WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — On Monday morning, Jamey Thornton, 42, was hit and killed after the driver of a dump truck side-swiped his bicycle.
The father of two sons was on his way to work on a recycling facility on the end of Southdale Avenue and was a mile from work.
Friends of Thornton tell FOX8 that he loved to ride his bike. Every day that he had to work, he would make the nine-mile bike ride from his home to work.
“I saw him so frequently, I know he was probably a very good employee,” Bill Mayer said.
Mayer explained how he would see Thornton ride on the side of the road down Southdale Avenue. For him, he has always viewed Southdale Avenue as being one of the most dangerous roads in the city for cyclists and pedestrians.
He said that’s because of the constant 18-wheelers, dump trucks and heavy equipment vehicles that roar down the small two-lane neighborhood street.
“There are 400 more a day. Probably even more than 400,” he said.
In July 2019, the City of Winston-Salem produced a 202-page report that details a very comprehensive master plan to make roads, like Southdale Avenue, more safe for people; that includes cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.
It includes the addition of more than 414 miles of pavement for cyclists and pedestrians throughout the city. Much of which includes major portions of the route Thornton rode to work every morning.
“There’s only so much the city can do over certain areas … you can’t create a cycling lane in every road in the state,” Doug Meis, a cyclist who was also side-swiped in 2018, said about the proposal.
Meis is in favor of the routes and said that he feels the city is taking every step possible to protect cyclists and pedestrians. However, he stressed that the responsibility will rely on the people who are on the road.
“You have to remember, these are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters … If you think about people that way, then you take a few seconds to be careful and not kill someone,” he said.