Patrol: Bike crash charges might come later this week

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A spokesman for the South Carolina Highway Patrol said charges might be filed by the end of week against a driver that collided with five cyclists in Aiken County on Friday evening.

Lance Cpl. Joseph Robinson of South Carolina Highway Patrol said the driver of the vehicle involved, Daniel Johnson, was northbound on Beech Island Avenue approximately 12 miles south of North Augusta, when he came up on the five cyclists, who also were northbound on Beech Island Avenue.

Inattentive and unaware of the cyclists' presence, Johnson's Dodge struck the group of them from behind, Robinson said.

Transported to Medical College of Georgia Hospital by ambulance in "very serious" condition, Robinson said, was Matthew Burke, 37, of Martinez.

Also injured in the wreck and transported by ambulance to area hospitals were the other cyclists: Laura Farmer, 47, of Augusta; Scott Moore, 39, of Augusta; Judith Speck, 42, of North Augusta, and Hugh Ray, 42, of Martinez.

All the cyclists were wearing helmets and reflective gear, Robinson said.

Johnson was not injured and alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash, according to the highway patrol.

The incident remains under investigation and no charges have been filed yet, but charges might be filed by the end of the week, Robinson said.

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mosovich
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mosovich 10/03/10 - 09:44 pm
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My question is why do drivers

My question is why do drivers feel as though they need to fit between the white and yellow line when passing cyclist, joggers when there is plenty of room to safely pass? Cyclist are supposed to be given 3 feet from the white line, not 3 inches.. I always am curtious to drivers, but few are the other way around..

trimmy
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trimmy 10/03/10 - 09:47 pm
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The drivers in Augusta drive

Unpublished

The drivers in Augusta drive so poorly, I can't imagine getting on a bicycle these days in the middle of traffic. Almost everyone in a car or truck talks on a cell while driving. Texting while driving can only be classified as stupid. I see it every day. We need more enforcement, but it's hard to do. I saw a cop texting at a redlight the other day. So I guess enforcement's out. Bicycle riders are health nuts with the emphasis on nuts. You've gotta have'um to ride in the street!

urdum
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urdum 10/03/10 - 09:49 pm
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I think that the point is

I think that the point is simple, check the SC state law, cyclist have every reason to use the road and just as drivers of vehicles, they have rules to follow. The spandex debate is quite comical yet really useless here and as far as the argument that trucks and cars will win everytime against a cyclist...well- yea that's true but so will trains against mack trucks, or mack truck against a car... take that debate somewhere else. Cyclist should follow the rule of no more than 2 wide in a lane, obey all road and traffic signals, and drivers of vehicles should pay attention to the road and not talk and text messages. Seems simple to me... Sad that this has happened and the driver should be charged.

insanity
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insanity 10/03/10 - 10:57 pm
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For all those who bash

For all those who bash cyclists, your attitude is one of intolerance. Its no different than bashing someone because of their age, race, or religion. They are different, and for some irrational reason, you don't like it. I hope all of the injured cyclists have a full recovery.

southman4b
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southman4b 10/03/10 - 10:56 pm
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South Carolina Bicycle Law

South Carolina Bicycle Law Updated
http://www.bikeleague.org/members/pdfs/american_bicyclist_july_august_08...

H3006 - The Bicycle Safety Act - amends Article 27, Chapter 5, Title 56 of the 1976 Code as indicated below. The Act is designed to provide greater safety for bicyclists on South Carolina roads and to bring South Carolina statutes into greater conformity with the Uniform Vehicle Code.

joshuas10
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joshuas10 10/03/10 - 11:02 pm
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Since the 1800's a bicycle

Since the 1800's a bicycle has been deemed a "motor" vehicle and by law is considered such. We can not ride on the sidewalks and we have to obey the traffic laws just the same as a car. It seems that people that drive vehicles have become so aggravated with cyclists "hogging THEIR road" which is obscured. A car can accelerate and brake with nothing more than moving your right foot. A car weighs a couple tons, a cyclist and bike may weigh 200lbs. So if a person who is exercising on a bike is in front of you "holding" you up for a mere 30 seconds while you can pass them, so what. That 30 seconds can save his/her life. Please take the time, the life you save may be mine. As a fellow cyclist I am deeply saddened that my friends were hurt by recklessness. I hope that everyone can learn from this tragedy. Also the news keeps getting the facts wrong. There were 15 riders not 6 or 5. Its extremely hard to miss 15 people riding in a group with bright flashing lights, brightly colored clothing, on an open stretch of road, with the sun at your back.

humbleopinion
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humbleopinion 10/03/10 - 11:04 pm
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This IS the south after all,

This IS the south after all, so the main way of life here is...."look Earl, they's differn't than us....let's shoot 'em". I don't have a horse in this race as I don't ride a bike on public roads, but I do ride the Augusta canal path once a week. I just hate the southern attitudes.......Southern Hospitality??? What a crock that is.

corgimom
19308
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corgimom 10/04/10 - 07:42 am
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While I personally don't have

While I personally don't have a problem with cyclists, I tense up every time I come across one in the road. I don't have any desire to get into an accident, whether it be with a bike or an oncoming motorist.

I don't like anything in the road that makes me cross the line into oncoming traffic. That's just common sense.

No matter what side of the debate you're on, riding bicycles on non-residential roads is dangerous for everybody.

klater1
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klater1 10/04/10 - 08:20 am
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I don't believe anyone wants

I don't believe anyone wants to see cyclists get injured or killed! Like everyone, I am hoping they all survive. That being said, I don't think Matthew Burke being a soldier has any relevance. I am an Army spouse so I get the sacrifice of the soldiers etc... Everyone involved is important! I jog to stay in shape so that part I definately get from the cyclists but I jog against traffic because the reality is, drivers don't always notice you right away and yes, I have had to go in to people's yards because an oncoming car was a little too close for comfort. Cyclists drive cars too! They cannot tell me that they are perfectly attentive every second they are in the car, don't talk on their cell phones, reach in the backseat to attend the children etc.. However unfortunate, it happens!!! None of us are perfect drivers. I watch for cyclists and hate hate hate to pass them because there isn't ever enough room to do so without crossing the double yellow line. So yeah, I put myself at risk in order to give them space....My prayers are with everyone involved- even the driver. This is a horrible accident.

Willow Bailey
20252
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Willow Bailey 10/04/10 - 09:05 am
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I am praying for the full

I am praying for the full recovery of all of the cyclists. I enjoy biking and horseback riding and have had plenty of rude and hateful people to deal with over my lifetime. I have had people blow their horns and try to upset my horse. I have found there is a difference between the two, though. Horse provokers are usually young men or rednecks who think they are having fun. Rudeness toward cyclists, comes from anyone, who lacks patience or takes their anger out on others. You have to wonder why someone can't reason that by intentionally causing an accident, which could take a life, is no different than killing the person. I also agree that a cyclist or rider must learn to yield to vehicles regardless of the law, if you want to avoid accidents. It is also necessary to choose your routes wisely.

julrobs
9
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julrobs 10/04/10 - 09:20 am
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So awful! I pray for all

So awful! I pray for all involved and their families and friends. As a driver, this is my worst dream, to hit anyone!

flipa
35
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flipa 10/04/10 - 10:46 am
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If EVER FATTENING Americans

If EVER FATTENING Americans can't lift their EVER FATTENING foot off the accelerator long enough to get safely by a cyclist how safe are you or your kid when they are around?????? Anyone who cannot get by a cyclist without hitting them should have their licence suspended & be forced to take a completely new drivers test. They are UNSAFE DRIVERS and this is P-R-O-O-F!

burninater
6816
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burninater 10/04/10 - 10:59 am
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Doo doo doooo, just another

Doo doo doooo, just another potential employer looking at local newspapers to see what would be a good place to expand my business ... doo dooo dooo, just humming along, looking for a place that would appeal to the type of educated work staff required by the modern economy ... la la la, just reading the comments to get a sense of the social environment and level of respect that exists for diverse ways of life ...

O. My.

Scratch the Augusta area of the list!

La la laaa, just another potential employer looking at local newspapers to see what would be a good place to expand my business ...

Fiat_Lux
13863
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Fiat_Lux 10/04/10 - 11:49 am
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Too funny, Burnin. Lateral

Too funny, Burnin. Lateral thinking, fa sho nuff.

burninater
6816
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burninater 10/04/10 - 01:00 pm
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Why would the AC remove a

Why would the AC remove a comment pointing out that intolerant attitudes towards individuals behaving within their legal rights may have a negative affect on the attractiveness of this region to potential business investment?

There were no slurs, profanity, nor personal attacks.

Is such an observation THAT incendiary?

Willow Bailey
20252
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Willow Bailey 10/04/10 - 01:51 pm
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I would consider the pull a

I would consider the pull a courtesy.

Big_vike
1
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Big_vike 10/04/10 - 03:38 pm
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The laws in South Carolina

The laws in South Carolina and Georgia both allow cycling on all roadways with the exceptions of Freeways and Highways. Wether or not you agree with those laws is not relevant. It is against the law to speed, especially on curvy hilly roads, it is against the law in Georgia to text and drive, your also supposed to use your turn signal, stop at stop signs and red lights, slow down at yellow lights, not talk on your cell phone, not eat or engage in any other "distractive" activity while driving etc, etc, etc. This man ran into a group of 15 bike riders, putting 5 in the hospital, there is no defense for this, all the "go back to where ya came from" and "you funny people with your funny clothes" b.s. doesn't fly. If I walk in the mall and walk into little kids, pushing them down, is the excuse, "I'm bigger, get over it" work? Huh? How about no! Just like the "my truck is bigger" excuse. Here's a news flash for all of you impatient ignorant drivers, there isn't a single road in SC or GA that is owned by a private individual paid for by public taxes, and until that changes, us cyclists will continue to use any and all public roads we are allowed to, wether you like it or not, and wether you think we should or not. Grow up, and pay attention, your not as good a driver as you think you are.

decaman
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decaman 10/04/10 - 04:59 pm
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APiratesLife4Me... SECTION

APiratesLife4Me... SECTION 56-5-3310 Section D states riders may not ride "more" than two abreast, so no, they wont be charged if that is the case...
More importantly, there's a beautiful wife, 7month old and family that are close to losing their husband/father/son/brother... Bickering and dialogue should follow but please.... after we offer our support and prayers....

Orlandu
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Orlandu 10/04/10 - 08:23 pm
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Wow Chronicle, thanks for

Wow Chronicle, thanks for proving that comments against the bike menace are censored. I guess you can count my 10 year subscription as being canceled. Goodbye to this so called news paper.

NOLA
0
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NOLA 10/05/10 - 02:58 am
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It's people like TK3 who

It's people like TK3 who simply don't get it. All cyclists are asking you to do is pay attention and follow the law. And don't be a donkey. Your misplaced sense of entitlement is dangerous. These were five cyclists traveling in a pack to be better seen, wearing all the right gear, and on the side of the lane. Really, how difficult is it to simple wait for a safe time to pass and then give 3 feet of clearance? Do you also buzz farm tractors, old ladies, joggers, and kids walking to school?

TK3
562
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TK3 10/05/10 - 08:23 pm
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I just finished reading the

I just finished reading the new biker law and a article about it and this is my short overall report on what I read along with my comments; The new law pushed by the National cyclists and the PCC that was passed in S.C. makes cyclists and motorists more unsafe and was in effect a death sentence for many. Cars and slow cyclists on two lane roads do not mix well and this new law makes things worse. The old law with its “exclusive side path” provision was repealed/changed. It required that where there was a "usable path" adjacent to a road, you were REQUIRED to use that path but now slow cyclists can legally ignore them and ride on almost ANY road/highway no matter the speed limit. Also under the new law cyclists have more new rights spelled out than motorists as they can just report you to police and file criminal charges against any drivers they SAY “harass, taunt them! Also cyclists can now file charges under the new law if they say someone maliciously threw an "object” at them, whether you "hit them" or NOT and NO injury or crash is even required to charge/prosecute. This new law pushed by the national biker groups and their legal lobby now allows charges against autos violating an UNDEFINED “safe operating distance" between the motor vehicle and a bicycle.” For everyones safety please contact your Representative and urge repeal of this absurd biker law and that it be replaced with a more common sense law banning cyclist on two lane roads with speed limits above 25MPH and that ROAD bikes be licensed/tagged, insured and be taxed to pay for new bike lanes. Remind the politicians an election is near.

TK3
562
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TK3 10/08/10 - 08:07 am
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Dear ke4pkb; Thanks, many

Dear ke4pkb; Thanks, many have asked but few actually read epics these days :-)
ke4pkbTK3 needs to write several thick books, he knows everything.

TK3
562
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TK3 10/08/10 - 08:09 am
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I have said prayers for the

I have said prayers for the injured in the recent accident but I am not just commenting on the details of the tragic accident or assigning blame other than to say it could have, IMHO, been avoided by ALL parties. The courts will assign blame and punishments.
The new Road Cyclists law pushed by the National cyclists and their legal lobby and the PCC that was recently passed makes cyclists traveling on two lane roads, without regard for conditions or speed limits, more unsafe and a hazard to motorized traffic and themselves. The old law with its “exclusive side path” provision was repealed/changed. It required that where there was a "usable path" adjacent to a road, you were REQUIRED to use that path but NOW cyclists can legally ignore them and ride on almost-ANY road/highway no matter the speed limit. This creates a deadly hazard for bikers and motorists also. Under the new law cyclists now have more new rights spelled out than motorists as they can report to police and file criminal charges against any driver they SAY “harasses and or taunts them! Also cyclists under the new law can file charges if they say someone maliciously threw an "object” at them, whether you "hit them" or NOT and NO injury or crash is even required to charge/prosecute. The new law also allows cyclists to file charges against autos violating a UNDEFINED “safe operating distance" between the motor vehicle and a bicycle.” For everyones safety, please sign petitions and contact your Representative and urge repeal of this new biker law and that it be replaced with common sense law restricting Cyclist traveling on two lane roads, without proper escort vehicles, to roads having speed limits 25MPH or less. Also please join the call for ROAD bikes to be licensed/tagged (allowing tickets), insured and taxed to help pay for new bike lanes.

Shacklet
0
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Shacklet 10/12/10 - 08:06 am
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I see the CSRA is still has

I see the CSRA is still has many hateful and narrow minded souls.

There is no minimum speed limit on state and county roads. If there was then the postal carrier will have to stop delivering. Maybe Techfan want to go to the post office to pickup the mail. This accident could have been a pedestrian or someone checking their mail box, or walking their dog.
Bicycle riders need to adhere the road rules just as vehicle drivers should be doing. Vehicle drivers need to get off the cell phone, quit text messaging or being engaged in some activity that distracts them from the task of attentive driving. A far as taxes, the bicycle riders paid taxes on the bicycle when they bought it. They pay taxes on their personal vehicles that they transports their bicycles. Now if someone wants to have taxes and tags placed on bicycles, fine. The bicycle riders I know will pay and still ride on the road. Will the taxes collected from bicyclist fund larger paved shoulders on the road and keeping then clear of debris? Do you want to have to pay tag taxes on your children s' bicycles so they can ride in the street? Keep that in mind, tax laws cut both ways.

Terry454
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Terry454 11/04/10 - 12:41 pm
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Cyclist do pay taxes. There

Cyclist do pay taxes. There were 15 cyclist on the road during the time of the motorist's criminal act. On the low side of the equation, each bike represents 3000.00. Given a 7% sales tax that comes to 210 dollars paid to the state. Please know that is just for the bike for each cyclist. 3150.00 estimated tax dollars paid. As a fiscal conservative, I do not want my taxes raised to pay for the neglience of a driver.

We do need laws to protect citizens. I have been the victim of a northbound driver crossing the centerline to run me off the road while I was travelling southbound. The driver then turned around and came at me again to throw a Mt. Dew bottle at me. I was advised by the investigating officer to carry my weapon (I have a permit) and protect myself if it ever happend again. Is this what we have come to!? Do I need to do this or should we just exercise good judgement and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Keep in mind, speed limits are maximum not minimum. Only on interstate highways is there a min speed for saftey.

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