DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Multiple people have been hurt in bicycle crashes over the last couple of months in Durham and advocates in the city are calling for more to be done to improve bike and pedestrian safety on the roads.
On September 9, a man riding a bike near West Main and West Chapel Hill streets at the 5-points intersection downtown was struck by a truck about 10:30 at night, according to a Durham Police traffic report.
Erik Landfried, a friend of the victim, said the man was seriously hurt and the driver of the truck that hit him took off.
“He went flying off of his bicycle,” Landfried said. “He suffered some fractures and he had to have multiple surgeries, but he’s in good spirits.”
Unfortunately, serious crashes involving cars and bicycles in Durham are happening too often.
On July 10, 40-year-old Matthew Simpson was riding his bike with his family when he was hit by a vehicle while crossing Guess Road in Durham. He died four days later from his injuries.
“This is an issue that really is about public safety, public health, and we think that it needs more attention,” Landfried said.
Landfried is a board member with Bike Durham, a group that advocates for bike safety.
He said they are calling for the city to do more to make the streets of Durham safer for cyclists.
“We need the city to design the streets so they are more people-centric, whereas most of the streets are designed for vehicles. It really squeezes the space and makes things dangerous for people walking, biking, and using transit,” Landfried said. “We need to provide separated, protected spaces for everyone who is walking, biking or using transit.”
CBS 17 obtained a list of more than 100 bike and pedestrian projects on the City of Durham’s website that have either recently been completed or that are still in progress. The projects include bike lanes, buffer bike lanes, and sidewalks.
But Landfried said that more needs to be done.
He said he is calling on the city to be more transparent about the crashes that are investigated and to issue memos to the public about what can be done at the crash locations to prevent future accidents.
The Durham City Council previously signed on to be part of the Vision Zero movement in the past, which is a strategy with the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries by creating safer street systems.
Durham City Councilman Leonardo Williams said the city needs help with funding to put the Vision Zero movement into action.
“We do not have the funding to redo transportation the way we want to do it,” Williams said. “I want our Durhamites to know that we are listening and we do care. When someone is hurting here at the local level, it hurts us too. But it’s going to take our county, it’s going to take our state, and our region to rethink how we do transportation.”