The Georgia bicycling community is mourning the death of one of its own, as he was the most recent cyclist to die in a collision with a car.
The 53-year-old cyclist decided early one day to forgo his morning run and instead hop on his bike. Around 6:20 a.m., while riding in an Atlanta suburb, a man driving a Ford pickup truck struck the cyclist.
The man, a physician's assistant, died in the collision. The driver, 57, said that all he saw before the crash was the cyclist on his knees on the road, which means he could have fallen.
The most recent statistics available, which spans from 2003 to 2008, show that 28 people died in bicycle-related accidents in Gwinnett, Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb counties. In all, there were nearly 1,500 accidents, with approximately 135 of them labeled as serious.
Cyclists have said they do not believe the statistics account for all accidents. A national cycling magazine has ranked Atlanta as one of the worst cities in which to ride a bike, despite a bill signed by the Georgia governor that requires drivers to give bike riders at least three feet of space when passing. Bike-safety advocates said they are not sure if drivers know about the law and long have expressed concern about the lack of safe bike paths, a failure by police to enforce laws and drivers who do not want to share the road with cyclists.
It's unknown at this time whether the driver who hit the victim was lying to police in order to make himself look better. When an investigation is complete, hopefully the man's family will get the answers they deserve.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Decatur biking accident mobilizes silent community," Ernie Suggs, May 11, 2012
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