Thursday, March 7, 2019

Charleston cyclist dies after collision with SUV near the Crosstown in February

Charleston County leads the state in bike accidents

Posted by Adam Manno on Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 3:56 PM

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A cyclist who collided with an SUV at a downtown intersection died from his injuries last month, police say.

The cyclist was "traveling west against a red traffic signal" when he entered the intersection of Cannon Street and Courtney Drive near MUSC, according to a police statement. The driver was traveling inbound on Cannon Street when the cyclist struck the passenger side of the Nissan SUV, according to the driver and several independent witnesses.

The cyclist "sustained significant life threatening injuries" and was transported to the Medical University of South Carolina immediately after the accident, police say.

He remained hospitalized until his death on Feb. 20.

The Charleston County Coroner's Office has not responded to requests from City Paper about the cyclist's identity. According to an incident report from the time of the accident, he was a 57-year-old taxi driver who lived in Hanahan.

This is the third fatality investigated by the Charleston Police Department in 2019, and the first involving a cyclist.

In January, 36-year-old David Massie was struck by a vehicle while walking along a busy portion of Maybank Highway on James Island and later died of his injuries. The incident was investigated by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.

In November of last year, Mel Garrett was also killed while riding his bike on the outbound side of the Crosstown near the Courtenay Drive accident.

Several pedestrian deaths have occurred at the intersection of the Crosstown and Coming Street, which is also a busy pedestrian area.

"Motorists are reminded to be alert for vulnerable roadway users (bicyclists and pedestrians) while traveling upon the roadways," Charleston police said in a statement released on Wed. March 6. "Working together, everyone can arrive alive at their destinations and contribute to the overall goal of greater roadway safety and reduced levels of collisions and traffic fatalities."

Nearly 30 percent of S.C. bike crashes between 2009 and 2017 took place within Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, according to a 2018 study completed by Equitable Cities LLC and commissioned by the Palmetto Cycling Coalition in Columbia. Across the state, 1,112 pedestrians and 146 cyclists died during that time.

Charleston County had the highest rate of bicycle crashes at 2.66 per 1,000 people.

According to the S.C. Department of Public Safety's Highway Safety Plan, Charleston ranked at the top of the list of cities with the highest number of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths and serious injuries from 2011 to 2015. The City of Charleston had 26 pedestrian deaths in those years, followed by Columbia with 23 and North Charleston with 11. (Those cities are also some of the most populous in the state.)

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments formed the CHATS Safety Improvement Committee last year to help reduce traffic deaths.

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