SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A cyclist hit while riding to work in Savannah last Wednesday is still recovering in the hospital.
Right now, there’s a fundraising effort online to help him out with medical expenses. Crashes involving a cyclist being hit by a car continues to be something we see play out here in Chatham County - a total of 67 times this year alone - up from 45 incidents last year, according to Bike Walk Savannah.
We’ve spoken to several people who know Patrick MacDonald, and everyone has said he is an experienced cyclist who exercised every safety precaution when on his bike.
“When we hear news stories about someone who was out early in the morning on a street that maybe we wouldn’t normally decide to ride a bike on, that person, in Patrick’s case, was trying to get to work like everyone else out on the road, so we need to recognize that bicycles and people walking as well will be out at all times of the day and night, because people need to get to where they need to go safely,” said John Bennett, Executive Director, Bike Walk Savannah.
MacDonald was traveling east on Louisville Road just before 6 a.m. last Wednesday, and somehow ended up facing south in the eastbound acceleration lane when he was hit by a car heading west.
A former boss describes MacDonald as an avid and experienced cyclist, but acknowledged that no matter the experience level, the road can still be treacherous for those on bikes.
“We see this happen just about every ride we’re on, where a car tries to turn in front of us, because they don’t realize that we could be doing 23 to 26 miles an hour,” said David Udinsky, Owner, Perry Rubber Bike Shop.
Udinsky says he’d like to see Savannah provide better access to roadways for cyclists. Groups like Bike Walk Savannah work with local government toward those kinds of goals.
“We haven’t had any major bicycle infrastructure projects in about six years now, but we hope there are a couple projects that will be coming up early next year that will catch us back up with other cities that have made investments in streets to make them safer for people who ride bikes, and for people who drive and for people who walk," Bennett said.
Projects like more visible bike lines are moving forward in our area. Bennett says a few things he’d like to see get off the ground at the beginning of the new year are an east-west bike lane along Liberty Street, continuing on as it turns into Wheaton Street, and a groundbreaking for the Truman Linear Trail.
Bicyclists we spoke to say you shouldn’t make any assumptions about how fast or slow a cyclist is going. Treat them like a vehicle on the roadways. Also, state law requires you to leave at least three feet of distance between your car and someone on a bike.