DOT will review River Road safety after crash kills two cyclists

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The accident Sunday that killed a father and son bicycling on River Road in New Hanover County has many people asking questions about the road and its safety.

River Road has a marked bike path, but many folks say the space is merely a shoulder, at best. With the curvy roadway and the speed limit of 55 mph, three people have now died in the last four years, and many in the community think something needs to change.

The Department of Transportation says it is waiting to hear the full report on Sunday's accident to make any decision. For now, though, everything is set to the proper regulations.

"We actually had a speed study done about two years ago," DOT engineer Chad Kimes said. "It was still showing that the 55 mph was the appropriate speed limit through that area. I'm sure with this fatality here we'll be doing that speed study again."

The DOT says it expects to have a full accident report back from the Highway Patrol in 60 days. When it gets that report, it will move forward on what, if anything, to do next.

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On River Road I have observed the following;
Speeding,
Following too close,
Driving left of center,
Failure to maintain lane,
Failure to yield right of way,
Passing in a no passing zone,
Careless and reckless driving,
How many tickets have been written in the 'County' on River Road?

Cyclists have a legal right to be on the road. Until that law is changed, get over it.

How about we try the following: Don't drive impaired. Put down all the distractions and pay attention. Respect that cars and their drivers are not the only ones that use the road. Obey the law (cyclists too).

I would love a separate path off the street with guard rails, but we all know there isn't piles of money laying around for projects like this. So, how about we pay attention and show a little respect and decency for everyone out there on the streets.

YES, THE 2 MEN KILLED HAD A LEGAL RIGHT TO RIDE ON THE ROAD. DID THAT HELP THEM? DON'T TRY TO TAKE MY POINT OUT OF CONTEXT.

So you don't want to show any decency and respect? Have you seen some of the stuff that builds up in the bike lane? Sand, debris, junk that drivers throw out of their windows. Some places there is even bad pavement in the bike lane. In a car, you don't even think about it, but we move a little bit left to avoid it so we don't flat or crash. Sometimes that takes us into the car lane, but we stay as tight to the right side as we can safely manage.

I ride responsibly and defensively, because I know it doesn't matter whose fault it is; if I crash, I can get seriously hurt or killed.

All we ask is the respect and decency to give us 3 ft of clearance when you pass, which sometimes requires patience to wait until you can give us that room. And don't get behind the wheel if you're drunk or on drugs! Why is that so much to ask?!

I am not suggesting at all that the men killed on River road were at fault. My point is: Many bicyclists seem to think the whole road belongs to them. Many times I have approached bicyclists who are in the automobil lane, and yet have room on the side where they could be riding. Often they could move over when autos approach, but do not. It seems that they are insinuating something like "I am riding here and nothing you can do about it", daring you to hit them. Even with more room to the right, they stay to the left, too close to the driving lane. Bike riders should give thought to this, and realize an auto driver could swerve unintentionally. Auto drivers may drive very close to the bicyclist, (maybe to warn them to move over, or because of oncoming traffic) and accidently hit them. Bike riders often (am not saying always) contribute to these incidents. I have heard many others express these same thoughts.

Cyclists are generally the nicest and healthest people I know. Mutual respect between drivers and cyclist is to be expected. Most if not all cyclists are automobile drivers as well. We know and respect motorists and expect the same in return. River road is not a major throughfare. I do not take River road to make time when I am in a hurry. It is a scenic route and should be driven that way.

You know, for the amount of times you say you aren't suggesting something, or aren't insinuating this, it comes across as "get out of my way bike rider". As someone who rides a bike, I can tell you exactly why people on bikes are sometimes in the lane. First, cars buzz you on a bike like no other. It is scary as hell. We have a right, by law, to use enough of the lane to safely ride. No bike rider "dares you to hit them", that is just stupid on your behalf and unfounded.

Slow down and realize that people on bikes are trying to get somewhere too, you don't have right of way just because you're in a car. And you say car drivers drive close to bikers on purpose? That's borderline crazy talk. Grow up and share the road.

I have no problem sharing the road with bikers, believe me, but it scares me to death when I try to pass them. I'm always afraid they will hit a rock and fall right in front of my car, or they won't know I'm pulling up beside them and they will all of a sudden swerve more toward the middle for some reason. Accidents happen, and cars aren't always able to give bikers a wide berth when passing because of other cars in the other lane. I wind up holding my breath and hoping for the best.

about building a bike path OFF to the side of river road such as the cross city trail?

...that people on bicycles dont belong on the road and that roads are for motor vehicles.

Wouldnt that be a GREAT thing?!?

The speed limit is appropriate, the bike path is not. It needs to be 10 feet off the side of the road, with guard rails on sweeping turns. Tie it into the Cross City Trail.

Completely agree. The road is too narrow for a 55 zone making it difficult for drivers, and the bike path width is pathetic, making it dangerous for bikers. Cheap budget was too much of a consideration by the DOT when this was slapped in. The solution you offere is the only way to prevent further deaths on River Rd. I hope the DOT will get serious this time.

It is not the road, the speed limit, or the bike path. It is that we don't have laws and consequences that are stiff enough to discourage drunks from driving and killing people. DOT should have sense enough to know this without doing another expensive, needless speed study. This sort of thing could happen anywhere, anytime. The clown that killed the young woman on NC 211 a few months back just wrecked his moped, so obviously, he is not incarcerated like he should be. The guy that killed these two bike riders will probably bond out and drive again until he is dealt with. How many more will he kill? Maybe he should not sit in jail until his trial, but the law should be specific that if someone who has driven drunk and hurt or killed someone, is out on bail, drives again, whether or not he has a mishap, should face a mandatory 20 years in prison.