Study: Wrecks involving cyclists increasing

A study reveals more car-versus-bicycle accidents are occurring in urban areas. (Source: WAFF)
A study reveals more car-versus-bicycle accidents are occurring in urban areas. (Source: WAFF)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - According to the Governors' Highway Safety Association, the number of bicyclists killed on the road is increasing.

Another troubling fact the study found: The percentage of these deaths that occur in densely populated, urban areas has risen to 69 percent.

According to the study, one reason for the increased number of deaths is that more people ride their bicycle to and from work. About a fourth of those crashes occur after dark.

Huntsville resident Tim Cole was the victim of a hit-and-run and considers himself lucky to be alive.

"The problems you see with the cars on the road is that we have to make sure that we share the road together, and that the cyclists and the motorists pay attention to the laws," Cole said.

Last August, he was enjoying a normal ride.

"I was riding on Bailey Cove in southeast Huntsville. It's flat and straight, and I was in a straight area and I just... heard a car accelerate, and I turned around," he recalled. "It made contact with my bicycle and... my bicycle flipped through the air. I was very fortunate that it threw me out of traffic."

The bicycle enthusiast says the car was an older model Toyota Camry with damage to the passenger-side headlight.

"I hit the ground. They never hit their brake lights and they kept going," he said.

His description of the wreck is as if slow-motion took over at the scene.

"It was 3 or 4 seconds of my life; as I was flipping through the air, looking back at the vehicle. I remembered that I always carry my phone in my back pocket and I called 911. I fractured my back and spent 3 months in a back brace and eight weeks sleeping in a chair in the den."

One thing cyclists need to do before they head out the door is to make certain that they're doing everything right when it comes to safety. Tim Cole says he did that.

"I was wearing reflective clothing, I had rear light, front light. Head lamp, tail lamp on my helmet."

Cole says they never caught the driver.

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