North Augusta Public Safety increasing presence on Bergen Road in wake of accidents

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Friday, June 14th, 2019 / News 12 at 11 o'clock

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC. (WRDW/WAGT) - New signs are popping up in North Augusta after a deadly bicycle accident. And officers say they'll be enforcing the lower speed limit.

This comes after a number of accidents on Bergen Road, including the death of a cyclist who was hit and killed last month.

Officers they're ramping up their presence to send a message.

Anne Rikard didn't know George Batton personally--but says her heart aches when she thinks about his tragic passing.

"It is a blind hill coming up from the Martintown Road side....and it is actually a blind hill going down as well from the Five Notch Side," she told News 12.

Batton was killed in May right near one of those blind spots Rikard is talking about.

His neighbors say he was loved by all--and was also expecting his first grandchild.

The same day, another accident on Bergen Road involving a police cruiser blocking off the scene of his death--hit by another car struggling to see the road.

"I mean if the death of that gentleman at 7 o'clock in the morning did not make people slow down but for 2 or 3 days...now they're right back to their old habits,"Rickard lamented.

Rikard calls Bergen Road a raceway. Batton's monument is evidence she may be right.

"When people see that 45 they just gun it and keep on going," she said.

She told News 12 she thinks the speed limit--45 miles per hour on the straightaways--is too high.

"I've almost been rear-ended twice, with my turn signal on--me perfectly stopped," she said.

By the time the road curves and it goes back down to 30, Rickard says its too late.

"Thirty to thirty five miles I think should be the max on this road," she said.

She's happy NADPS is stepping up to combat this issue.

"Maybe if they got a few tickets..." she added, when asked what it might take for people to slow down.

She knows this won't bring back Batton; but it may save someone else.

"I know that would aggravate a lot of people...but we're talking lives," she said.

North Augusta Public Safety couldn't go on camera today, but they did want to assure people they will be out in force to make sure the speed limit is obeyed.

They also say South Carolina is an "Absolute Speed" state, meaning even if you're just one mile over, you're technically violating the law.

Especially on roads like Bergen, where the early morning and late afternoon sun angle makes it even more dangerous, speeding is green light for them to award you with a ticket.