Cyclists urge motorists to share the road
JOHN D. RUSSELL/MORNING NEWS
By TRACI BRIDGES
In less than two years, three members of Florence’s Pedal Pack have been struck by vehicles. Though none were seriously injured, the incidents serve as evidence that drivers need to be more aware of cyclists.
Janet Brand, a local tri-athlete, was headed home on her bicycle after a group ride two weeks ago when she was struck by a car along Palmetto Street. She doesn’t know exactly what happened but thinks the driver was trying to cross Palmetto when he hit her.
“He hit me on the left side, and a lady who saw the whole thing said I did a flip then landed on my right side,” Brand said. “I thought my leg might have been severely messed up, but the X-Rays looked good. So I’m just bruised and sore. I know God was with me, because the outcome could have been a lot worse.”
Brand said she thinks many drivers are inattentive in general, which causes problems for cyclists.
Scott Connelly of Florence agreed and said drivers always should watch for bikers. Connelly was struck by a car while riding his bike around Lake Robinson in Hartsville in spring 2008. Connelly suffered minor neck injuries and road rash.
Under South Carolina law, a driver of a motor vehicle must at all times maintain a safe operating distance between the motor vehicle and a bicycle. It is unlawful to harass, taunt or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than $250 or imprisoned not more than 30 days, or both.
Any violation of the new law, including the safe passage provision, is punishable by a civil fine. The fine structure is based on injury and ranges up to $1,000.
“People aren’t watching,” Connelly said. “We’re not getting any respect out there. We do have a right to the road. We’re considered a part of traffic, and drivers don’t seem to understand that.”
SHARING THE ROAD
YIELD TO CYCLISTS
PASS WITH CARE
WATCH FOR CHILDREN
— Source: Palmetto Cycling Coalition