Published Somedays

Bicycle-Automobile Accident Database for Wilmington, NC

Update Dec 26, 2013 -- Updated cyclist crashes for New Hanover and surrounding counties. Thanks to NC DOT for providing the data. Looks like there were 55 crashes reported in New Hanover County for 2012, 68 in 2011, and 46 in 2010.

Updated Various County Pedalcyclist Crashes (2007-2012)

I have created a database to help track cyclist-car accidents. I'm doing this to have a convenient place to view data on bicycle accidents with cars in our area. Car-bike accidents are being under-reported and that is a problem. It understates the economic damage that cars do and overstates the safety of cycling (and walking). If the mission of our police officers and NCDOT is to provide for safety for all modes of transportation then they need to work with a complete set of data.

The best way to ensure that local officials address recurring bicycle awareness and safety issues is to report every crash or collision, regardless of how minor, to the local police department or sheriff's office. These reports are entered into a database at NCDOT, which is used by local and state transportation planners and engineers to identify problem areas.

To add an incident to the database, please email me using the link at the bottom of the page or better yet, post it to the Report Incidents section of the forum.

People need to wake up to the bias inherent in our auto-centric system. Motorists are constantly complaining that cyclists do not obey the laws, while conveniently ignoring the myriad of motorists that break traffic laws daily. Motorists are easily angered when cyclists are "in their way" for what, a few seconds or minute at most? Yet what about all the fender benders and accidents that snarl traffic for hours? Why are they in such a hurry that they put a cyclists life in jeopardy when they are likely just going to go home and sit in front of the tv? Drivers will often hit cyclists and simply drive away, or pay a small fine or none at all -- their court cases often dismissed.

Some of these people think cyclists don't belong on the roads because they don't pay taxes, yet roads are funded by all taxpayers. Gas taxes and other "user fees" cover at most 50% of the cost of building and maintaining a road. The rest is general Federal tax money and money raised through bonds. Drivers are actually subsidized by non-driving taxpayers! If you look at who creates the most wear and tear on the roads and pollution, it's disproportionately the heavier vehicles, by the vehicle's gross weight to the 4th power. So cyclists have a insignificant effect on road wear and the environment. Making cyclists pay taxes through registration and property taxes just so they can use the roads makes absolutely no sense and is a very dumb idea. Imagine trying to implement a system like this. It would cost taxpayers far more money to administer than would be gained in tax revenue. I think it's hypocritical how some of these bird-brains that don't want government in their lives (for example, government interference with the 2nd Amendment and the right to own arms free and clear), at the same time want the government to administer a massive bureaucratic program to license cyclists and make them inspect, register and pay taxes on their bikes to be able to ride on a public road? What's next, taxes on shoes for walkers? And we wonder how our government is so bloated, power-hungry and out of control.

Here is a summary of cyclists killed by drivers in the Wilmington metro area (as of 2010 -- yes I need to update, more cyclists have been runned over since then)

Motorists
Motorist Name Charge/Crime Penalty
Thomas Grooms Charged with two counts of second-degree murder for killing Ronald Doolittle, II and Ronald Doolittle, III. Sentenced to 24-30 years in jail.
Unnamed No charges filed. Three drivers struck and killed Harley Becraft while he was riding on U.S. 17 near Winnabow. None.
Jordan Anderson Whitley Charged with killing cyclist Phillip Tidmarsh while driving impaired. Sentenced to 5 months in jail.
Lisa Anne Thompson Charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle. No info on outcome.
Leon Kenneth Cobbs Failure to reduce speed - struck cyclist Scott Kanyok with his truck. Case was dismissed.

Link to other incidents

Link to North Carolina Court System search page


More details from table

Father and son killed after crash on River Rd.

Description:
A car hit two bicyclists on River Road in New Hanover County Sunday morning, killing one person and critically injuring the other.

Troopers with the State Highway Patrol confirmed that Ronald Doolittle, II, 47, died on the scene.

His son, Ronald Doolittle, III, was in critical-life threatening condition at New Hanover Regional Medical Center and died two days later.

The accident occurred at 9am on a Sunday.

Location:
River Rd. near Halyburton Memorial Parkway.

Link for more info:
http://www.sirbikesalot.com/entry.php?fid=378

Outcome:
Case is pending.

Date of incident: 4/3/2011



Bicyclist killed on U.S. 17

Description:
The news did a complete disservice to cyclists here by implying that it was completely the cyclist's fault. He might not have been the sharpest cyclist, but they missed a key factor in the story: there was construction on the shoulder which forced the cyclist into the lane. They also said it was dark, but at 6:45pm it was still light out and he should have been seen. But the bias in the report is unbelievable, including the assumption that he was intoxicated, and "he was riding in the middle of U.S. 17" (see links below).

Bicyclist killed on U.S. 17

Killed cyclist was riding down the middle of U.S. 17

Location:
U.S. 17 near Winnabow.

Link for more info:

Outcome:
No charges filed.

Date of incident: 3/4/2011



Bicyclist struck by car on Eastwood Road

Description:
A 62-year-old man was in critical condition Thursday after someone crashed into the back of his bicycle on Eastwood Road, officials said.

The wreck happened at 9:50 a.m. as Gary Frank Sargent was headed west on Eastwood Road toward Military Cutoff, according to a statement from Lucy Crockett, spokeswoman for the Wilmington Police Department.

A car, also headed west, changed lanes and hit the back of the bicycle, according to a preliminary investigation by police. The collision threw Sargent up over the car and into the road, police say. He was wearing a helmet.

The driver stopped at the scene. Sargent was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, according to police. Officers are still investigating.

Location:
Eastwood Rd. near Military Cutoff.

Link for more info:
http://www.sirbikesalot.com/forums/index.php?topic=1635.0

Outcome:
Cyclist dies from injuries. Taken off life support Oct 23.

Driver charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. Carries up to 45 days of community service and a fine.

Court date continued until 3/24/2010.

Date of incident: 10/16/2008



Bicyclist killed on River Road

Description:
A 45-year-old bicyclist was killed Tuesday evening when he was struck by an impaired driver while riding along River Road in Wilmington.

The bicyclist was identified as Phillip Michael Tidmarsh, of Rougemount, north of Durham. The driver of the car, 19-year-old Jordan Anderson Whitley, of Wilmington, was charged with driving while impaired, with further charges pending, said 1st Sgt. J.O. Holmes of the N.C. State Highway Patrol.

Holmes said troopers suspect Whitley was impaired by some type of drug, but he didn't say what kind.

The crash occurred around 6:30 p.m. and authorities closed River Road between the intersections of Cathay Road and Riverbreeze Drive for almost two hours.

"It appears from our evidence that the bike was in the bike lane when it was struck," Holmes said, adding that speed did not appear to be a factor.

Trooper K.A. Lee said the crash occurred when a silver Honda, headed south in the 6600 block of River Road, collided with the bicyclist.

The bicycle ended up 5 to 6 feet off the right side of southbound River Road and the Honda in a ditch off the road's left side.

Location:
River Rd.

Link for more info:
http://www.sirbikesalot.com/forums/index.php?topic=1522.0

Outcome:
Whitley sentenced on 6/18/09 to 5 months in prison, then probation for 20 to 30 months. Re-eligible for driver's license at 42 months.

Date of incident: 9/9/2008



Cyclist hit on Market St.

Description:
Cyclist Scott Kanyok struck in the head by a truck mirror while riding on Market St. Cyclist hospitalized with head trauma. He was wearing a helmet. Driver charged with failure to reduce speed.

Location:
6700 block of Market St.

Link for more info:

Outcome:
Driver of truck paid $30 fine plus $105 court costs. Driver was not convicted of his charge - fail to reduce speed. Case was voluntarily dismissed (VD).

Date of incident: 1/1/2008