The cyclist killed after colliding with a tractor-trailer in NoDa was a homeless man who often rode his bike around Charlotte, according to family.
Woodrow Franklin Jr., 47, was wearing a large, reflective jacket when he was struck and trapped beneath a Freightliner truck on Jordan place near North Davidson Street just before 10 a.m. Monday, Franklins brother said.
My brother was that type of person he was a very safety-conscious guy, Jerry Franklin said.
As Charlotte-Mecklenburg police continue to investigate what caused Franklin to veer in front of the tractor-trailer, family members wonder whether the roads speed limit or design contributed to his death.
He would not have turned unless he thought it was safe to cross, Jerry Franklin said. I understand it was an accident and we will not blame the gentleman who hit him.
Sgt. David Sloan of the CMPD Major Crash Unit said there are no bike lanes along the part of the road where the wreck occurred. The speed limit is 35 mph.
Its not the safest road for someone to be biking on, Sloan said. The lanes are not real wide, and its real curvy at the one section.
Despite city efforts to make roads safer, the number of injuries and vehicle crashes involving cyclists and pedestrians increased last year, city and state transportation data showed.
Deaths decline slightly. Twenty-two pedestrians and cyclists died in 2012, compared with 24 in 2011. But that is nearly three times more than in 1997, the earliest year for which data was available.
Sloan said Franklin was not under the influence of alcohol. Neither police nor family members know where Franklin was headed when the wreck happened.
Franklin moved to Charlotte from his family home of Orangeburg, S.C. a year ago to try to find a job, his brother said. Although he found some temporary work for a while, he was unemployed at the time of his death.
Jerry Franklin said he knew his brother had stayed at a homeless shelter in Charlotte. More recently, he had lived in a pay-by-the week motel but family members didnt know which one.
They remember Franklin as a loving man who tried to provide for his three children even when he didnt have a lot himself.
When he could, Franklin mailed $10, $20 or $50 bills to his daughter and sons, Jerry Franklin said.
He said Franklins pelvis was crushed in the crash. But his brother retained consciousness long enough to tell police his last name so they could get in contact with his five siblings in Orangeburg.
They were with him in the hospital when he died, Jerry Franklin said.
We ushered him into the kingdom of heaven, he said. Youre talking about the most hurtful thing in my life Ive ever experienced.