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« Change | Main | Charleston's bike parking problem »

Charleston cycling advocate injured

Edwin Gardner (Right.) a well known cycling advocate for the Charleston, SC peninsula was struck by a Jeep Cherokee at 7:53 am Wednesday morning.

The last I heard he was still in a coma, in critical condition, after being dragged 15 feet and ending up lodged beneath the SUV.

The incident report said that Gardner contributed to the accident, the 21 year old driver of the Jeep did not. Peter Wilborn a Charleston lawyer who trains police officers on how to investigate and report cycling accidents, said:

"In my experience training police officers, a common theme I talk about time after time is 'Don't fill out an accident report until you've spoken to the cyclist.' Yet here it goes again. We have a determination of fault and we haven't even given the guy a chance to wake up from a coma,"

Edwin was riding his bike south on Lockwood Boulevard when he made a left onto Montague Street; (See map below left.) The Jeep Cherokee followed him and also turned onto Montague.

The report says Gardner moved to the right and the driver of the Jeep attempted to go around him.

The cyclist then rode back into the line of travel and struck the Jeep on the left passenger side.

I was not there, but I can only surmise what happened based on my own experience:

Edwin Gardner, an experienced rider, probably moved back over to the left to get out of the door zone of parked cars.

If Edwin rode into the passenger side of the SUV, it would have had to be almost on him when he moved out; an experienced rider would not do this.

If he struck the side of the SUV, how come he ended up wedged underneath it?  I think it is more likely he was struck from behind by the front of the vehicle. If this was the case, damage to his bike would confirm this.

This is pure speculation on my part but could this be just another case of a driver in too big of a hurry to get around a cyclist?

The story reported in the Post & Courier has the usual hate mongering comments from locals, who seem to almost celebrate the fact that a good man is lying in a hospital bed in a coma.

This is the whole crux of the cycling safety issue. As long as the general motoring public is allowed to spew out and perpetuate all this unfounded hatred; then no one sees the person on a bike as a fellow human being.

But rather as some sub-human species, criminal almost, to be mowed down if he gets in your way. And if he gets hit? Oh well, he asked for it.

What a sad, sad world we live in


Update: Sadly Edwin Gardner died from his injuries at 11:20 am. Friday morning, about the time I was writing this piece



Reader Comments (16)

Saddened to hear this. My biggest fear on the bike is being hit from behind.

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstephen_mc

Dave - Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

I have seen the type of comments on the PostCourier web site. And it was an embarrassing display of ignorance, meanness and rudeness that made me cringe to think anyone from around the world could see this and think it represented our community.

Several years ago, I contacted the newspaper to complain about the nature of the posts. The poison most of the posters spew was so toxic that I got physically ill just reading them. I felt the anonymous venue allowed people to give vent to hatred and vitriol and did nothing to foster discussion. I'm assuming nothing has changed.

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJanetLee

Thanks for your comment. It is not just Charleston, it is anywhere in the USA, and most of the so called civilized Western World for that matter.
Run them down, kill them, they cry; its OK they're not human, they're just a bunch of scofflaw cyclists in the middle of the road. They deserve to be run down.
Does it sound farmiliar, like the lynch mobs of yesteryear, and our Lycra shorts and jerseys are the different color skin we put on.

July 23, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

My city of Boise had three fatalities last summer. The last one was just adjudicated. The cycling community railed at the prosecutors for taking so long to charge and adjudicate the cases. The police department and the prosecutor just wanted to get it right including toxicology. As sergeant of the bicycle patrol unit and an avid road rider for 30 years, I am saddened and disheartened by the rift between cyclists and motorists.

I don't know why Charleston is in such a hurry to peg the blame. It is easy to educate people on the process and how long it takes to do the investigation completely.

I spend 90% of my time educating that motorists and cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities. I can't read the comments on the cycling stories anymore. It hurts my heart to hear the hate spewed by the motorist extremists.

Thanks for your blog and your beautiful framesets. I had one of your Fuso framesets in the late 80s. It was stolen. I am trying to replace it and scour the Internet and craig's list daily.

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarge

This is terrible. I try to keep an eye peeled behind me, and find a rearview mirror to be invaluable. This awful incident only emphasizes the importance of riding defensively.

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

And this is why I keep a bright red 'blinkie' going all day, and a safety triangle too. Maybe it confuses autoheads just enough to notice me.

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjamesmallon

21-year-old driver
Experienced cyclist
Investigate. The odds are against the driver.

July 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRay

My wife has been trying to convince me that Charleston would be a great city to relocate to in a couple years but as an avid cyclist since the mid-1970's, it is probably the LAST place I would ever consider moving to. Horror stories like this, not to mention several of Dave's previous columns one only serve to confirm my feelings.

July 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDon

Hi Dave, I'm sorry to hear that this fellow has passed. I'm also sorry to hear all the negative and violent comments from non cyclists. I've been following the Tour de France and when Yahoo posted a couple short stories, most of the comments were so negative it just makes me sick. The USA is so brainwashed on the stick and ball sports that one doesn't have to wonder why we have obesity and health problems from sitting on our asses in front of TV and feeding our kids high calorie crap because of "conveinence." As I read the comments I could picture in my mind the fat slob commenting because his football, baseball etc... is a "real sport" and cycling is just something his kids do out in the street. As we run out of oil, gas skyrockets in price, and large corporations continue to move their operations to foreign lands where workers are paid pennies an hour and our middle class disappears, it's just a matter of time when "alternate" forms of transportation will become the norm. Will this happen in "our" lifetimes? Every day I see "bike riders" (inexperienced or ignorant) doing anything they damm well please and most of the time it involves motorists. By riding like an asshole the motorist sees "all cyclists" as assholes and developes the attitude that was probably in the mind of the 21 year old driver involved. Unfortunately we are no match against cars when we ride. Even our Mayor here in Los Angeles recently was the victim of a "right hook" from a taxi ( who fled ) while riding in a bike lane resulting in him braking to avoid contact and went down breaking his elbow. There are not enough police officers here to stop and warn / cite all the idiots who drive / ride like assholes so there will continue to be incidents. I agree that the cyclist truely deserves to have his / her side of the story recorded during the investigation. In fact it should be mandatory as we are the ones who will suffer the injuries. Until society starts to make a better effort to ride / drive with common sense and logic this will continue. When ever I have a "moment" with a driver who acts like an ass, I usually ask them if they have children? You would be surprised how many do. Then I reply, " one day your child might be the one on the bike." Ride with common sense, follow the rules of the road, and remember you never stand a chance against that car hitting you. Be Safe !

July 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

When I read the first report on Thursday I left a comment that something was not right, that if a turning movement was in progress there shouldn't have been a pass being made, and that the cyclist's right turn was probably to avoid being crushed by the SUV driver's right turn.

I also commented the accident investigator needed remedial training and a swift kick.

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOpus the Poet

im very sorry to hear your friend's incidence. as a cyclist, regardless of the real cause of this accident, it feels really bad that somebody is in a such condition.

i dont know the exact story, and i agree with you that it's too early make any conclusion. however, at the same time, i also think it might be too early to blame everything on the driver.

i was driving few weeks ago at 30mph on a really narrow two-lane drive way. in front of me, there were three cyclists who were riding in a somewhat-scattered single file near the edge of the road. as i decided to go around them by going over the yellow line, they suddenly came in to the middle of the road without giving any kind of gesture or making eye contact with me, so i had to stop the car immediately. if my reflex was little bit slower, i would've crashed into them.

i dont know how "real" experienced riders would do in that situation, but the riders could be "experienced" but forgot to do what they should've done.

what i'm trying to say is that there's a chance that your friend might have made a mistake, and moved to the left side without making an eye contact with the driver. i think it's unfair to conclude that it's the driver's fault just b/c he's 21.

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhc

The intersection.
Click on the street view. I doubt the driver's version.


July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBig Dave

"Run them down, kill them, they cry; its OK they're not human, they're just a bunch of scofflaw cyclists in the middle of the road. They deserve to be run down."

It's this type of attitude in the city I live in (Winnipeg, MB) that terrifies me every time my husband takes our toddler out for a bicycle ride. I fear that some driver will eventually hit, and kill, both my husband and child.

It's sad when something (a bike ride) that is so enjoyable by daughter and father absolutely terrifies me, to the point I feel sick to my stomach sometimes when they go out.

August 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine

My experience is that the cities here get designated as bicycle friendly for creating bike lanes and paths that do not make it safe for the bicycle commuters to bicycle to and from shopping and/or work. The these cities use their Bicycle Friendly Designation as an excuse to say that they do not need to change. Tempe, AZ maintains, The Tempe Bicycle Death trap," using that excuse.

I enjoy recreational bicycle riding. I also want to be able to commute on my bicycle safely. I maintain that in Arizona there is an open season on bicyclists and pedestrians. I have never, no NEVER heard of a police officer writing a motorist a citation for violating the "3 Foot Clearance" law that is on the books, unless pressure is brought to bear.

August 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJimL01

Cmon - the driver surely?

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

Still a timely reminder to read articles like this - Safe Cycling

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

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