A well-known advocate for bicyclists and pedestrians on the peninsula was in critical condition Thursday at Medical University Hospital after his bike collided with a vehicle on Montagu Street Wednesday.
Edwin Gardner of Charleston was dragged about 15 feet after his bicycle was struck by a Jeep Cherokee and became lodged beneath it at 7:53 a.m. Wednesday, according to a Charleston police incident report.
Gardner is on the transportation subcommittee of the 28-member Downtown Task Force that is charged with coming up with a vision for the city.
Tom Bradford, president of Charleston Moves, a local advocacy group for bicyclists and other modes of alternative transportation, said Gardner rides his bike just about everywhere on the peninsula because he enjoys it and considers it a practical and efficient mode of transportation.
"He's really quite passionate about the role of biking and walking in Charleston," Bradford said.
The incident report said that Gardner contributed to the crash and that the 21-year-old driver of the Jeep did not. No charges will be filed, according to Charles Francis, public information officer.
But Peter Wilborn, a friend of Gardner and a Charleston lawyer who trains police officers on how to investigate and report cycling accidents, said Gardner doesn't appear to be at fault.
"In my experience training police officers, a common theme I talk about time after time is 'Don't fill out an accident report until you've spoken to the cyclist.' Yet here it goes again. We have a determination of fault and we haven't even given the guy a chance to wake up from a coma," he said.
Gardner was riding his bike south on Lockwood Boulevard in front of the Jeep when they both turned onto Montagu Street. Gardner rode to the far right of Montagu. As he did, the Jeep attempted to go around him by moving toward the center line of the street, some 6 to 8 feet from the right side of the road, according to the report.
Gardner rode back into the lane of travel, striking the Jeep in the front passenger side, the report states. He had a severe cut to his body as well as major road rash.
Wilborn said Gardner had a right to be in a lane of traffic and that any motorist following him is supposed to keep a safe distance. "The other question is upon collision, what happened next? There are tons of questions here," he said.
Friends said Gardner has been unconscious since the crash occurred.
Francis said traffic officers investigated the scene and talked to at least one witness to the crash who was not involved. Gardner was not charged because the driver of the Jeep did not want to prosecute, Francis said.