Monday, October 04, 2010

Cyclist seriously injured when hit by SUV during group ride.

NOTE: While not actually taking place in Milton, we thought the follow article might be of interest when considering the numerous cyclists riding in our open road neighborhoods today.

By Ty Tagami
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A military surgeon from Fort Gordon served a tour of duty in Iraq, but on Monday he was fighting for his life after a recreational bicycle ride back home.

Matthew Burke, 37, of Augusta, was with a group of people riding on a rural South Carolina road just across the state line when a man in an SUV hit them from behind Friday evening.

"We don't have any long-term prognosis," his brother Paul said Monday.

Burke, an orthopedic surgeon who served in Iraq in 2009, is married and has a 7-month-old daughter, his brother said.

He suffered brain trauma and has been unconscious, said his brother, who spoke to the AJC by telephone from the waiting room of Medical College of Georgia. "It's a very serious situation."

The collision occurred on Beech Island Avenue, a scenic byway that is popular among cyclists in Augusta, in part because of the light traffic.

The driver, Daniel Johnson, 41, lives in the area, said Lance Cpl. Josef Robinson of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Johnson told investigators that he was not paying attention while driving, Robinson told the AJC. The corporal, who is a highway patrol spokesman, said the investigators did not tell him what had preoccupied Johnson.

"They just said he was distracted," Robinson said.

Johnson was not arrested and, as of Monday, had not been charged with a crime. The case remains under investigation.

Four other cyclists were hit, too. Robinson didn't know their conditions, but Paul Burke said all had been treated for their wounds and none was hospitalized as of Monday.

The cyclists had departed from an Augusta bike shop for a regularly scheduled ride that leaves at 6:15 p.m.

Matthew Burke was at the back of the pack about half an hour later when the group hit an incline and slowed to a conversational pace, said Randy DuTeau, an avid cyclist who knows Burke and spoke with cyclists who witnessed the incident.

DuTeau, who is the sports development manager for the Augusta Sports Council, is also familiar with the stretch of road where the crash occurred. He described it as two lanes wide with good visibility.

"It's basically a straight shot for, I'm guessing, over a mile," he told the AJC.

Johnson's father gave a different description. He lives with his son near the incident scene, according to The Augusta Chronicle.

The father, also named Daniel, questioned why cyclists chose that road, according to an article published on the Chronicle's website Sunday. He said it had "crooks and turns, and it's narrow."

The elder Johnson also said he and his family were distraught over what happened.

"It's a terrible situation; we don't know what to do or say," he said. "We just keep praying for [Burke]."

Cycling is growing in popularity in Augusta. The city recently hosted a half Iron Man triathlon that attracted thousands of competitors.

DuTeau said that has created a growing friction between cyclists out for exercise and drivers who just want to get where they're going.

He said cyclists need to obey the law, and so should drivers.


Anonymous said...

It is just a matter of time before a cyclist is injured in Milton. The cyclists that visit Milton every Saturday and Sunday morning are becoming increasingly aggressive and belligerent and continue to defy the rules of the road. They continually ride side by side, have no concern about what drivers are thinking and rarely ride within the rules of the road. When was the last time you saw a cyclist stop at a four way stop or wait in line? At Freemanville & Providence, I continually see cyclists ride through the four way stop without as much as a hint of slowing down.

I would be very pleased if the Milton Police spent more time reining the cyclist behavior before someone is hurt.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the post above. The Milton police need to get involved and ticket the bicylists for breaking the rules of the road, just like they do with car drivers.

Anonymous said...

What about runners who WILL NOT get off the road when cars approach them?

Anonymous said...

What about the biker's right to the road? If these problems are getting increasingly worse, I would suggest that this wonderful city install bike paths along the roads in question. This will keep everyone safe - except the runners. Maybe an elevated jogging path above the city would accomodate the runners.....Or better yet, what about common sense, and SLOW DOWN when approaching runners or cyclists. Thats all we really need but the more time I spend here, the more I see that common sense is what this city lacks most.

Tim Enloe said...

It is simply a matter of time before a cyclist is severely injured riding in our open road neighborhoods or killed.

This is not the officers fault; we do not have enough police to cover the city adequately. Some leaders as well as citizens are intent on keeping the great officers we have from doing the job they were hired to do effectively and without obstruction.

in addition, Council has chosen to sit on their hands and do absolutely nothing regarding the severe speeding that has taken lives and put others in jeopardy while hindering property values dramatically.

This city should be known for not tolerating speeding and working hard to keep all residential nodes safe. Instead, most get away with such activity on a daily basis.

Tim Enloe
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

It is the cyclists that break the law and the speeders that break the law. There is nothing City Council can do about that. If the overall speed limit was 35 for the city of Milton, a cyclist, pedestrian or another vehicle could still be in a serious accident. People are responsible for making Milton a safe city not the City Council. WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO DO TIM? Why don't you put all of your effort in making the citizens of Milton and surrounding cities know that they need to abide by our laws instead of blaming others. I really do not understand..

Anonymous said...

The issue of cyclists and their road behavior is very much overdue. There is a certain amount of arrogance that I have witnessed in the way they ride side by side and purposely flaunts the road laws. There is a certain amount of arrogance with these people in there feeling that they belong on the road without believing anyone else has rights to the road and that they have to follow the rules.

Extremely arrogant. A disaster with these bicyclists is bound to happen given how their lack of concern for anyone but thereselves.

Anonymous said...

They should just pass a law that restricts the bikes from the roads. I know Thurman and Longoria would pass it as their large backsides havent seen a bike seat in decades!

Anonymous said...

I guarantee you that Bailey would do the same as she hasen't gotten out of that old suv of hers in years.

Anonymous said...

If the bicyclists want to ride on our winding two lane roads then that is their decision to take the risk and perhaps put their life in danger of peril. Drivers of vehicles are forced to dodge, veer, and slow down to avoid hitting them or an oncoming car, so who exactly is causing the problem??

Anonymous said...

You are way out of line. I believe this is the order of right of way/yielding to others: Pedestrians, Bikes, Cars.
Perhaps you should get off your own fat ass, stop typing all the BS and try it. No, better not, it would require too much effort for you. Easier to complain about those with a healthier lifestyle. Got news for you, the bikes aren't going away. Blow air.

Anonymous said...

Bike riders: start a Critical Mass, the last Friday of every month.

Anonymous said...

Drivers, start gently bumping them off the road for the next month and then if they are still on our roads start getting more aggressive till they learn their lesson.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful solution, let's try it, go to jail, and then find Jesus.

Anonymous said...

There is a new bike path on Hwy 9 towards Cumming paid for by our tax dollars but where do meet cyclists? On two lane roads during rush hour traffic.

Please vote for me to be Governor someday. I will make riding bicycles on major roads a crime unless there is an official race or something.

People riding bikes on busy roads put themselves and drivers at risk. They are being stupid to put it mildly.

Tim Enloe said...

5:03 -

I appreciate your comment.

To answer your question re what I want council to do is quite simple and would cost the tax payers nothing. Let me know if you would like me to post the link to the power point that I presented to council this past year.

Tim Enloe
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

It Is obvious that NONE of you are aware of the laws
This is right out of a Milton Police mouth.

Bikes can ride two rows wide
Must stop at stop signs
Cars must give the riders 3'
And yes cars need to slow down.

Bikes have the same rights to the road as anyone else.
The few extra seconds it takes to go around a bike or wait for a group will not make you late or change your life.

Anonymous said...

I never seen a bicyclist in Milton stop at a four way stop. I have seen many bycyclists slow down and just ride right through them. If the law says two deep, then it should be changed to single file. I have always been under the impression that this was the City ordinance. Tim, can you call your friends at the City and find out the exact language.

The previous poster is correct, the bicyclists are for the most part very arrogant and they are a menace to our City.

Anonymous said...

Again if you will just gently bump them off of the road with your bumper then the smart ones will get it fairly quickly. Then those that are left you can ram them hard enough to permanently end their riding time.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like road rage. No one gets in your way because you are part of the "ME" mentality with no consideration for others or the law. Maybe YOU should stay out of the driver's seat and off the road until a cooler head prevails.

Anonymous said...

F all the cyclists in this area, they don't follow the laws, they schedule races without city persmission and without picking up their signs later, and are typically just ignorant.

Anonymous said...

Such IGNORANT little minded people you must be, demographics or just stupidity. Get with the program and the rest of the Country. Bikes are here to stay. We're not leaving, more of us are coming, see you on the road.

Anonymous said...

Next time they have one of those illegal races, let's go out the night before and switch their "right" and "left" turn signs. That would be fun to watch, maybe send them down one of the pothole filled dirt roads. Then we could bump them off the road like somebody else suggested. Maybe one of the software execs in Milton could come up with a video game for the WII of the drivers bumping cyclist. Maybe assign different point values for the tighter the shorts are?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the mayor will be riding and someone will bump him off and then Karen Thurman can have a booth set up, with OB manning it, advertizing loans to any military people riding. Smack Smack?

Anonymous said...

Not one of the defenders of the open road bicyclists has said that they should obey the laws and rules of the road and ride single file. In fact, most of the responses take the "bikes are here to stay" and "see you on the road" response which means tough sh*t we are going to do what we want.

Is there any wonder why so many of Milton's citizens consider this group to be arrogant?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I took your advice and bumped one today! It was a blast. He started shaking and twisting and there was blood on him, as I drove on. I cant wait till tommorow as Saturday is a busy bike day.

Ten points!

Anonymous said...

I've got news for you, the drivers in Milton do NOT obey the rules of the road and they're here to stay. Just ask Tim Enloe.

Anonymous said...

Bike riders are Arrogant you say? Funny.