‘We need a conversation’: Market Common community share concerns weeks after bicyclist hit, killed

Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 8:45 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Neighbors in the Market Common are concerned after a distracted driver hit and killed a bicyclist earlier this month.

The victim was identified as Gail Rapp. With the community shaken even weeks after the crash, one resident said it’s all hitting close to home.

“55, 45 minimum, you see somebody going 35, you think they’re breaking down, and that’s what we have,” said Market Common resident, Shawn Watson. “We need a conversation, too many people get hit.”

Watson is an avid bicyclist and is shaken up after this recent tragedy as he said he’s been hit on his bike three times.

“A right hook is one of them,” said Watson. “That’s when a car turns right into a parking lot and doesn’t look first and I was in my bike lane, hit, went right over the hood.”

According to the Myrtle Beach Police Department, Gail Rapp was riding her bicycle along Coventry Boulevard when a distracted driver hit Rapp as the car was making a left turn onto Thornbury Drive.

Rapp was taken to the hospital where she later died from several traumatic injuries.

The Myrtle Beach Police Department Shared this statement with WMBF News:

“Roadway safety is a priority for our department, and our traffic unit proactively addresses areas of the city where we have complaints or see issues. As a data-driven agency, we also collect data to utilize our resources better and provide the best service to our community. From our data, our city’s leading causes of crashes are distracted driving and failure to yield right of way. Traffic safety is a shared responsibility and a partnership between roadway users. We all have to look out for each other, obey the law, slow down and keep our attention focused on the road. Together we can make the roadways in our community safer for everyone.”

The Department also said within the last year, there have been over 300 traffic stops on Coventry Boulevard alone, and residents said factors of both speeding and distractions go hand in hand.

“We’re not aware and we’re distracted that a pedestrian can be stepping off into the crosswalk or a cyclist and that is part of that responsibility of both parties to be aware of what’s going on around,” said Waston. “We’re on the phone, they get oblivious, and we’ve got to work together as a community.”

As for Watson, he said his heart goes out to both families and hopes with community effort a resolution will prevent more accidents in the future.

“It’s on everybody’s heart. I feel bad for the family of the cyclist and of the motorist,” he said. “You have to think, for the rest of their life, they live with the fact that someone died at their hand, purposeful or not it’s going to weigh heavy on you. It affects everybody, it touches everybody, and it just should be a moment where we all kind of come together and say, ‘this is important to everybody, lives are important’ and we should look to how we can resolve it.”

The involved driver was cited for failure to yield right of way on a left turn.

The Myrtle Beach Police Department reminds the community and drivers to be mindful of others.