Cyclists talk bike safety after 2 fatal accidents in less than 1 month

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 First at Five / Friday, May 24, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's the second bicycle accident in less than a month that's taken a life.

Early Friday morning, a 34-year-old man was riding his bike when he was hit and killed on Peach Orchard Road. Robert Holden was riding in an area with limited street lights, no sidewalks and no bike lanes. He had a small reflector on his bike and an orange safety vest wrapped around the top bar, but nothing to make him visible for cars coming up behind him.

Investigators say he was at fault for not having proper safety equipment and for riding in the middle of the lane.

Last year in Georgia, bicycle accident deaths increased 28 percent. That's a number the state is working to lower this year.

"I normally travel this road about five days a week," said Sharn Cook, who rides his bike to work on Peach Orchard Road every day.

He starts at his home off Gordon Highway, traveling both busy roads.

"I normally stay on the sidewalk," he said.

When there's not a sidewalk, he says all the traffic can be dangerous.

"It could be. You have to look out for things," Cook said.

In the past month, we've seen two fatal bike accidents. The first happening on Mike Padgett Highway and the second on Peach Orchard Road.

"It kinda takes your breath away," said Drew Jordan.

He has been riding and working with bikes all his life. He says education is the key to safety.

"Education for riders and education for drivers," he said. "It's a two-way street when you're dealing with bike safety, especially bike safety in traffic situations."

Bike lanes are limited throughout the area, which doesn't leave much room for riders.

"Part of it's due to the way the area is laid out," Jordan said. "You see areas where you have this one little bike lane, and then it suddenly ends and there's nothing leading to it, there's nothing picking up where it leaves off."

As for sidewalks, Jordan says, "Technically, bikes aren't supposed to be on the sidewalk, but a lot of times, it's the safest route."

He says the safest thing to do is make sure you are being safe by adding lights, reflectors, mirrors, helmets and wearing bright clothing.

"Anything you can add that's gonna draw a drivers eye," Jordan said.

But he says it's not just cyclists -- drivers need to make sure they are paying attention, too. With a lack of bike lanes, there will be cyclists on the road, so you should always be watching out for them.

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