The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday December 3rd

Cyclists honor hit-and-run victims

A year ago on Friday, two cyclists were struck and killed on 15-501. In memorial, their friends painted two bicycles and rode out to the site to decorate them. Jason Merrill, from Back Alley Bikes, painted the two bicycles and helped to organize the ride. He explained that "anytime cyclists are struck, it definitely hits close to home."
Buy Photos A year ago on Friday, two cyclists were struck and killed on 15-501. In memorial, their friends painted two bicycles and rode out to the site to decorate them. Jason Merrill, from Back Alley Bikes, painted the two bicycles and helped to organize the ride. He explained that "anytime cyclists are struck, it definitely hits close to home."

The bikes were originally placed at the site last year by Aimee Argote, a Pittsboro resident who was the first person to find the victims, Alexandria Simou and Ivin Scurlock, after the accident. The bikes were recently taken down for unknown reasons.

In an Aug. 22 press release, the N.C. Department of Public Safety said it was requesting the public’s assistance in finding out who is responsible for the hit-and-run.

The investigation is ongoing, said Miracle King, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Transportation.

The cyclists left Back Alley Bikes at 6:40 p.m., with flowers and the ghost bikes to place at the scene. Argote said she organized the event to bring attention to bike safety.

The more awareness that is brought to the subject of bicycle safety, the safer cyclists will feel on the road, Argote said.

Jason Merrill, one of the organizers of the event and one of the owners of Back Alley Bikes, said cyclists need to support each other.

Merrill said he knew the two victims because they sometimes came to his shop.

Jeramiah Morgan, a cyclist at the event, said he didn’t know the victims, but he joined the biking group to increase awareness of bike accidents.

“There will be more and more bikes on the roads, so the cyclists need to know where the dangerous areas are, and drivers need to be cautious about bikes on the road,” he said.

“Every traffic participant should stick to the laws and rules,” said Rainer Dammers, a Chapel Hill resident and cyclist at the event.

While Morgan said he feels safe biking every day, Dammers said he does not.

“Americans are not trained to react to situations that may not be standard to them,” Dammers said.

He said bikes are not common on roads, so car drivers do not always know how to deal with cyclists when they see them.

Dammers said increasing the number of cyclists is the only way to prevent accidents from happening in the first place.

Unlike drivers, cyclists have nothing to protect them and are more vulnerable, Dammers said.

“For new cyclists: ride defensively and be preemptive,” he said.

Dammers said the N.C. Department of Transportation needs to rethink how roads can be designed with both cars and bikes in mind.

“Traffic engineers need to consider any traffic participant in the same way,” he said.

city@dailytarheel.com



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