Death of cyclist highlights cost of making roads bike-friendly

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Death of cyclist highlights cost of making roads bike-friendly (Image 1)_32417

The hit-and-run death of a 49-year-old cyclist in Durham Sunday highlights a situation where it’s dangerous for bikers on roads in the area. And although the city has a plan to make its roads more bike friends, streets like Angier Avenue are low on the list of priorities.

A stunned passer-by discovered the body Isidro Razo early Sunday morning.

“There’s just a guy sitting on, laying like, dead on the middle, on the side of the road,” the witness said in a call to 911. “It looks like he got hit on a bike.”

Razo was killed on a section of road that leaves little room for bicycles.

“These roads are very difficult to deal with,” said Dale McKeel, a bicyle and pedestrian coordinator for the city of Durham. “A lot of them are old country roads where they just went in and paved between the ditches.”

To make a road like that bike friendly requires a lot of rehabilitation and cash, McKeel said. McKeel said it involves moving back ditches, creating a shoulder and putting in a bike lane or a paved shoulder.

“Doing that is very expensive,” McKeel said.

Durham does have a plan it has been executing for the last eight years to make the city’s streets more bike friendly.

“We look at where cyclists are riding today, where there are destinations such as downtown Durham, the universities like Duke and N.C. Central, and major shopping areas,” McKeel said.

Meanwhile the investigation into Razo’s death continues. On Tuesday, investigators went to an auto body shop near the hit-and-run scene and asked for a copy of 24 hours of surveillance video. Although the spot where the accident happened is out of view, investigators are going to examine it for clues to the identity of the vehicle that caused the accident.

“They need to find him,” said his brother, Juan Razo. “They need to find whoever did it to my brother. They need to find him, because if I were to hit somebody I would stop and call the ambulance right away.”

Investigators also still operating on the theory the vehicle that hit Razo was black and has major front end damage from the collision.

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