The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday April 12th

Bicyclists, pedestrian deaths raise concerns

A hit-and-run on U.S. Highway 15-501 Friday left two cyclists dead, according to the Highway Patrol.

Ivan Scurlock, 41, and Alexandria Simou, 40, were riding southbound on U.S. 15-501 about 110 feet south of Chapel Hill town limits when they were struck by a vehicle. The highway patrol received the call about the accident at 12:13 a.m. Friday, according to Patty McQuillan, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

Scurlock was killed and Simou was taken to UNC Hospitals following the accident, McQuillan said. Simou later died at UNC Hospitals, said Patty Rich, health supervisor for UNC Hospitals. Rich declined to comment about when Simou died.

The highway patrol is still investigating the accident and the agency has not determined the type of vehicle involved in the hit-and-run, McQuillan said.

Crosswalk safety

Chapel Hill police are still investigating the death of Chapel Hill resident Lisa Renee Baldwin, 41, who was struck and killed by oncoming traffic at 8:24 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of U.S. 15-501 and South Estes Drive near University Mall, according to a press release from the Chapel Hill Police Department.

More than 350 pedestrians are injured or killed in collisions with vehicles in the Triangle area each year, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation.

Last year, the “Watch for Me NC” campaign made its way to Chapel Hill to educate drivers and pedestrians on how to keep town roads safe.

Town Council member and Mayor Pro Tem Ed Harrison said he encourages bicycle and pedestrian safety, especially among students. He said he has lights and wears a helmet when riding his bike.

“I advocate for people to wear helmets and lots of lights on bicycles, flashing lights,” he said. “You have to make sure you’re seen. A lot of students I see don’t have helmets and lighting, and some do.”

McQuillan said Scurlock was not wearing a helmet when he was struck by the vehicle Friday.

Harrison will attend the N.C. Bike Summit in Carrboro next month to address statewide issues with bicycle safety. Because of the large number of pedestrians and bicyclists, Harrison said the conference was very relevant to Chapel Hill.

A plan for safety

Both the town and the University are crafting new bike plans. The plans will provide safer and more efficient bicycling through town and on campus, according to Zach Ferguson, a student at the UNC School of Law and president of the Carolina Bicycle Coalition. The plans are independent of each other, but the same consultant is being used.

About 180 bicyclists are struck by vehicles in the Triangle each year, according to data from the “Watch for Me NC” campaign. The data only reflects police-reported crashes that make it through the Department of Motor Vehicles system.

“People think it is very dangerous,” Ferguson said. “I think we could be doing a lot more to make it safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.”

city@dailytarheel.com

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