Check here for the latest news, as we get it, about the North Carolina bicycle crash that injured 4.
As most of you know, Mike Dayton and three other cyclists were run down on a North Carolina road on Saturday, February 20th. Mike is Bike Law’s webmaster and blogger, and if you read these pages, you are familiar with his wit, passion for cycling, and mastery of the topic. Mike is better known as a long time randonneur, active RUSA member, and four time finisher of Paris-Brest-Paris.
For us and many other people, Mike is the archetype of the gentleman cyclist: a leader by example of cycling etiquette, safety, and grace. And he is a whole lot of fun.
News of the crash has rocked our community. There are so many questions, so much anger and frustration, and so much worry; so far, few answers.
We will update his page with news (most recent on top) as we get it.
Tuesday, February 24th: BREAKING NEWS
This afternoon, we learned that the driver will be charged with:
- 4 counts of violating the 2 ft passing law causing serious injury (Class 1 misdemeanors);
- Careless and Reckless driving (Class 2 misdemeanor); and
- Illegal passing on a crest or curve.
These charges are not adequate (even though they could carry some jail time depending on her prior record). The driver’s conduct, based on our investigation at the scene, should result in felony criminal charges. Among other factors, here are some details that warrant a more serious investigation:
- The driver never slowed down, didn’t brake, and never tried to move around the cyclists. She drove straight into them.
- While there was an oncoming car in the opposing lane, there was no immediate danger of the cars colliding. When the oncoming driver saw the crash, she immediately stopped her car and was still some distance down the road from the scene of impact.
- There was no sight distance issue; the oncoming driver could see the driver coming before the driver reached the cyclists; we stood at the bottom of the hill and could see far beyond the crash scene
- After hitting the cyclists, the driver drove another 400 feet or more down the road before stopping.
- After stopping, she ran erratically over to the crash scene and started yelling hysterically at the cyclists and telling them to wake up. She continued crying and yelling hysterically for an hour.
- According to news reports, the driver is currently is on probation for felony drug charges.
The police did not test the driver for intoxication.
We are disheartened, but will continue our investigation and do everything we can to get justice for Mike and the others.
If she is convicted of these charges, she will hopefully face a probation revocation hearing (based on her current probation status for a felony drug crimes).
Monday, February 22nd:
Bike Law North Carolina’s Ann Groninger went to Raleigh to visit Mike and the scene of the crash.
[Folks, for once and for all, this was not an “accident.” If you are confused about the terminology, read this.]
My / Ann’s first order of business was to check in with Mike and his family at the hospital. It immediately became clear that a LOT of people care about Mike. The waiting room was busy with family, friends and supporters coming in and out. Mike is such a great guy, it’s no surprise that he has such a wonderful family and so many friends who love him. After hearing on Sunday night that Mike was in a coma, it was good to hear upon my arrival on Monday morning that he had shown some slight responsiveness by moving his hand. I braced myself for the worst, but it was still very hard to see my friend with tubes all over the place, immobile and covered in black and blue.
Next, we needed to find out what happened. We visited the scene and it is obvious that there’s no liability question here; by all accounts, the driver drove up on the cyclists from behind, started to pass and then veered right into them. But why? News reports seemed to indicate a limited sight distance. Did she start to pass without enough sight distance and then come face to face with an oncoming car? Did something distract her? Why did she simply not just stop? And then why did she not stop immediately upon impact?
We’ve investigated the scene, had multiple conversations with police and the DA’s office and are starting to find witnesses. Many questions are still unanswered but some pieces are starting to come together.
Most importantly, we’re hoping for the best for Mike.
We also hope that justice is done. If there’s ever a case of criminal negligence — seeing a group of individuals, having several choices about how to act and then making the one that is sure to cause life altering injuries — this crash is it.
Please know that we will do everything we can to pursue justice for Mike and the other injured cyclists.
Photo of Mike riding in Europe by Mark Thomas.
North Carolina lawyer and Bike Law founder, Ann Groninger, has advocated at the state level on behalf of bicyclists in North Carolina for over 15 years. Ann has offices in Charlotte and Durham and has helped bike accident clients in Asheville, Raleigh, Durham, Greenville, Wilmington, Fayetteville, and throughout the state. Read more about Ann on her bio page.