A fatal car and bicycle accident in New Hampshire this weekend left two people dead and serves as a tragic reminder of the caution cyclists, unfortunately, must always take when riding on public roads.
According to reports by CBS News and the Associated Press, republished by Boston television station WBZ, police say a car “plowed into a group of bikers taking part in the annual Granite State Wheelmen” ride early Saturday morning. The 100-mile ride, known as a “century” in cycling argot, has been staged annually for 40 years and involved hundreds of riders according to the media reports, all of whom “were encouraged to follow the rules of the road as they encountered narrow colonial New England roads, steel decked bridges and weekend traffic.” Such events typically involve a significant amount of coordination with local law enforcement agencies to ensure that things go smoothly and that riders are able to travel safely.
In this instance, however, a south-bound vehicle driven by a 20-year-old man from nearby Seabrook NH “crossed over into the north-bound lane” hitting four cyclists, according to police sources cited by the news agency. The accident took place around 8:30 am on Saturday.
Two female cyclists, ages 52 and 60, died in the accident while two others, a 60-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman, were injured seriously enough to require hospitalization. All four of the victims were from Massachusetts.
Roads typically are not closed for events like this but, as noted, it is also worth remembering that large public rides usually involve significant collaboration with local and state police as well as a fair bit of advance publicity. Put another way, no local driver would have much excuse for being unaware that a major public cycling event was taking place locally.
Yet, as this incident tragically proves, responsibility for safe driving ultimately rests with drivers themselves. As a Portland bike accidents lawyer I see far too many cases like this – life-altering events that need not have taken place at all, had the person driving the car simply acted with the responsibility we presume of anyone who gets behind the wheel along with the common sense level of caution required when driving a car around any bicyclist, whether singly or riding in a group
WBZ: Two killed, two injured when car plows into Cyclists in Hampton NH