Local News

Raleigh bicyclists survive hit-and-run wrecks

Posted June 2, 2012
Updated June 3, 2012

— Two bicyclists were injured in separate hit-and-run wrecks on Raleigh roads within seven hours this weekend.

A sunny Saturday afternoon tempted Jason Adam Epstein out on a 40-mile bicycle ride from his home in north Raleigh into Granville County. He was only 2.5 miles from home when, police said, an SUV struck him in the 9600 block of Falls of the Neuse Road at 2:58 p.m. 

Epstein rolled onto the windshield of the SUV and then fell into the road. His bike got stuck on the front of the SUV, which dragged it almost a mile to the entrance ramp to Interstate 540 West. The driver didn't stop even after the bike dropped off the SUV.

"You can't say if I come across your windshield that you didn't see me," Epstein said.

Later, in a separate incident, police said, another driver kept on going after hitting Donald Lawson Lowry, 23, on Hillsborough Street, at Ashe Avenue, around 1 a.m. Sunday. Lowry, who was wearing a helmet, suffered a concussion, but police said his injuries were non-life-threatening.

The passenger's-side rear-view mirror of the car fell off at the wreck scene. Police said they are searching for a black Chevrolet Monte Carlo between model years 2000 and 2004.

Epstein had been released from the hospital and was at home recovering Sunday.

He suffered a cracked leg bone and required 70 stitches for cuts and road rash along his face and left side. He credited wearing a helmet with saving his life.

"I'm not upset at all. I could be dead, and I'm grateful I'm not," Epstein said.

Two Raleigh cyclists survive hit-and-runs Two Raleigh cyclists survive hit-and-runs

In his case, police identified the suspect, Linda Thomas Banks, 48, of 401 Sawmill Road, through tips from people who witnessed the crash, and they took her into custody. The arresting officers suspected alcohol might have been a factor and tested her blood alcohol content.

Banks faces charges of felony serious injury by vehicle, driving while impaired,  felony hit-and-run, fictitious registration plate, driving without insurance and failure to register a vehicle. She was given a $26,000 bond and scheduled to appear in court Monday at 2 p.m.

Epstein said his injuries won't make him give up his 27-year-long hobby of cycling.

"My wife immediately asked me if I'd consider taking up golf," he said. "It's not going to pull me off the bike, but it makes me thankful."

The crash investigation is continuing and is being conducted by the RPDs Crash Reconstruction Unit.


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  • Pack Girl Jun 4, 2012

    dirkdiggler, I am willing to bet that you did not refer to the NCDOT bicycle laws brochure that was cited. If you did, you will see that it clearly states that bicyclists must ride as far to the right is as safely possible.

    If your citing of the NC Driver's Handbook is correct, then the NCDOT needs to work on the consistency and accuracy of their publications.

    Regardless, it is law that bicyclists must stop at stop signs and stop lights. When they begin to follow the rules of the road, then I will consider "sharing the road" that was built for motorists.

  • dirkdiggler Jun 4, 2012

    "it is clearly stated that all bicyclists must stop at stop signs and stop lights, just like motorists. When is the last time you saw one of them do that?"

    I hate to say this, but even as a cyclist, I say that those who do not follow the rules of the road deserve what they have coming to them. I obey the laws when I'm on my bike, just as I do when I drive. I have children I'd like to come home to alive and unharmed, and as such, being responsible is of utmost importance. It really makes me wonder why some cyclists blow through lights, etc. Aside from giving the rest of us a bad name, it's like, 'don't you have loved ones to come home to?'. It's bad enough knowing some clown like the one arrested in this article could be out there driving drunk on the same road I'm legally riding my bike, I'm not going to add to the odds of getting hurt by doing something stupid and illegal myself.

  • dirkdiggler Jun 4, 2012

    PS, in reading my last comment, I can completely see how it might have come across as being said rudely, or 'holier than thou'y. It wasn't intended as such. The 'sorry' was genuine, and the caps, etc were meant to draw emphasis to the content in point. LOL Dang ol' internet, making me look like a big meanie! :)

  • Pack Girl Jun 4, 2012

    Also in the NCDOT Bicyclist handbook, http://www.ncdot.gov/bikeped/lawspolicies/laws/, it is clearly stated that all bicyclists must stop at stop signs and stop lights, just like motorists. When is the last time you saw one of them do that? Wish NC Hwy. Patrol & city police departments would start handing out tickets to bicyclists just like they do motorists. Maybe, then, the bicyclists would start practicing what they preach and "share the road".

  • dirkdiggler Jun 4, 2012

    "Many of you are incorrect. You need to refer to the NC Bicycle Laws in the brochure at http://www.ncdot.gov/bikeped/lawspolicies/laws/."

    Sorry, but the NC Driver's Handbook, the guide you must read in order to pass your driver's license exam, states the following:

    "Bicyclists usually ride on the right side of the lane, BUT ARE ENTITLED TO THE USE OF THE FULL LANE."

    So no, we are not wrong. By *law*, cyclists are entitled to full use of the lane. We commonly use the right-most portion of the lane out of courtesy to drivers, but often times we must take more of the lane due to obstructions/debris at the outer edge of the lane. And sometimes, it's just plane safer to 'claim your territory', to make it obviously dangerous to pass in a no-pass zone. Why? Because of impatient motorists who will put our lives at risk to pass us at in the middle of a curve or at the crest of a hill, rather than waiting for a legal opportunity to pass. And again, we have legal right to do so.

  • irishale Jun 4, 2012

    "Bike lanes is a great suggestion. However, as a non-cyclist, I don't want to pay for their creation and maintenance. "

    Hmm... how about a pedal-tax? Annual inspections and tags... the fees collected to go to a bike lane fund.

  • irishale Jun 4, 2012

    "There is a MASS of bikes that ride on the road between Pea Ridge and Highway 64 and these do NOT move over or go single file for a moving vehicle. I have been given the finger , yelled at and cursed by these riders..."

    Yep... rudest bunch of folks I've ever seen. Don't dare pass them. You give them the full lane, wait for a mile or two so you have a legal passing zone... and still the rude comments and gestures. No winning with this bunch.

    To me, that's the worst place to ride... heavy RV and boat trailer traffic. Disaster waiting to happen.

    So, when does one's right to recreate as he/she sees fit no longer give them the right to impede (motor)vehicular traffic on a very busily traveled road?

    Educate all you want guys... truth of the matter, there are a lot of folks that know you have the right-of-way and simply DON'T CARE. That's why I don't ride on the highway anymore.

  • dlosapio2 Jun 4, 2012

    It's terrible that man was hit and worse that the woman drove off. I have nothing against cyclists but there are times when a few make a bad name for all. Others have commented on staying to the right and yielding to vehicles. Roads are for vehicles and travel at posted speed limits. Anyone traveling via any method that is grossly under the posted speed limit is creating a hazard.

    Cyclists want equality yet most don't follow ROTR. They'll cross intersections on red lights, make improper turns, ride up the shoulder while vehicles sit in traffic.

    Bike lanes is a great suggestion. However, as a non-cyclist, I don't want to pay for their creation and maintenance.

    Hope the hit and run driver gets what she deserves. To all cyclists, be careful and stay safe.

  • Pack Girl Jun 4, 2012

    Many of you are incorrect. You need to refer to the NC Bicycle Laws in the brochure at http://www.ncdot.gov/bikeped/lawspolicies/laws/. Clearly, on page 8, it states "Also, the bicyclist
    must travel in the right-hand lane and should ride
    as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of
    the highway." Therefore, bicyclists are not legally allowed to ride in the center of a lane, thus blocking motor traffic from passing.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Jun 4, 2012

    So sorry the man was hit by a hit and run driver. But I certainly wish all bicyclists knew that the roads and highways was first designed for vehicles (cars, trucks, and buses, etc.). It was not designed for bicycles at that time. Too much accidents and life has been taken because of the "sharing the road" with bicyclists. I know many won't agree with me but it is what it is. They should design all roads bigger so that there will be room to share. I also notice bicyclist, will be 20-25 hogging the road and there is no way you can go around them when they are absolutely in the middle of the road. Be safe and drop your speed just as soon as you see a bicyclist. Also those who choose to ride your bicycle, there are rules for you to follow too. Its not a one way street, it goes both ways of being respectful to anyone on the road including bicyclists and that include bicyclist being respectful to all vehicles.