Highway patrol and local advocates raise awareness for cyclist safety

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Each year in North Carolina, approximately one thousand bicyclists are involved in police-reported crashes with motor vehicles, according to NC Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash data.

Steven Hardy-Braz, a Lead Certified Instructor and bicycle advocate says, “Cycling is a fascinating and enjoyable, healthy activity to do.”

Though fun, Hardy-Braz says there are still safety concerns to remember. “It’s still very scary. these are horrific situations and heartbreaking tragedies when someone is hurt and killed.”

After a Pitt County cyclist was hit and killed in May, highway patrol and fellow cyclists are raising awareness of safety for those behind the wheel.

Sergeant Chris Knox with NC State Highway Patrol says, “You may be in an area that’s not a passing zone, but you have a clear line of sight and you can pass a bicyclist, giving them a 4-foot buffer. That just gives the cyclist room, and you can get around them. Putting the phone down, watching the roads, scanning ahead of you. We find that patience is something that we find that when you’re dealing with motor vehicles and vehicles such as bicycles, that that is the thing that will help us navigate this.”

Hardy-Braz told WITN it’s also important for those riding to ride safely. “Always wear a helmet. be seen, be visible, be predictable. ride with traffic like the law requires, following the rules of the road, but also ride defensively. Be aware of drivers. Get that license plate. Install your cameras on your bike.”

Knox says that scary statistics can even be seen in North Carolina.

Knox told WITN, “In 2023, we had 43 cyclists that were involved in fatal collisions in our state and so far in 2024, we’ve had 12. That 43 last year was a big jump from the year before and it really was an anomaly for the past five years.”

Steven Hardy-Braz says being aware is key to avoid such tragedies and keep those on the road safe.

“We have to be careful but still enjoy it so ride being aware of the situations all around you. ride responsibly. ride predictably.”

For more information on safety resources, you can visit here.