‘These are preventable deaths’: North Carolina cycling advocate urges bikers and drivers to share the road safely

North Carolina

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — With warmer temperatures, more people are looking to get out by going on walks or bike rides.

There are important safety tips both people driving and biking should know before they get on the roads. Greenville has seen two accidents involving cyclists in recent months.

In November, Kari Williams was hit by a car while riding his back on Memorial Drive. On Tuesday night, just a few blocks down the road from where Williams died, a car hit Rufus Lacy from behind.

“These are preventable deaths,” said Steven Hardy-Braz, a Pitt County cycling advocate. “Roads could be designed better. Drivers could be more aware. People can share the roads safely because every time we lose somebody, it’s a loss for us all.”

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These accidents have Hardy-Braz and other cyclists concerned for their safety.

“It makes me nervous because we see an uptick in deaths for pedestrians and cyclists across the country,” he said. “We see motorists acting more aggressively. We see greater rates of speeding, of crashes.”

Hardy-Braz has tips for cyclists to remain safe on the roads.

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“Making sure that you’re communicating your turns signals,” Hardy-Braz said. “Making sure that you’re riding with traffic. Making sure that you’re looking at people. Cyclists should be aware of the door zone. When that door opens up, they may have to swerve out or they may get hit by a door from a parked car.”

He said drivers also have a responsibility.

“North Carolina law requires motorists to give the full lane or at least four feet whenever passing,” said Hardy-Braz. “They can pass us in a no-passing zone, provided it’s safe to do so, but you change lanes completely or pass no closer than four feet.”

Hardy-Braz said the roads belong to both drivers and bikers.

“Let’s learn to share better and communicate so we can all be safe and we have fewer lives lost,” he said.

Hardy-Braz also recommends that bikers wear helmets and bright-colored clothing while riding. It’s also North Carolina law to have lights on your bike.

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