclist POV, but I came to the realization that the bicyclist loses every time.

  • Mark Cooper Oct 25, 4:07 p.m.
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    I really do not think it would be may commuting at all via bicycle beyond the ones that currently do. This is an urban sprawl nightmare for bicycling. There just are not that many people that live within a realistic commute via bicycle. Many people commute 30+ miles one way. Look at the traffic at 630 in the morn on 40 from JoCo.

    Next issue is that the majority of people are just to lazy. Isn't it something like only 25% of people even exercise regularly? This sounds cheap and selfish but it we had a bike lane on every road I bet less that 1 in 10 people ride a bike to work. That is a lot of tax money for less than 10% of the total.

    If you want to ride on the roads I tell my friends to come east. Out from Zebulon towards Baily and down towards Selma are great roads with a fraction of the traffic of hwy 751 and the roads near and around Cary/Apex.

    Like I tell them, They have a car bike rack that costs nearly a "G".... use it;-)

  • Thomas White Oct 25, 12:40 p.m.
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    Bicycle lanes are being added, but they are expensive to add to existing roads as many of the older roads barely have enough room for the traffic that is now on them.

  • Debra Froat Oct 25, 11:12 a.m.
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    Where I live, a lot of roads are being improved. What I don't understand is why there aren't more designated bike paths added along those roads. For health reasons, many people would like to ride their bike from their home to their work or to the store. Why not give them that option? It would be safer and more healthy for them. It would also prevent the slowing of traffic as drivers go around bicyclist. That sounds like a win/win for everyone so why aren't we adding bike lanes to our roads?

  • Colin Burch III Oct 25, 9:58 a.m.
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    Tragic recent 'accidents' involving bicycles and motor vehicles. Every time I am out driving I see drivers texting or otherwise distracted. Five seconds of distraction at 45MPH means you have traveled 100 yards, a football field, in a driverless vehicle. That fact alone should cause bikers to stick to greenways. The roads and the psyche of the area is not set for bicycles and cars/trucks to mix. No law about equal sharing of the road is going to fix that. Scattered bike lanes doesn't either. To ride safe don't compete with motor vehicles for use of the road.

  • Ryan Sakrison Oct 25, 9:52 a.m.
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    I don't mean disrespect to the man who lost his life, but I live off of 751 and riding a bicycle at any time on that highway is quite simply put, very poor judgement. There are many wide turns with poor visibility, narrow lanes with rocky shoulders, and with a 55mph speed limit along most of it I would think cyclists would find it worth it to ride their bike somewhere safer. It's also unreasonable to expect people that use that road to commute to work to further adapt their driving within the boundaries of the law for a hobbyist. Just find somewhere safer to ride.

  • Amanda Davis Oct 25, 6:25 a.m.
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    I ride on the Greenways personally. Riders need to be responsible for safety too. It's dark at 6:30 AM and it's not reasonable to think that drivers will notice you in time to avoid you if you are in the road. Period.

  • Mark Cooper Oct 24, 11:32 p.m.
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    John, Yes to most of us your lives are worth a few seconds and even minutes at times. Unfortunately that is just not the world we live in. I have lived in this area all my life and nothing has changed. Roads are narrow, crowded and has MANY drivers that should not be out there. I beg road bike friends not to ride on the roads around here. I should not have to but I do and that is just the reality of it. As bicyclists they can beg and plead for "road room" but they are taking their lives in your hands when they ride.

    Now for a minute can we get away from what "should be" vs "what really is". I tell one friend he is irresponsible for road riding like he does with a family including kids and is the sole bread winner. I tell him all the time that being "right" will not help them. No one likes to hear this when it involves their passion.

    I quit riding motorcycles 20+ years ago because traffic in this area. I should not have had to but it was the smart decision.

  • John Midyette Oct 24, 11:16 p.m.
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    I'll be willing to bet Jason had plans for the upcoming days, weeks, months, years with his wife, children, parents, friends; now they can never occur simply because a driver couldn't be bothered to drive with caution. But it sounds as though Ramsey didn't tend to pay a significant amount of attention to the needs, plans, or safety of others; with that driving record it sounds as though he was only concerned with himself. I will give Ramsey one thing, at least he stayed at the scene and reported the accident; unlike the other driver hitting cyclists this past week.
    What is it going to take to get automobile drivers to realize that cyclists are people, persons, individuals, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boy friends, sons, daughters who have rights (the same as you) and dreams (the same as you); most of all the right to live to take part in those dreams and plans.
    Try to show cyclists a little courtesy, we'll do the same. Isn't our life worth a few seconds of your time?

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