Local News

Cyclist struck by car raises safety awareness

Posted March 21, 2010

— Motorists are being reminded to share the road after two cyclists were hit by cars this week in the Triangle.

Cyclist injured in hit and run Cyclist injured in hit and run

Bicyclist Kirk Port was training for a race Tuesday on Piney-Grove Rawls Road, near Sherman Road, in Fuquay-Varina when he was struck by a vehicle.

"I just remember the car, the car being right up next to me, and then being down on the ground,” Port said.

Port knows the rules of the road well. He cycles about 200 miles a week and has numerous scars from his brushes with motorists.

"I have road rash on the elbow, road rash on the waist and the hip,” he said.

An 11-year-old boy was also hit by a car Wednesday while riding his bicycle in the Preston Village area of Cary. The boy suffered minor injuries, and the driver was not charged.

Each year, more than 900 bicyclists are involved in wrecks with vehicles in North Carolina, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Collisions often happen at intersections, and cycling experts say the best way to avoid a crash is to act like you are driving a car, not a bike.

"It doesn't matter what type of vehicle you are on, the same basic principles apply,” said Steve Goodridge, certified instructor for the League of American Bicyclists.

Goodridge said some people don't realize that bicycles have the legal status of a vehicle in North Carolina. The status means bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road.

"Use the correct lane for your destination and merge in line with traffic. Don't try to stay to the right of traffic that might turn right in front of you, because you won't be seen by the driver in their blind spot,” Goodridge said.

The driver who hit Port kept on going. Witnesses said he was driving erratically.

"I think everyone needs to show a little patience,” Port said.

To avoid the risk of injury, motorists and cyclists are urged to take extra precautions when driving and riding. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following advice:

  • Motorists should recognize that bicyclists have a right to ride on the roadway.
  • Motorists should make a visual check for bicyclists by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic.
  • Cyclists should ride on the roadway or shared pathways, rather than on sidewalks.
  • Cyclists should follow the same rules of the road as other roadway users, including riding in the same direction as traffic and following all the same traffic signs and signals.
  • Wear a helmet every time you ride a bike.
  • Make yourself visible while cycling by wearing bright colors during the day, reflective gear (clothing, arm or leg bands, etc.) in low light conditions, and use head and tail lights at night.
  • Always stay alert.

To learn more about laws that bicyclists and motorists must follow, visit the NCDOT's Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation's Web site.

144 Comments

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 23, 11:09 a.m.

    affirmativediversity said, "I've NEVER seen [a cyclist] that didn't think they had the right of way right up every car's right side at red lights!"

    If true...you need to get out more. I NEVER do this and bike commuted miles to work for over 4 years. That's a LOT of interaction with cars. Nearly every other cyclist that I know does the same as I do. Your rudeness example is probably just the same, one (rude) guy over and over.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Mar 23, 9:27 a.m.

    affirmativediversity, I don't.

    As far as slowing down, I don't think any of us want you following behind at 20mph, but if you have to slow to 20mph for 30 seconds before passing, the difference on your trip time is unnoticeable. You lose more time waiting for someone to turn left. I don't know why slowing for bikes makes people so angry but other situations in traffic are just part of driving.

  • MileageDontTakeYourKidsCrap Mar 22, 7:46 p.m.

    UNC: the evasive measures i was speaking of were pot holes, road hazards, etc, not having to evade a car. and my point was, IF a cyclist was doing the dumb thing and passing cars on the right at a stop light and someone else caused injury to said cyclist because they were trying to 'one up' the cyclist or 'teach them a lesson', well, two wrongs don't make a right. sometimes two wrongs cause injuries.

  • MileageDontTakeYourKidsCrap Mar 22, 7:43 p.m.

    sorry, our network went down and i've been unable to attend to this very enthralling discussion.

    affirmative: not all cyclists do what you've pointed out. i don't do it because it's dangerous and a sure way to get right hooked by someone who actually wants to make a right on red. like the previous poster, when i'm passing traffic, i do so legally, on the left. i don't cat and mouse at stop lights because i want to make it home alive to my kids and im going to do everything i can do (ie: follow the law) to make sure that happens. if i get taken out, it wont be due to some stupid mistake i've made, and until i am granted omnipotent powers, i refuse to live my life in fear of someone else not doing the right thing.

  • affirmativediversity Mar 22, 7:20 p.m.

    An option that so many have not considered is to maytbe slow down a bit more and not out drive your brakes per gunfighter

    ------------

    Yeah, right? That's why we drive our cars...so we can go as slow as bicylces...DUH!

  • affirmativediversity Mar 22, 7:07 p.m.

    I want cars to get by me quickly and easily as the cars want to get by me. The faster they pass the more room needed to be safe. There are many times I can be safely passed in the same lane. per exLikeSundayMorning

    -----------------------

    And how many times do you pass those same cars again and again while they wait for a light to change?

    That is by far my BIGGEST peeve with cyclists...I've NEVER seen one that didn't think they had the right of way right up every car's right side at red lights!

  • ladyblue Mar 22, 7:01 p.m.

    I think all vehicles on the highway should have to be licensed,taxed and insured....that includes bicycles. I have numerous times had to risk my own safety to avoid hitting those things especially at night when you dont' see as well.

  • gunfighter Mar 22, 6:32 p.m.

    I've personally been biking on the roads of eastern NC since
    about 1972. Down east back then, everyones attitude seemed to
    be friendlier and more accomidating and courteous. I've lived
    in Wake county since the early 80s' and the attitude here seems
    to be busy busy busy, rush rush rush, out of my way. The population is also more than doubled with only minor expansion of the roads. An option that so many have not considered is
    to maytbe slow down a bit more and not out drive your brakes.
    There are more options out on the road than just hitting this or that. The best option is often slowing down until the coast is clear, and then safely passing the biker, farm tractor, ect.

  • rescuefan Mar 22, 6:18 p.m.

    "MileageDontPlayDat - also if you are traveling the country roads and meet a dump truck coming toward you - then realize you see this bicyclist in front of you and your choice is either the truck or the bicycle - who do you choose? Some roads are not meant for bicycles!!
    Pulling for the Tarheels"

    If those are your only options because you aren't paying enough attention to what is going on ahead of you on the road, you really need to turn in your driver's license.

    A good driver is aware of what is going on around them and not just racing from one place to the next.

  • Pulling for the Tarheels Mar 22, 5:18 p.m.

    MileageDontPlayDat - also if you are traveling the country roads and meet a dump truck coming toward you - then realize you see this bicyclist in front of you and your choice is either the truck or the bicycle - who do you choose? Some roads are not meant for bicycles!!

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