Fatal Accident Raises Concern for Bike Safety in Columbia
Lane Phillips spent two weeks in a coma after being struck by a car while riding his bike
Outspoken Bicycles owner Brian Curran says you should always wear a helmet while riding
By: Ryan Brennan
The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating the death of a Sumter man who was struck while riding his bicycle in Sumter County Sunday.
Troopers say 30-year-old Jud Allen Harvin was hit by a pickup truck while attempting to cross US 15 from Secondary Road 404 at about 5:45 a.m.
This most recent accident involving a bicyclist has raised concerns about the safety of cyclists across the state. DHEC says SC has consistently ranked in the top 10 highest rate of bicycle deaths per capita in the US since 2000.
Lane Phillips knows the dangers of bicycling first hand. Several years ago, the West Columbia man was run off the road while riding his bike to work at Outspoken Bicycles on Devine Street. Phillips was in a coma for two weeks and spent six months in the hospital.
"Drivers in South Carolina, particularly the Columbia area," Phillips said, "will not respect anything that's not bigger than them."
Nothing reminds Phillips more of that fact than the deep scar that runs across the top of his head.
"I sorta think you should have to ride a bike for a year before you have a drivers license," Phillips said when asked how the city could be made more bike friendly.
Outspoken Bicycle owner Brian Curran says there are other ways to protect yourself.
"You should always wear a helmet," Curran said. "It's like a seatbelt. You don't need it until you need it, and then you really need it. The other thing we recommend is lights, both front and rear."
As a member of the Mayor's Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Curran says there are plans in place to make Columbia a safer place to bike. The biggest challenge right now, he says, is finding the money to put those plans in place.