A cyclist in Huntsville was inches away from dying when a car passed them too close. A video from the bike shows a car zipping past the biker. Right now, Huntsville Police are investigating the incident. The city told WAAY 31 they are taking steps to help make streets safer for cyclist.
The cyclists WAAY 31 spoke with told us if you hop on a bike and go for a ride there is a good chance you will experience a car passing too close, which creates the possibility of getting hurt.
Morgan Andriulli has been biking for over twenty years, but he's never experienced anything like this before, "I didn't hear him coming, I did'nt hear a thing. I just felt a womp," said Andriulli.
Andriulli is a mechanical engineer. He did the math and belives the car was going roughly 100 miles per hour, "had he hit me he would have sprayed me into limestone county. There would have been nothing left," said Andriulli.
Huntsville Police are investigating and can't say for sure exactly how fast the car was going, but it was an unsafe pass at an unsafe speed. It's difficult for them to charge the driver with anything because they can't prove exactly who was driving, which is a common problem with cases like this.
That's why they like the idea of cyclists recording their rides and uploading it to an online portal for police to comb through and identify repeat offenders. If police had that, "guess what we're going to do. We're going to go out to that roadway and catch this driver and use traffic code to stop them, get them sighted," said Lt. Johnson with the Huntsville Police Department.
The City of Huntsville told WAAY 31 they have thought about having an online portal, but right now they are focused on creating more bike lanes.
Andriulli said if drivers are punished more it will increase safety for bikers, "we're looking now to see a higher enforcement rate to get into peoples minds that they should drive more carefully on the streets. Especially when cyclists are out there. We have every right to the road that they do," said Andriulli.
Huntville Police told WAAY 31 bikes have the same rights as every other car, so if you see a bike riding in the middle of the lane they aren't doing anything wrong.
The rocket city is taking steps to make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Last year the city received a Smart Growth America grant for the Safe Street project. Huntsville was one of 3 cities awarded. In the program, Huntsville works with representatives from other cities to learn different ways to make roads safer for people who like to walk, bike, or who use motorized chairs to get around.
The city has taken what they've learned and put it into action. City officials are looking at certain streets that would be good candidates for improvements to add more pedestrian-friendly components. One of the first pieces for their Complete Streets project was to create a bike-only lane on Spragins Street. Future plans are in the works for Oakwood Avenue and the 5-Points district.
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