County flirts with unwanted bicycle accident record

Wrecks involving bicyclists approaching 2010 numbers

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Last week's fatality involving a bicyclist and another incident Monday in which a cyclist was seriously injured have pushed Richmond County closer to a number it would rather not surpass.

A review of the 10 most populous counties in Georgia, as determined by the 2000 census, shows Richmond County falls toward the bottom of the list for the number of fatal bicycle incidents.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
A review of the 10 most populous counties in Georgia, as determined by the 2000 census, shows Richmond County falls toward the bottom of the list for the number of fatal bicycle incidents.

To date, there have been 30 accidents involving cyclists and vehicles, including two fatalities. There were 37 wrecks involving bicycles in 2010, including one fatality, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

"The general feeling is dismay," said Randy DuTeau, of the Augusta Sports Council and one of several charter members of the nascent Augusta Wheel Movement.

Foremost are the losses of two accomplished cyclists in Augusta's cycling community.

Dr. Matthew Burke died in February from injuries received in a wreck in October during a group ride in Beech Island.

A fellow doctor at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical center, Dan Dickinson, was killed Aug. 1 in the 3800 block of Belair Road while commuting to work.

"It's losing people that were close friends; that's the really hard part," DuTeau said.

On Monday evening, Ernest Tanner, 57, of Augusta, was rear-ended by a truck in the 1700 block of Tobacco Road. He remains in critical condition at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The latest figures on wrecks involving bicycles from the National Highway Traffic Safety only extend to 2009. A review of the 10 most populous counties in Georgia, as determined by the 2000 census, shows Richmond County falls toward the bottom of the list for the number of fatal bicycle incidents.

From 2005 to 2009, Fulton County, home to Atlanta, had six fatal incidents; a close second is Chatham County and Savannah, which had five incidents.

Richmond County had just two incidents in that time frame, both in 2007. Those two incidents, however, gave Richmond County the highest number of fatalities per 100,000 people out of all counties.

Coming Sunday

Bicycle magazine released its top 50 cities across the country that are most friendly to bicyclists. What do those cities have that Augusta doesn't? The Augusta Chronicle looks at how bike-friendly Augusta is compared with other cities.

Deadly drive

Augusta is one of the top 15 deadliest cities for auto fatalities by population.

CNBC.com reported last week the city ranked third nationally with 19.57 deaths per 100,000 population.

That ranking was based on 2008 traffic data, which appeared in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's annual Traffic Safety Facts report.

Augusta made its mark because its 38 auto fatalities in 2008 were higher than average. However, the city's 16-year average -- 32 fatalities, as calculated from data on the NHSTA Web site -- would still have put it in the deadliest-15-cities range.

More recent preliminary figures for 2009 (27 fatalities) show the city rate dropping to sixth nationally and tied with Memphis. Seven of the 2009 deaths were pedestrians.

-- From staff reports

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Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/11/11 - 07:49 am
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The article is about Richmond

The article is about Richmond County and its bicycle fatality statistics. So I got a little befuddled when reporter Kyle Martin drifted into writing about a Beech Island, South Carolina fatality and then segued into a Columbia County fatality. In the last paragraph he tells us about Richmond County fatalities in 2007. Were those the most recent bicycle fatalities in Richmond County? If so, I would say Richmond County is doing pretty good in the bicycle fatality statistics jungle.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/11/11 - 07:57 am
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In the bottom sidebar the

In the bottom sidebar the reporter gets into the Augusta auto fatality statistics. He tells us that about one-fourth of the auto fatality victims are pedestrians in Augusta. That's understandable when you understand that Augusta is home to a unique sport. Near the Washington Road—I-20 interchange the game is to see how often you can jaywalk across Washington Road without being hit. The object is to make the crossings far away from any traffic signals or crosswalk markings.

broad street narrow mind
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broad street narrow mind 08/11/11 - 08:08 am
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cnbc just came out with the

Unpublished

cnbc just came out with the list of most dangerous cities for driving. augusta made number three. did the mayor's office send out a presss release on that one? i think we've all heard of cnbc.

Richmnd Cty Votr
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Richmnd Cty Votr 08/11/11 - 08:49 am
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Perhaps it is TIME to Change

Perhaps it is TIME to Change the DEADLIEST ROADS Speed Limits? Naaaa, that would be to easy and LOGICAL. I believe the high rates of speed around AUGUSTA MAINLY Contribute to the deaths.

Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 08/11/11 - 09:18 am
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Where's (C)ountyman when Deke

Where's (C)ountyman when Deke needs him?

cityman
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cityman 08/11/11 - 10:13 am
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This is another example of

Unpublished

This is another example of how Augusta is not a livable city. Bike lanes need to be added. Augusta could be great place but it appears that the nuts and bolts, quality of life issues, have been and they continue to be, ignored. The "cool" factor is low!

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/11/11 - 10:39 am
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Bike lanes are fine for the

Bike lanes are fine for the occasional loner cyclist. But the social cyclists are not happy with bike lanes. They demand the right to ride down highways and city streets three and four abreast, commandeering an entire lane.

gnatman1102
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gnatman1102 08/11/11 - 02:44 pm
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Many drivers in the CSRA are

Many drivers in the CSRA are not only dumb. They are just plain mean.

Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 08/12/11 - 12:52 am
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A friend is spending the

A friend is spending the Summer in Park City, UT. He notes that autos constitute about 50% of the vehicular traffic there. The remaining vehicles are bikes. While I don't suggest such a high usage-% as feasible here(except in places like Riverwood Plantation with its contiguous residential/commercial module and the like), we could do much more to provide bikelanes and bikepaths along major thoroughfares. No telling whose and how-many lives we might save by so doing.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/12/11 - 08:37 am
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Craig Spinks wrote: We could

Craig Spinks wrote:

We could do much more to provide bikelanes and bikepaths along major thoroughfares.

At first blush bike lanes on major thoroughfares sounds like a simple accommodation. But I think the better solution is to avoid bike lanes on major thoroughfares. Bicycles need to be encouraged on roads where the speed limit is 30 mph or less and discouraged where the speed limit is 40 mph or more.

Another good approach is to put bike paths from subdivisions into the backs of shopping centers and factories such that bicyclists can get to commercial venues from their homes without having to go onto a major thoroughfare or highway.

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