Accident reminds of need for bicycle safety

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The bicycle accident Thursday in Myrtle Beach that killed Anastasi Teslia, 18, of Ukraine serves a reminder for cyclists and drivers to be careful on the road.

According to Cpt. David Knipes with Myrtle Beach Police, Teslia was on a bicycle with another person on Kings Highway when a van struck the bicycle. The van was making a left turn on a green light, and the driver was not charged with a traffic violation or crime.

"It's scary because it's going to continue to grow. The sport is going to continue to grow in this area," commented Grand Strand Bicycles owner Tim Woolford. "The way gas prices are now there's going to be more and more people riding bicycles."

Woolford hopes as more people take to the streets on bicycles there are not more accidents like the one that killed Teslia.

Myrtle Beach spokesperson Mark Kruea said the city is making it a priority to build bike lanes as one way to improve safety.

"Whenever we build a new road or retrofit a new road we're putting bike lanes in or multipurpose paths in to allow for that sort of multi-modal transportation," Kruea said.

While bike lanes do improve safety, if there is no bike lane the place for cyclists is on the road with cars, following the same laws. However, in some places of Myrtle Beach where there is now bike lane there is another option. The city has widened some sidewalks to create multi-use paths.

"To allow for all sorts of transportation needs, whether you're bicycling, roller blading, walking, pushing a stroller, jogging - that sort of thing," Kruea explained.

Woolford said in light of that accident he feels more motivated to reach out to the community and teach cycling tips. He would like to go to schools, homeless shelters, and hotels and small businesses where people ride their bikes to work.

"One of my thoughts is to take the rules of the road for bicyclists down to them," Woolford said. "That's a good way for us to reach people who don't come into a bicycle shop or read the paper or watch TV. It's a good way that we can educate people."

Woolford said he would like to include foreign workers in his efforts. He said he would like to help them get more familiar with cycling laws and best practices.

The city of Myrtle Beach already has informational bicycling brochures in English, Spanish, Russian and Dutch. A map of the city's bike lanes and paths is also available online.

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