Fatal Hit-and-Run Accidents in Hampton Roads Leave Cyclists Dead
Cyclists are afforded little protection on the busy highways of Hampton Roads. In recent weeks, two riders have died in fatal hit-and-run accidents in Chesapeake and York County.
Craig Smith, a 46-year-old bicyclist from Chesapeake, was killed in the 2600 block of Campostella Road on Nov. 20. The driver who hit him left the scene, according to police.
Media reports suggested Mr. Smith was walking his bicycle at the time of the fatal crash. He was found at the side of the road at 12.36 a.m. and pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said a 50-year-old man from Chesapeake turned himself in the next day. He was charged with felony hit and run and is currently being held in the Chesapeake City Jail. Police said more charges may be pending.
Fatal hit-and-run accidents in Hampton Roads are always a major concern to our Norfolk-based accident injury lawyers.
Often drivers fail to see both cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists. There is never any excuse to leave the scene of an accident.
Last month, a well-known bicyclist lost his life in York County. A driver was later arrested and charged with hit-and-run over the incident.
Brian Leonard Utne, 50, was taken to Riverside Regional Hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Utne loved riding and inspired other cyclists. According to media reports, he was out on his bike in all weathers. A driver hit the bicyclist on Lakeside Drive at Yorkville Road. The driver then fled the scene, according to state police.
Peninsula Bicycling Association President Tregg Hartley said Utne was selfless and always helping younger riders excel at cycling.
Even in the rain, friends started putting together a small memorial at the place where Utne was hit. Friends are hoping to get the approval for a Ghost Bike Memorial on Lakeside Drive. A memorial ride was held in his honor on Nov. 3.
In November, the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office announced police arrested a 25-year-old man and charged him with involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident.
Fatal Hit-and-Run Accidents in Hampton Roads – Cyclists are Vulnerable
Bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road as other vehicles. They should ride in the direction of traffic and use lights at night and hand signals. Sadly, many of the highways of Hampton Roads are unfriendly to riders. Although drivers are required by law to give space to cyclists, they often fail to do so.
Last year, 13 cyclists lost their lives on the roads of Virginia and 622 were injured, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
Although the number of cycling deaths in Hampton Roads is a fraction of the number of motorcycling deaths, cities like Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach are difficult and dangerous places for bicyclists.
Many Hampton Roads cities lack dedicated cycling paths and drivers are ill prepared to share the roads with riders.
If you have lost a loved one in a cycling accident or been injured please contact our Chesapeake cycling accident lawyers today for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077.