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Mississippi Shop Owner's Condition Improving

Published July 14, 2011

STARKVILLE, MS (BRAIN)—Much has transpired since Jan Morgan, co-owner of Boardtown Bikes, was biking on Mississippi’s Highway 50 when a car struck her from behind, carrying her 200 yards on the car's hood before stopping.

The most important thing is that Jan’s condition is improving, according to her husband and co-owner David Morgan. “She still has a way to go but things are looking brighter,” David told Bicycle Retailer and Industry News yesterday.

Click on above link to find out more details on Jan’s progress through a blog site David has set up.

What upset David and most cyclists in Mississippi the most is that the driver can only be charged with a misdemeanor. It can't be a felony, according to the district attorney because, “the motorist didn’t leave the scene, wasn’t impaired, and didn’t intentionally or negligently hit Morgan.”

Mississippi did win a major battle when the John Paul Frerer Bicycle Safety Act, requiring at least 3 feet when passing a cyclist on the road, was passed. The law officially took effect on July 1.

While this is a step in the right direction, David feels like steeper charges need to exist in collisions involving cyclists.

“My wife and anyone else is much more valuable than road kill,” David said in one of his latest blog posts. “We unfortunately have to convince our lawmakers of this. I cannot prove this was cell phone related but something surely had the woman that did this distracted, and she was on a cell phone when she got out of the car (and back in it?)”

Bike Walk Mississippi is proactively trying to better protect cyclists on the state’s roadways. For one thing, the organization is drafting a letter to the district attorney, urging him to better enforce “the laws of due care and asking him to prosecute based on laws that go beyond the 3 feet law.”

“Bike Walk Mississippi has a lot of things in the works that will benefit us all,” David said.

—Jason Norman
jnorman@bicycleretailer.com

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