A bicyclist and a delivery truck collided on East Rocky River Road on Thursday afternoon, sending the cyclist to the hospital with serious injuries. The accident was the latest in a series of vehicle-bike crashes in the past several months that have area public officials and cyclists concerned.
Thursday’s crash happened around 4:45 p.m. as the cyclist was riding east on East Rocky River Road near the back entrance to River Run, according to Davidson police. A box truck passed him and the two collided.
Police said the cyclist was dragged beneath the truck for a short distance. He was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte with unidentified “serious injuries,” according to police.
Police said Friday they’re still investigating and did not release the driver names or an accident report. They identified the cyclist as Bill Doherty, 42, of Huntersville.
Richard Kirkman, a Huntersville cyclist who was also out for a ride, came upon the scene and snapped photos of the scene and the twisted bicycle. He said witnesses told him the truck passed the cyclist and made an abrupt turn into a driveway. The cyclist slammed into the side of the truck and was briefly dragged.
Davidson police Detective Steve Ingram said Friday, “The department is still actively investigating this collision. No fault has been determined as of this writing.”
Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the accident to call the department at 704-892-5131.
The East Rocky River Road crash follows several others around the region in recent months. In May, the driver of an SUV plowed into group of bicyclists on a Cabarrus County Road, injuring four.
On July 4, Davidson cyclist Julie Zimmerman was struck by an SUV driven by another Davidson woman on Faith Road. [Ms. Zimmerman was seriously hurt and was briefly in rehab, though she recently has begun walking around town with her husband.]
On July 10, a Cornelius cyclist was hurt when a car passed her then turned in front of her on North Main Street in Davidson.
Those incidents and have prompted local officials to work on ways to promote sharing the road between cyclists and drivers. News coverage also has aroused backlashes among pro-driver commentators, who say cyclists are not doing their part.
Huntersville officials have declared August as Bicycling Awareness month, and say they’ll put new “share the road” signs around town. Last Tuesday, Aug. 17, they hosted an evening awareness bicycle ride beginning downtown.
Davidson planners and the Greenways, Trails & Bikeways Advisory Board are organizing a similar event on the South Prong greenway for Sept. 25. Some town commissioners and Mayor John Woods are expected to participate.
“Recent accidents and conflicts between drivers and cyclists have definitely raised awareness and we should seize the opportunity to educate all road users,” said Lauren Blackburn, Davidson’s planning manager, who is helping to organize the event.
WHAT’S THE LAW?
Public safety officials say bicycles and cars have the same rights and responsibilities as any other vehicles on the roads. There are no laws requiring or prohibiting cyclists to ride a certain way, though police say cyclists should ride responsibly and allow room for cars to pass. And they say passing vehicles should slow and be aware of cyclists on the road.
The N.C. Department of Transportation offers a brochure with NCDOT rules, regulations and recommendations for both drivers and cyclists. Download it (PDF), CLICK HERE>
Charlotte-Mecklenburg bicycle and pedestrian safety page, CLICK HERE>
RELATED COVERAGE AND LINKS
Read previous coverage of cycling accidents and public safety on DavidsonNews.net, under the “cycling” tag, CLICK HERE>
CharlotteVelo.com note on this crash.