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Cyclists React to Recent Hit-Skip Injury

COLUMBUS (Lu Ann Stoia) According to police, more charges are expected against a man accused of hitting a Clintonville cyclist with a car. 

Andred Inglis, 30, is expected in Franklin County Municipal Court Wednesday, where he faces one count of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, failure to stop after an accident, and failure to keep an assured clear distance. 

Steve Wartenberg, 55, was riding his bike Sunday when he was hit on McCoy Road in Upper Arlington. Police said Inglis drove away from the scene but witnesses followed him and asked Inglis to return to the crash scene.  Wartenberg is a Columbus Dispatch reporter and an avid cyclist and blogger.

The cycling community is reacting to the increasing number of hit-skip accidents in Central Ohio in recent months.

For example, Brad Young, a father of five children, was hit on Dublin Road in Norwich Township.  Young suffered a severe head injury and a dislocated shoulder. 

Bob Lennon, a St. Francis DeSales High School teacher, was hit struck while riding his bike on a Delaware County rural road on September 15.  So far no charges have been brought in the case.

The Ohio Highway Patrol reported 27 percent of car-bike accidents are hit-skips. 

Since January 2012, only nine suspects have been charged in the 96 hit-skip cycling accidents reported in Franklin County.

Cycling advocate and Bike Source manager Andrew Jenkins said Wartenbergs accident was a familiar story. 

It really seems like these are happening too often, said Jenkins, who knew Wartenberg personally. This one in particular hit home.

Another cyclist, Bryan Dubuc, pondered the source of these problems. 

I dont know if it is a lack of respect for cycling on the road, or just ignorance of the law, he said.

Ron Burham, with Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, said he hopes for a heightened sense of safety in light of the recent statistics.

Burham said he has been injured twice by hit-and-run drivers.

You never see it coming.  There have been 18 cyclist deaths in Ohio alone, with over 1,500 crashes, he said. How many deaths do you have to have?

Wartenbergs wife Susan Cunningham issued a statement urging cyclists to keep riding. 

Cyclists belong on Ohio roads, Cunningham said. They have the right to ride on safe and respectful roadways, and they have the right to expect that dangerous motorists will be held accountable for their reckless actions.

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