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Cyclist faces long recovery after wreck

Posted August 28, 2008

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— Andrea Amezcua and Justin Gailey were struck from behind on Aug. 18 as they rode bicycles along Rolesville Road near its intersection with Todd Road near Knitghdale.

"My helmet has six cracks in it," Gailey said. "We're both lucky to be alive."

Amezcua remains in WakeMed. Gailey was released after spending four days in the hospital.

"(I had) bruised ribs, bruised lungs, (a) spleen injury, multiple contusions (and) abrasions," he said. "She had a crushed vertebra they had to fuse together. She's in a lot of pain."

Witnesses said a pickup truck was driving fast along the road and didn't stop after the collision. No skid marks were on the road near the scene, and witnesses said they didn't see the pickup's brake lights come on before the bicyclists were hit.

The driver of a pickup truck that the highway patrol says struck the two bicyclists has been rearrested on more serious charges, authorities said Thursday.

Jeffrey Lynn Price, of 6708 Bethany Church Road in Wendell, was charged Tuesday with two counts of serious injury by vehicle. He was being held Thursday in the Wake County Jail under a $20,000 secured bond.

Price was initially charged with driving while impaired, driving with a revoked license because of a prior DWI and failure to decrease speed to avoid a collision. State troopers consulted with the district attorney's office, then lodged the new charges.

Price went home after the wreck and returned to the scene a short time later, when he was arrested.

Amezcua, a mother of two, is expected to be in the hospital for months and to face a long rehabilitation.

"I'll be by her side every day. I told her I was going to be her new training partner," Gailey said.

Friend Pat Nogueira said she is organizing a bicycle safety rally to raise money for Gailey's and Amezuca's medical expenses. The rally will be held at 5 p.m. Sept. 21 at MEZ, a restaurant at 5410 Page Road in Durham.

"Nobody deserves anything like this, and you say, 'How can we help? What can we do?" Nogueira said. "It's a horrible situation for everyone involved."


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  • sggoodri Aug 29, 2008

    I wrote:

    "I can't remember that happening in the Triangle, at least not as long as I've lived here."

    I posted too quickly, before remembering one case - a driver pulling a long, wide trailer tried to pass two cyclists who were riding on a very narrow shoulder/fog line next to a narrow lane, and clipped the cyclists (they were okay). This is why many experienced cyclists prefer to ride farther into the lane if the road is narrow.

    My point was that sober drivers don't often rear-end those packs of road cyclists riding down the road taking up the whole lane, despite the popularity of these group rides. Drunk drivers, drivers texting while driving, cyclists riding on sidewalks, cyclists riding at night without lights, and cyclists riding against traffic or against signals are more common car-bike crash scenarios.

  • sggoodri Aug 29, 2008

    "If this occurs, all I ask is that they at least be sober and stop at the scene of the accident."

    A sober, attentive driver hitting a group of cyclists riding in the roadway in daylight?

    I can't remember that happening in the Triangle, at least not as long as I've lived here.

  • independent_thinker Aug 29, 2008

    I'm stunned that so many folks think that any alternative transport mode is offensive. Most seem to infer that bicyclists deserve any harm imposed on them. That's the logical equivalent of arguing that if you drive, you deserve to be hit by a drunk driver. Truly insane.

    Auto drivers regularly exceed the speed limit, fail to obey traffic laws, signs and devices. When you drive and eat, drink, text, and phone, and exceed the speed limit by 15 or more miles an hour, you're letting me know that you value no one's life, including your own. It's suicide on the installment plan. Auto accidents kill 13 times more every year than died on 09/11.

    I see this debate as a metaphor for the state of the US today. No imagination, no flexibility, no sense of adventure, no desire to leave your comfort zone, no desire to color out of the lines.

    OK, now get back to your fries, cell phone, and your trip to Lane Bryant...

  • rtpdude Aug 29, 2008


    >>...when they're scraping you, piece by piece, out of somebody's grill.

    If this occurs, all I ask is that they at least be sober and stop at the scene of the accident. I wouldn't want to be pulled out of a grill by a drunk driver later on in the day at their house.

  • TeamHatteras Aug 29, 2008


    No wonder you guys are always getting hit by vehicles. Common sense doesn't appear to be part of the cyclist's vocabulary.

    Personally, I think we should do away with all bicycle laws and simply require a yearly refresher course in Physics 101.

    All the rights you have here on God's green earth won't be of much help when they're scraping you, piece by piece, out of somebody's grill.

  • sggoodri Aug 29, 2008

    The lane-sharing law for motorcycles covers only interactions between motorcycles and other motor vehicles. It has no relevance to nonmotorized vehicles.

    There is no NC law explicitly prohibiting lane sharing by other types of vehicles; some laws may do so indirectly depending on circumstances. The law says a driver must generally operate within a single lane, and requires a minimum clearance of two feet, which effectively rules out lane sharing by two wide vehicles in a narrow lane. In very wide lanes, drivers sometimes pass to the right of left-turning traffic in the wide lane, but rarely do car drivers have motivation or opportunity pass straight-moving cars in such lanes.

    Through traffic traveling under the speed limit must use the rightmost through lane in NC. NC law does not specify the right edge of that marked lane. Bicyclists are not violating NC law by riding two abreast in the rightmost through lane. Some other states are more restrictive than NC.

  • sggoodri Aug 29, 2008

    "Adult cyclists should be banned from NC roads....period. If they want to ride their bikes, they should go ride in the woods."

    Bicycling is protected by law as a transportation mode. Cycling in wooded parks is not transportation. Cycling on important roads that serve important destinations at important times is protected under law because this doing so protects important bicycle transportation such as bicycle commuting.

    Not everybody cycling on the road is headed to work, but then again not everybody driving a motor vehicle on the road is headed to work either. Some are pulling extra-wide boats to go recreational fishing. It appears that the public places high value on allowing people to travel to their destination of choice for both recreational and utilitarian purposes. Let's all be a bit more patient with one another and figure out how to improve important roads as required to improve everyones' convenience and comfort.

  • RonnieR Aug 29, 2008

    Oh, and to pass on the left, as you usually should, you must clear the side of the passed vehicle by 2 feet. Case law says this does not apply if you are on the left side of the center line. However, I almost always pass all vehicles left of
    center and tootle my horn, in addition to directional lights.

  • RonnieR Aug 29, 2008

    Or to be perfectly clear, rtpdude, if there isn't a law exmpting your vehicle from a law, then your vehicle must follow the law.

  • RonnieR Aug 29, 2008

    Should have read emergency vice non-emergency in my prior post.