Local Politics

Hit-and-Run Victim Pushes for Tougher Law Against Drivers

Posted April 26, 2007

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— A Charlotte man who was left on the side of the road after getting run over on his bike last year is lobbying state lawmakers for stiffer penalties for hit-and-run drivers.

Brian Hanley was struck by two vehicles while riding his bike on a Charlotte street in February 2006. Both drivers fled the scene, leaving Hanley on the side of the road for hours.

Hanley spent weeks in a coma and still suffers from a traumatic brain injury and remains in a wheelchair. His fiancee, Laurie Griffin, assists with his daily care.

"He might not have died that night, but the person he was died that night," Griffin said.

The two drivers who hit Hanley were arrested within weeks, but each spent less than a year each in jail for the hit-and-run.

Under North Carolina law, the maximum prison sentence for someone who leaves the scene of an accident is two-and-a-half years.

So Hanley is pushing lawmakers to increase the penalty to six years in prison.

"I'm really mad. I'm not happy at all," Hanley said.

"To hit someone and leave them there, it's cruel, and they need to be punished," said state Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland.

Moore, who is sponsoring House Bill 993, said he hopes a stiffer sentence makes drivers stop and think before they leave the scene of an accident.

In Wake County, there have been 12 hit-and-run accidents inthe last month, including three that caused serious injuries, authorities said.

If enacted, the new law would take effect Dec. 1.

33 Comments

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  • MST3Kfan4life Apr 27, 2007

    All I'm trying to do is defend a bicyclist's right to use the road in a lawful fashion. That's all. And when there are people out there (not referring to you personally) who do not respect those rights, then that's a problem.

  • PDMARTIN Apr 27, 2007

    MST3Kfan4life

    ONE MORE TIME: I DON'T MIND CYCLISTS ON THE ROAD.

    GOT IT?????????

    LIKE I SAID NO ARGUMENT HERE TO WIN

    CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW???

  • Rolling Along Apr 27, 2007

    KATMAMA,
    All they need to do is fully enforce the laws that are currently on the books. As to the original intent of the article...yes they need to make the penalties of Hit and Run meet or exceed those of DUI/DWI. In many areas the Hit and Run penalties are lower, so when someone has been drinking they will take the chance on running and getting found later, because the penalties are much lower. Just another sign of the lack of personal responsibility that pervades our society.

  • Rolling Along Apr 27, 2007

    PDMARTIN,
    I have ridden bicycles as a commuter for over 30 years, I have only had one accident involving a car (their fault). I have ridden at all hours of the day and night. I do chose my roads WHEN I CAN. But many times you have no choice due to lack of poor planning or geographical constraints. BTW I also own and drive a car...even on the beltline. I make it a point to obey all traffic laws including speed limits and stop signs. If more people in our society paid full attention to their driving and the laws we wouldn't be needing this discussion. Not my fault that this country is obese and addicted to cheap fuel. You make your choices and live with them. A bicycle is a legal vehicle and should be treated as such by everyone involved regardless of numbers. An just how long does that one or two cyclists really hold you up? 30 seconds? Just think, for every car occupying space on the road you could get ten cyclists in the same space. ;-)

  • PDMARTIN Apr 27, 2007

    MST3Kfan4life

    I don't think your even reading what I'm saying. I don't mind cyclists being on the road--I said that. The ratio of car to bike are overwhelming at the times of day I'm talking about. You are obviously trying so hard to be heard you're not listening. These times of day are just not smart times for cyclists to be out.

    Stop trying so hard to win an argument that's not there.

    If you took a poll, do you honestly think you would come out on top????

  • SOCLOSE Apr 27, 2007

    I think the solution to your arguments, is that there should be stricter laws for both the motorists and cyclists.

  • MST3Kfan4life Apr 27, 2007

    PDMARTIN,
    That's like me telling someone else "you shouldn't be driving on the road in the morning or the evening because there are alot of cars and it's dangerous." If a bicycler is obeying the laws, then they should be no more in danger than anyone else because they have every legal right to use that road. If the news reports we read are correct, then most of the traffic accidents are caused by drivers being reckless, distracted, following to close, whatever but have nothing to do with bikes.
    Again, these accidents would be avoidable if people would just pay attention to what they are doing. Generally, there is enough space on most roads for cars to pass cyclists and give the standard 2ft clearance without having to merge in the other lane. Bicyclers are no more asking for trouble than anyone else who hops in a car to get somewhere.
    This wouldn't even be a problem if we had more paved/striped bike lanes.

  • PDMARTIN Apr 27, 2007

    ROLLING:

    Please keep in mind this country is not one whos main mode of transport is the bicycle like Asian countries for example. It is a less accepted mode of transport therefore all the back and forth about there being on the roads. Both cyclists and drivers of cars disobey traffic laws but I see them (bicycles) as more of a danger than another car. The weight dimensions for example are no where equal and there is no protection. Don't get me wrong, I don't really care if they're on the road but during morning and evening rush hours are the most ridiculous times for them to be out on the road. Talk about increasing your odds.

  • PDMARTIN Apr 27, 2007

    ROLLING:

    pLEASE

  • Rolling Along Apr 27, 2007

    BTW PDMARTIN I see plenty of motorists that don't obey the laws too. Driven on the beltway lately? IIRC the posted speed limit on the outer between US64 and US 401 is 65 mph not the 75-85 that I normally observe.

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