Source: NorthFulton.com

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Reality Bikes owner, cyclist hit by truck

by Carolyn Aspenson

November 26, 2013

Todd Muller at a road race in Sandy Springs earlier this year.
CUMMING, Ga. — The owner of Reality Bikes, Todd Muller, 40, collided with a pick-up truck at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the intersection of Jot Em Down Road and Ga. 400.

Muller was traveling east on Jot Em Down Rd, crossing Ga. 400 on a green light, according to police. William Northtutt, 69, of Ball Ground turned in front of him.

Muller collided with the front of Northtutt's pick-up truck, sheering his bicycle in half.

This is the cyclist's third accident in 15 years.

Deputy Doug Rainwater of the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office said accidents involving bicycles are treated the same as automobile accidents and that Northtutt was cited with failure to yield.

"The bicycle is a vehicle and both cyclists and drivers of vehicles sharing the road must treat them as such," he said.

Unconscious at the scene, Muller was transported to North Fulton Regional Hospital where he underwent surgery for an injured shoulder on Thursday, Nov. 21.

He also suffered a broken fibula and two broken ribs.

Mike Dugan, friend and co-worker of Muller, said the shop has been flooded with calls about the accident.

"The outpouring of support has been amazing," Dugan said. "Todd is well-known in the community and in the cycling world, and I know he's appreciative of the support."

Dugan said cyclists know drivers complain about them, but the laws are clear.

"Bicycles are vehicles, whether used for transportation or sport," Dugan said. "If drivers don't like the law, then they should work to change it.

"He's a bit down now," Dugan said, "but he knows it was an accident, and I'm sure he'll get back on his bike again when he's recovered."

Your Facebook comments:

We posted this story on our Facebook page before it printed. Here's an excerpt of what readers said.

Shawna Hilliard: I said I was sorry this happened. So there's my sympathy. I think bicycles should ride at the park, in subdivisions, at the Greenway, no business being on Ga. 400, or crossing 400! That's crazy! If they want to drive where cars do, they need tags, insurance, lights and whatever else makes cars "street legal."

Laura Bluestar: I would not ride my bike on those roads...too dangerous. You never assume drivers see you...and just take your life in your hands. Stick to the Greenway or somewhere safer. On the other side, as a driver, passing a biker is also a hazard… especially if it is over a hill, around a curve...by nature people go around...at times too far.

Chris Constantin: If one more person from Forsyth County makes the unbelievably ignorant comment that "the roads are too dangerous," I'm going to scream. That is the point here, the "road" as it is, isn't inherently "dangerous." The vehicular traffic is. The traffic is "dangerous" due 100 percent to the entitled attitude of the pilot of said vehicle. The road belongs to EVERYONE, motorists and cyclists and farm equipment and pedestrians alike… If you are behind the wheel of a car, remember this: your car is not your mobile office, your car is not your makeup room, your car is not the place that your dog should be sitting in your lap, your car is not your concert hall or anything of the like.

Shawna Hilliard: Sorry this happened :( This is why I don't think bicycles should be allowed on roads where people drive with cars. Too dangerous!

Paul Britt: We have the same rights as any other vehicle. Todd has a wife and an almost 5-year-old son. We are people.

Lisa Reinagel Fischer: Every time you control an automobile, you could kill someone's girlfriend, husband, kid or grandpa REGARDLESS if they are walking or on a motorcycle or a bicycle! Todd wears a fluorescent yellow vest ALL the time (including Tuesday). Pay attention to your surroundings and see the value in a human life other than your own.

Ellen Pratt Brown: SHARE THE ROAD! Wishing Todd a speedy recovery!

Jeff Abernathy: For all those complaining and whining about having a bicycle "in their way" as they drive, I think you are missing the point here. So, coming from someone who has been hit twice in just over two years, let me state what is really the point: Our friend Todd is in the hospital with broken bones and needing metal attached to his body because someone driving a car did not see him. If he (Todd) was driving a car (or motorcycle) at the same intersection and the same type of accident happened, would you still think he shouldn't be on the road?

Keith McGee: And the bicyclist versus motorist fight continues. Bicyclists and motorists have the same rights on the roads. We all need to pay more attention to everyone on the roadways. It shouldn't be an us versus them battle – just pay attention to everything and everyone on the roads.

Maya Mansukhani: An extra note not included in this article is that Todd is always respectful of traffic laws. He would have been on the outside of the white line as far over in the shoulder and he was wearing "safety" yellow. He wears a bright high-visible vest because he wants to make sure people see him. This driver who "didn't see him" shouldn't be driving at all if you can't see a bright yellow vest. Clearly he is blind.