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3.11.15

Student biker hit by car at crosswalk

Originally published by the Collegiate Times as Breaking News.
Not on assignment; spot reporting.
Published in print edition on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2015.

BLACKSBURG, Va.  The two-lane two-way crosswalk on Prices Fork Road between from the academic side of campus and The Edge apartments deals with heavy pedestrian and street traffic during rush hours and between classes. Photograph by Lauren Pak
A student driver hit a student biking across a crosswalk on Monday, Nov. 2, at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Prices Fork Road. The cyclist, Tyler Thompson, a junior computer science major, did not sustain serious injuries at the scene and declined medical attention.

Thompson was following pedestrians across the crosswalk from campus towards The Edge Apartment Homes when his bike was hit by a car in the right lane driving towards the intersection.

“I go this way every day; every single day,” Thompson said. “I ride bikes on the trails, on the road, and this is the first time I got hit. She totally didn’t see me at all.”

Thompson was thrown over the handlebars of the bike and landed on his shoulder but was unsure if he hit the car or the ground. Thompson estimated the incident will cost a total of $700 in replacements, $600 for the bike and $100 for the jacket.

“I wait every time until the light’s blinking, and they say to wait until the lights are blinking at the crosswalk, so I wait,” Thompson said. “I saw the first person stop, and it was like, ‘Well, the first person stopped, so surely the next person’s going to stop in the next lane, but I guess they didn’t see me or whatever, so I don’t know.”

BLACKSBURG, Va.  Tyler Thompson stands in front of his damaged bike in a parking lot where he and the driver pulled over to have a conversation. Photograph by Lauren Pak/Collegiate Times
Students had been walking in front of and behind Thompson when he was hit. He agreed that a pedestrian walking next to his bike would have likely been hit. Moving forward, Thompson does not plan to take extra caution.

“I’m really not hurt too bad,” Thompson said. “It really is supposed to be somewhere people can cross safely and not have to worry about getting hit. I wasn’t doing anything illegal, so I don’t see why I should change what I was doing in a safe place.”

This is the second recorded bike accident this year after the death of Mark Slough, fueling concern over safety. According to the Code of Virginia, bikers at crosswalks have the same rights and responsibilities as pedestrians. Virginia Tech Police encourages bikers to dismount at crosswalks. “Stuff happens, so I’m not going to get all mad at her or whatever,” Thompson said. “But stuff happens; it’s just like everyday life. It’s a Monday, right?”

The Virginia Tech student who was driving declined to comment at the scene, and Blacksburg Police was unavailable for comment.

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