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Local doctor dies after bicycling accident on his way to work

Bicyclist accident

The scene of an accident on Belair Road at Ashbury Road where a bicyclist was hit Aug. 1. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 1, 2011)

News 12 at 6 o'clock, Monday, August 1, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Richmond County deputies are investigating a wreck that killed a Fort Gordon doctor who was riding a bicycle Monday morning.

The accident happened around 6:30 a.m. on the 3800 block of Belair Road in Augusta.

Dr. Daniel Dickinson, 57, was riding his bicycle to work at Fort Gordon, but he never made it. About 3.5 miles from Eisenhower Medical Center, he was hit by a car.

It was just before dawn when Dickinson was cycling to work, and a driver headed out to a fishing trip collided with him on the busy Augusta road.

Neighbors immediately knew something was wrong.

"I said, this is more than just a normal accident. Something bad has had to have happened," said neighbor Barbara Wilkes.

The car hit Dickinson from behind. He died at the hospital.

"In the profession to help others, it's just terrible," said Barbara's husband, Claude R. Wilkes.

The driver told deputies he never even saw the bike.

"It's really hazardous even to try to get out of your driveway, left or right, like it's a racetrack," said Claude about speeding drivers.

Right now, investigators don't believe speed played a factor, but they say the darkness may have.

"You just put your life in their hands when you get out on this road to walk or whatever," Claude said.

The orange lines mark the bike's path. Investigators say Dickinson may have been riding in the middle of the lane and too far from the shoulder.

"An accident is an accident and nobody wants to harm another life like that," Barbara said.

By Georgia law, cyclists must "ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practical, except when turning left or avoiding hazards."

Georgia enacted a bill July 1 to make drivers more responsible, too. When passing a bicycle, drivers have to leave "a safe distance" between the vehicle and the bicycle. Georgia defines a safe distance as at least 3 feet.

"Very sad for everybody involved," Barbara said.

Dickinson was a civilian, family practice physician at Eisenhower Army Medical Center. He moved there about three years ago after running his own practice in Augusta.

Investigators will be back out Tuesday morning reconstructing the accident and checking the lighting conditions at the exact time of Monday's accident.

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