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UPDATE: Huntsville Police looking for driver who hit cyclist, left scene

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Police are looking for help from the public as they search for a hit-and-run driver. A bicyclist was struck in south Huntsville early Tuesday morning and the driver left the scene.

Fortunately the man’s injuries are not life-threatening.  As a matter of fact, he called police himself.

“It was still dark outside, just after five in the morning and cyclist was hit by some type of a vehicle,” said Sergeant Clay Warmbrod of Huntsville Police.

The south side of Bailey Cove Road was shut down for 30 minutes while first responders were on the scene. The driver who hit the cyclist left the scene, and police have no vehicle description.

“We need information.  It’s a felony, so it will be investigated aggressively,” said Sgt. Warmbrod.

Investigators say the victim has a fractured vertebrae and took all the necessary precautions to remain safe on his bike.

“My understanding is he had six lights on him, he was wearing a yellow reflective vest, highly visible,” said Sgt. Warmbrod.

“For vehicles, it is harder for a vehicle to see a bicyclist, especially at night,” said Daphne Treece, a Huntsville police officer who also is on the Huntsville PD Bike Squad.

The extra danger is why police urge cyclists and pedestrians to help keep themselves safe during dark hours.

“Wear reflective clothing at night so you are easier to see,” advises Treece.

“That vehicle can become a weapon,” said Warmbrod, “even if its unintentional on the part of the driver, because it’s metal and you’re not.”

Once again, this is a felony — anyone with any information is urged to call Huntsville Police at (256) 722-7100.

28 comments

  • Kate

    There was a cyclist on Cecil Asburn at 5:30 this morning wearing all dark clothing, not clearly visible until I was almost right on him. There was a huge group on Four Mile Post wearing all dark, no reflective material at all as well. If they get hit, they are just as much to blame as the driver. Granted, the driver in the Bailey Cove incident shouldn’t have left the scene.

    • Concerned Cyclist and Auto driver

      The group on 4 Mile Post had bright lights front and back on each bike. If you were unable to see them as brightly lit up as they were, how do you a dark colored car? Driving is a privilege, NOT a right. With the privilege comes the responsibility of every driver to be cognizant of ALL of the users of the road. Cyclists have a legal right to use the roads. Does it requires other road users to possibly have to slow down once in awhile? Yes, But no one gets up in arms about having to slow for a farmers tractor, a loading school bus, etc. Blaming a cyclist for being hit while legally using a road is akin to blaming a rape victim for being attacked because of how they were dressed. I’m not saying all cyclists follow every road rule. But show me an auto driver who had not sped, rolled through a stop sign, etc. The fact is as a driver of a 3000 lb auto it is our responsibility to watch for and treat with respect all other users of the roads.

  • Lisa

    Kate, I agree with you, I come across Four Mile Post every morning and there is usually one cyclist with dark clothing. Also, while it is your right to bicycle it seems kind of stupid to ride on heavily traffic areas because you are NOT a car!

  • Chris Key

    There are no heavy traffic areas at 5:00-5:30am. Blaming the victim is always easier than being alert while behind the wheel of a 3000lb object. The laws and rules of the road are the same for cyclist as they are for motor vehicles, so no it is not stupid to be riding a bike on the road especially in these areas you all mention because they are considered bike roads by the city of Huntsville.

    People need to pay attention and show a little curtesy to others. Just slow down until it is clear to pass cyclists. I am sorry it is such an inconvenience to go from 40mph down to 20mph for 10 seconds on your commute until you can pass me, instead of trying to squeeze the lane and hit someone. That 10 seconds of your commute could take someones life, so let’s think about that instead of always blaming the cyclist.

  • Country Boy

    Even when we were kids 40 years ago, in a much larger city than Huntsville, we KNEW there were certain times of the day when you either didn’t ride or highly modified your route. This “new wave” of arrogant bicyclist seems to have the same mentality as a suicide bomber.

    • danadebard

      What time of day and place would you suggest? 5:30am is usually a very low traffic time of day. Bailey Cove has plenty of room for cars to pass. I can assure you cyclists are not out trying to get hit by cars. This particular cyclist was lit up like a Christmas tree. At 5:30am it’s dark so lights and reflective material is HARD to miss. That’s not arrogant or asking to be hit. That’s begging to be seen while participating in an exercise activity at a time of day that allows for work and family time.

  • Linda

    I drove by there just after it happen. The cyclist had good lights and would have been very visible to a driver.

  • Revconguy

    While I have no idea of what happened to this poor cyclist, there have been many many many times where I’ve come across a cyclist at night with no lights whatsoever, wearing dark clothing, and riding down the middle of the road. Bicyclists should have to follow the same laws as cars with respect to nighttime lighting. Their arrogance is leading to more and more accidents.

  • David

    Reports are, the cyclist was wearing a yellow jersey, had two taillights, a rear helmet light, a headlight, and side lights. That SIX lights. Reports are that he has a vertebra crack and lots of road rash.

    But I’m sure it’s HIS fault…

    Come on, people. Take responsibility, be more careful, and stop instinctively blaming the cyclist!

  • James Parker

    I really don’t think the problem is with the cyclists here. http://www.wsfa.com/story/25436400/alabama-ranked-last-on-list-of-bicycle-friendly-states

    and I was in that large group of cyclists on four-mile post this morning. My jersey is orange, my bike is bright red, my helmet is white, and the whole group of us were littered with front and rear LEDs. to say we weren’t visible is about the dumbest thing i’ve ever heard. and if 5AM is not a good time to ride, country boy, when would you suggest???

  • Juan

    Roads are for motor vehicles, NOT Bicycles. only a complete fool would ride a bike on a road designed for automobiles. Please don’t B a Fool!

      • ariel

        Actually, common sense says to not ride your bike on a road for cars regardless of what the law says people should know better. I’ve almost been in a few accidents from people riding their bikes on busy, narrow roads. People should just have more sense than that we have so many bike trails in this area there’s no excuse for this besides stupidity. And whoever came up with this law is either an idiot or wanted to see if other people were dumb enough to actually ride their bikes where people are doing 50+ mph in their vehicles.

      • ariel

        Not saying that drivers in this area aren’t stupid and irresponsible too because they very much are, it’s just common sense should tell you not to ride your bike in the road it’s that simple and causing car accidents isn’t worth it just so some d-bag can ride his bike in everyone’s way when there are plenty of bike trails I just don’t feel sorry for them.

  • Revconguy

    David,
    I’m glad to hear the cyclist was properly attired and outfitted. While the proper preparedness won’t eliminate serious accidents like this, I would encourage all cyclists to ensure they are properly prepared especially if they ride at night. Hoping the cyclist has a speedy recovery.

  • Nuclear Mike

    The bicyclist(s) always lose when they go head-to-head with a real vehicle. Contributing to the accident via low visibility attire on a bicycle creates the possibility of lethality. No surprise here that the bicyclists were not acting safely for their own good.

    • J-man

      Nuclear Mike did you ignore everything you just read ???? The cyclist that was hit had six flashing lights and a yellow jersey….I’m having a hard time understanding how this would not be considered ” acting safely for their own good”.

  • Jewced

    The answer to this is simple. Get involved in local politics. Contribute to making the laws that are needed to solve the problem. Tax bikers so they can have their own independent roads by charging them for using it. This can be done by requiring every bike to have a license plate and working lights. If I drove a 4wheeler or dirt bike on the roads I would be arrested. But isn’t either closer to a car than a bicycle? How many people must be killed or injured before we make solutions instead of complaining about the problem? I applaud those who want to get exercise but there are safer ways to do it. This is a danger to drivers as much as it is to the cyclists.

    • Jewced

      I think the buffered lanes should be paid for by making cyclists buy the proper tags and/or licenses. Afterall, one must do these same things to drive a car on the road. The roads aren’t a public free service- they are paid for and maintained by tax dollars generated from fees and other taxes. If I’m not driving my car on the bicycle lanes- I shouldn’t be forced to pay for them. If the cyclists aren’t a minority, there should be no problem for them to fund. If they are the minority, it seems like a lot of risk and worry caused by a selfish individual who is more than willing to inconvenience everyone else for their sport.

  • James Linderholm

    Cannot believe some of the selfishness and ignorance I’m reading here. Cyclists have the same right as drivers in the road, and the same responsibilities. And almost without exception, cyclists have cars and pay for the roads too. Drivers need to slow down and pay attention. Please remember, all of you making excuses for this driver, to leave the scene of an accident says all you need to know about this driver.

  • John Tryon Hubbard Jr.

    Up above, ARIEL said “…People should just have more sense than that we have so many bike trails in this area there’s no excuse for this besides stupidity. …”
    Perhaps ARIEL would like to show us bicycle riders exactly where these “many bike trails” are located.
    There are TWO greenways, one down south along Aldridge Creek and one out in the Hays Nature Preserve. Each of these is about 5 miles long. There is ONE bike lane in the entire city, and it is on Meridian Street between Pratt Avenue and Oakwood Avenue. It goes from nowhere to nowhere and connects to no other bike lane or greenway.
    That’s it! Not “many” by my estimation. And, if you laid them end to end they would total about 1/3 of the distance I rode my bike today.

  • Reality Check

    Not to put blame anywhere, but to make a statement. Yes, bicycles are permitted to use the road, along with the other vehicles. But that does not give them the right to ride in the center of the lane or to ride side by side with another bicycle. You are not on a motorcycle. Get over to the side and ride the line so there is room for both the vehicle and the bicycle at the same time. I’ve seen to many cyclists out there pushing their right to ride and forcing other vehicles to cross the double line because the cyclist refuses to move over. When I was young, we would have to ride our bicycles on the shoulders made of loose gravel when cars came along. I dont think pulling over to the white line is to much to ask.

  • John Tryon Hubbard Jr.

    Actually, Alabama law allows two bicycles to ride side by side – but not more than two. It also requires the bicycle rider to ride “as far to the right in the lane as practicable” and the folks I ride with do try to get to the right whenever a car is overtaking. Normally we go from double to single file and over to the right. The word in the law is “practicable” and that does not mean the same thing as “possible.” It allows the bike rider to use some judgement as to exactly how far over he can get, which may include dodging potholes, etc. Cyclists who refuse to move over as far as practicable are bad drivers just as are car drivers who don’t exercise common courtesy on the road.
    There isn’t usually enough room in a lane for a car or truck to pass a bicycle safely without moving into the other lane at least part way. Many states require a passing vehicle to give a bicycle at least three feet of clearance.
    FYI, it is completely legal for a car to cross the double line to pass a bicycle (or any other slow-moving vehicle) so long as road conditions permit it to be done safely. When we are riding and a vehicle is forced to slow down behind us because of poor visibility on a double line around a curve or over a hill, we try to give them a wave-around as soon as we can see that it is safe for them to proceed.

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