In North Carolina, it is legal for bicyclists to travel on our roads just like cars. This means that drivers of vehicles are supposed to yield to cyclists when making turns and drivers must slow down and give cyclists enough room on the road when passing folks who are riding their bikes.
Abiding by these laws and keeping a lookout for cyclists is especially important because one seemingly minor crash between a car and a cyclist could result in catastrophic injuries. Bikers have nothing except helmets to protect their bodies in the event of a collision, and sometimes helmets are not even enough to prevent a wrongful death on our Fayetteville roads.
Just last week, a biker was killed in North Carolina after a truck driver failed to slow down for the cyclist. The incident has been a tragic reminder for the victim’s family and other cyclists of just how dangerous the roads can be when drivers fail to pay attention to their surroundings.
According to statistics, about 15 cyclists are killed on our North Carolina roads each year, making it one of the more dangerous states for bicyclists. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that North Carolina ranked number 23 in the nation for the highest bicycle accident fatality rate in 2009. Some believe that the fatality rate is so high because drivers forget that they are supposed to share the roads with bikers. Cyclists have admitted that they are more worried about drivers simply not paying attention to the roads due to texting while driving and talking on cell phones.
In last week’s accident, the truck driver was not talking or texting on his cell phone, though. The driver claimed that he saw the biker on the road but that he was not able to move into another traffic lane to pass the biker. The truck driver should have slowed down to avoid hitting the bicyclist, but he didn’t do so in time, police reported. The man who was hit by the truck was only 49 years old.
Although drivers must be more attentive and careful in order to avoid these types of fatal accidents, cyclists believe that adding more bike lanes to give cyclists room on our state’s and cities’ roads could help to dramatically improve the safety of bikers.
Source: WRAL.com, “Mental health director’s death reignites bike-car debate,” Amanda Lamb, July 6, 2012