Nearly a year has passed since two bicyclists were killed outside of Chapel Hill, and police are still seeking information. On September 13, 2013, late in the evening, a 41-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman were riding southbound on US 15-501 when a motorist hit them from behind. Both bicyclists were thrown from their bike into the southbound lane. The driver fled the scene and both cyclists later died at UNC Hospital.
A year later, the driver has yet to be apprehended and no witnesses have come forward with details about the accident. Police are continuing to investigate the crime and are asking for information and tips about the driver who killed the two bicyclists.
Bicyclists face a number of dangers on North Carolina roads and highways, most notably motorists. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 630 bikers were killed in bicycle-motor vehicle accidents in 2009. In that same year, 51,000 cyclists were injured by motor vehicle collisions.
These accidents are highly preventable if motorists heed some simple safety precautions. First, motorists should be extremely careful when making turns. Bikers can be difficult to spot, especially in low-visibility conditions, such as rain or at night, and drivers who do not take the time to check carefully before making a turn run the risk of hitting and seriously injuring or killing a bicyclist.
Additionally, every year thousands of bikers are killed or injured when motorists open their doors without first checking to see if a bike is approaching. Known as being “doored,” this type of accident is extremely dangerous to a biker and often results in him or her being thrown from their bike and suffering serious injuries.
Finally, drivers should think twice before passing a biker on a highway. At times, especially when there is traffic coming from the other direction, motorists are not able to give ample space between their cars and riders’ bikes and they run the risk of hitting the bikes from behind. As in the hit-and-run accident from 2013, these collisions can prove fatal for bicyclists.
Each year, bicyclists face a myriad of dangers on the road. Many are injured or killed due to a lack of vigilance on the part of motorists. If you or a loved one has been injured while riding a bicycle, call on an experienced North Carolina injury lawyer at the Lanier Law Group.