Off-duty Columbia County deputy identified as bike accident victim

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 11:02 AM
Last updated 11:42 PM
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The cyclist who was hit by a truck Monday while riding along Furys Ferry Road in McCormick County, S.C., has been identified as a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office bicycle deputy.

Deputy Mark Benson, 60, was in fair condition Tuesday at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital, according to a hospital spokesperson. Benson, a 16-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, is assigned to the Special Operations Division Bike Patrol, according to sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.

Benson was off duty and riding his personal bicycle along Furys Ferry Road about 3:15 p.m. when he was hit from behind by a Ford F-150 truck. Details of the wreck and possible charges weren’t available Tuesday from the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

A motorist traveling behind the truck said several other vehicles had passed Benson, but the female driver of the truck hit him. Benson was airlifted to MCG with serious injuries.

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Fiat_Lux
14851
Points
Fiat_Lux 01/08/13 - 12:16 pm
14
3
The really awful part of this

is that the driver probably didn't have time to react because s/he wouldn't have seen the cyclist until the car or truck just ahead moved over to avoid him.

While I am very sorry this deputy was injured, it is my considered opinion that cyclists riding on public roads not specifically designated as safe for pedestrian traffic--which includes bicycles as well as walkers--should be given tickets for reckless endangerment.

This really has got to stop. Even though I would bike to work everyday in a skinny minute if I could, the hard, cold fact is that drivers are being forced to deal with obstacles that are impossible to deal with at 50 mph or at even at 30 mph on narrow, heavily traveled roadways. It is unreasonable to demand it of us.

Human beings as a whole, even in the CSRA, should be able to deal with this problem handily, without having a fairly constant trickle of cyclists ending up in the trauma center or the morgue.

twolane
191
Points
twolane 01/08/13 - 12:24 pm
0
0
hello
Unpublished

you can ride all day by the canal allllll day...theres a million dollar bike path in north augusta...but no gotta take up on whole lane

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/08/13 - 12:43 pm
2
2
Jurassic Park transports that

Jurassic Park transports that have no driver and are controlled by a central coordinating computer. We would cut down on accidents, DUI, citations, if not eliminate them entirely. It would suck-eggs not to be able to drive though.

itsanotherday1
40334
Points
itsanotherday1 01/08/13 - 12:51 pm
7
6
Again, Europe figured out a

Again, Europe figured out a long time ago how to make it work in places like Copenhagen, Glasgow, Helsinki, et al. They are so bike friendly that the cities have specially painted bikes that one can borrow for cruising about town.

I'm pretty confident they aren't SMARTER than we are, so why can't it work here?

WalterBradfordCannon
1378
Points
WalterBradfordCannon 01/08/13 - 12:55 pm
6
15
@FiatLux, the cyclist is a

@FiatLux, the cyclist is a legal road user. Fury's Ferry has no minimum speed limit. If a legal road user in front of you is going slower than you like, you are legally required to wait until it is safe to pass. Failure to do so will result in reckless driving citations, and either involuntary or voluntary manslaughter. You are breaking the law. It is never acceptable or appropriate to brush off a cyclist so you can save some time in your drive. They are legal road users unless you are on a cyclist restricted road like I-20. And criticizing the victim, who I presume knows the law a LOT better than you do (because he is a bicycle cop), is just poor taste. I agree, wider shoulders would reduce incidents like this, but until the wider shoulders appear, it behooves us to act like mature adults and preserve the safety of all legal road users. Safety first.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 01/08/13 - 01:13 pm
9
1
Things Will Get Better for Cyclists
Unpublished

Part of the widening project for Washington Road in Evans, will include walk/bike shoulders on the Gibbs Road side of Washington. The County is buying rights-of-ways right now. Prayers for the deputy and the driver, who will have to live with this, for the rest of her life.

allhans
23288
Points
allhans 01/08/13 - 01:43 pm
5
5
The car hit the cyclist,

The car hit the cyclist, right?
'Nuff said

thauch12
6161
Points
thauch12 01/08/13 - 02:13 pm
11
1
I don't see what we gained by

I don't see what we gained by knowing the poor guy's profession.

@Walter, you're absolutely right but it doesn't change the fact that it not the brightest of ideas to go biking on a curvy road with poor visibility where people tend to drive 60. This could have been prevented with a little common sense on Mr. Benson's part.

@itsanotherday. I too wish we had bike lanes like those European cities. However, it would never work in America where our cities are more spread out and where gasoline is so cheap that there is no incentive to bike. Plus, considering this guy was out in the goonies in South Carolina, I'm not sure it would have mattered much.

Overall, I wish Mr. Benson a speedy recovery and suggest that he find a better place to bike next time.

oldredneckman96
4921
Points
oldredneckman96 01/08/13 - 02:54 pm
8
2
Deputy on a Bike
Unpublished

When will we learn to ride facing traffic when on bicycles on public roads, the same as on foot. Yes, I know the poor guy was "obeying" traffic rules, but he caused his own problem by not being able to keep up with traffic. Any other vehicle that obstructs traffic by traveling too slow would be ticketed. Riding facing traffic you will see cars approaching and be able to react in time to avoid a wreck. No one can override the laws of physics when it comes to cars and bikes. We must change these "wish it were so" laws about bicycles.

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 01/08/13 - 02:54 pm
1
0
you are legally required to wait until it is safe to pass
Unpublished

You can get ticketed for reckless driving if you are driving to slow as well. It should be one's personal responsibility to make sure that what they take upon themselves to do is a safe choice. And if not, reap the consequence.

Time1
102
Points
Time1 01/08/13 - 03:26 pm
11
1
Went to Amsterdam a few years

Went to Amsterdam a few years ago--every where you look was bicycles and along the roads were bike lanes which you better not walk in or you will be run over by a bike. Hopefully bike lanes will be built on all new roads and some older roads be modified for cyclists. Require license plates for on road bikes to help pay for bike lanes. Restrict dangerous roads just like the interstate roads are.

itsanotherday1
40334
Points
itsanotherday1 01/08/13 - 03:32 pm
7
6
Thauch

This wasn't a curvy road in the boonies. This happened on that long straight stretch at the river crossing, and that driver should have been able to see this guy long before getting to him on that stretch ( in other words, I am speculating that the driver was being distracted by something). Not to mention, this is a road with a LOT of cyclists on it. and anyone frequenting that road (not that she was) would know to keep a sharp eye out.
Face the facts, cycling is a growing pastime that is here to stay. Get used to it, or get used to getting citations for reckless conduct. If cyclists really peeve you, get behind initiatives that will give then safer places to ride. It is a win/win; they get out of your hair, and they are safer for it.

I own a road bike but rarely take it on the road just for the reasons above. Drivers are in such a hurry to get where they are going, they could not care less how much others are inconvenienced, or worse yet, injured or killed.

dichotomy
30680
Points
dichotomy 01/08/13 - 04:12 pm
14
1
"the cyclist is a legal road

"the cyclist is a legal road user"

Look folks, nobody is aruging that the law says bikes can use the roads. Okay, you are legal. But legal don't protect you from inattentive drivers, drivers following in a string of traffic that don't see the biker until they are right on them, agressive drivers, etc. Yes you are legal but facts is facts folks. The driver may get a ticket but you might get bent and broken....or dead. But you will be in the legal right and I wish you luck with that. The fact is that slow bikes in 45 - 55 mph speed zones with 5000 lb. automobiles don't mix. Heck, it's a proven fact that many drivers do not see bikes and motorcycles even when they are coming at them with headlights on. It's like a mental block or something. They are there but the brain don't "see" them because it is expecting a 5000 lb. chunk....not a 150 lb. skinny sliver. The question is not whether you have the legal right to ride on the roads or not. The question is whether it is wise to do so just because you can.

So yes, you are legal. And yes, cars should share the road. And yes, drivers should pay attention. But woulda shoulda coulda it ain't gonna to happen. If you ride the roads legality is on your side but your fate is squarely in the hands of luck.

thauch12
6161
Points
thauch12 01/08/13 - 05:47 pm
11
1
Amen dichotomy. You hit the

Amen dichotomy. You hit the nail on the head.
And itsanotherday, that's still out in the sticks outside of the city. The speed limit there is 55 and the flow of traffic keeps the speed at nearly 60. It's almost like biking on the interstate...plus if there were any propositions to build bike lanes all the way out there by the lake, I'm sure it would be met with vehement protest. It's a waste of money to build bike lanes in areas that are so sparsely populated when we don't even have them in urban areas like Atlanta where it would benefit more people.

Tammy Swann
14
Points
Tammy Swann 01/09/13 - 12:16 am
5
0
Praying 4 this Officer and

Praying 4 this Officer and His Family!!

itsanotherday1
40334
Points
itsanotherday1 01/09/13 - 12:47 am
2
2
4 thumbs downers obviously

4 thumbs downers obviously believe that Europeans ARE smarter than us. I don't buy it.

CobaltGeorge
150613
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/09/13 - 08:02 am
3
1
Strange,

just yesterday I almost witness a head on collision caused by a bike rider on Herford Farm Road. The car ahead of me pulled into the left lane to passed a bike in a blind curve causing the oncoming car to serve off the road and inches was all there was from becoming a fatal accident. The driver just couldn't wait till it was clear to pass. There are many Pros's & Con's about bicycles being used on highways.

Fiat_Lux
14851
Points
Fiat_Lux 01/09/13 - 05:53 pm
1
1
The bottom line, tasteless or not,

is that a deputy should have known quite well the risk he was taking, and especially the kind of situation he was placing drivers in. And the legalities of doing it are completely irrelevant to the outcome he's now dealing with. It's not illegal to jump off your roof either, but what person would do it intentionally without being forced?

Gravity (and inertia) are very unforgiving laws that always, always trump the pitiful little rules we put up to control traffic.

It may sound harsh, but it's just the truth.

crockpot2001
81
Points
crockpot2001 01/11/13 - 08:09 am
1
0
Response to coboltgeorge comments

Look at the following comment and the comments I make within it. Also, look through most open forums around the states and you will find a multitude of complaints about drivers and their habits. Oddly, once a bicyclist in put in the mix the driver is totally innocent. Hmmmm.

Coboltgeorge Wrote: just yesterday I almost witness a head on collision caused by a bike rider on Herford Farm Road. The car ahead of me pulled into the left lane to passed a bike in a blind curve (Driver error, not the cyclist) causing the oncoming car to serve off the road and inches was all there was from becoming a fatal accident. The driver just couldn't wait till it was clear to pass (Driver error, not the cyclist) . There are many Pros's & Con's about bicycles being used on highways (Cyclists are not allowed on most highways).

WalterBradfordCannon
1378
Points
WalterBradfordCannon 01/11/13 - 08:48 am
1
0
@Fiat_Lux, do not blame the

@Fiat_Lux, do not blame the victim. We have a law abiding road user getting smashed by a 2 ton truck driven by a someone txting, and all you can do is go on about the bad choices made by the law abiding road user. It is ridiculous. I suppose you lecture rape victims about the lengths of their skirts, too?!?! People need to learn to obey the laws of the road, or live with the consequences (like reckless driving, like harming another innocent human being, like involuntary manslaughter). Or lobby to have road construction take all road users into account. But blaming the victim is unconscionable.

jrbfromga
429
Points
jrbfromga 01/13/13 - 02:56 pm
0
0
To all of you
Unpublished

who say bikes, pedestrians, farm equipment, etc. should not use YOUR road, then maybe you ought not drive except on the interstates where the aforementioned modes of transportation are not allowed. I am sure Mr. Benson pays taxes the same as everyone else, and is entitled to use the road with any conveyance he wishes, and those who wish to use motor vehicles as their conveyance have the obligation and responsibility to use the common roadway in a safe manner.

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