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Car-bike collisions in NH are fewer but more deadly
-Brian Hanson of Manchester rides his bike down Mammoth Road in Manchester. Four times a week he rides 30 miles, he said. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
The drivers of cars and SUVs - and not the bicyclists - often are to blame for the collisions, police said.
"Oftentimes, the results are debilitating and sometimes tragic," he said.
Reported accidents, defined as those resulting in at least $1,000 in property damage and/or including a suspected or confirmed injury, have decreased by 26 this year, to 96. The number of injured in those crashes decreased by 31, to 83 this year through Tuesday.
Andrew Roper, a Manchester bicyclist who responded online, said he prefers riding on trails rather than the roads because he doesn't need to worry about a motorist "not paying attention."
"It's increased the past couple of years, especially with texting - texting while driving," Roper said in an interview.
"It's almost like a game of inches sometimes," he said.
"There's a lot of people riding bicycles on sidewalks," he said on Friday. "I don't know whether they don't feel safe on the road."
Manchester police recorded 22 reported accidents involving a bicycle and a motorist this year through Thursday, compared to 34 during the same period last year, according to Lt. Maureen Tessier.
Chief Kevin Walsh said he had witnessed a group of 12 to 15 riders, some three across the travel lane, racing on Ocean Boulevard on Aug. 21.
Walsh said he caught up with the group again about two miles later and talked with them, acknowledging "on both sides, tempers were pretty hot."
Last year, Rye voters passed a town ordinance requiring cyclists to ride single file on any of 45 miles of town roads or face a $62 fine. Under state law, bicyclists can ride two or more abreast, but they can't impede traffic, and they have to stay within a single lane.
Over the past five years, Walsh said, he's noticed more bicyclists, attributing that to more wanting to get exercise or simply enjoy themselves. He said most bicycle riders are responsible.
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