Cheyenne Cycling Tragedy Points Out Need for Improved Cycling Safety Awareness

While bicycling is a fun and healthy activity, its not without risks. As summer weather finally arrives in Wyoming and many of us are getting out to enjoy a bike ride, a recent fatal crash in Cheyenne  reminds us of the importance to ride with care.

Details are still being gathered in this case, where the bicyclist was struck by a car while crossing US 30 near Polk Ave. Officials are seeking anyone with information to contact the Sheriff’s office at 307-633-4737.

Let’s make this the last bicycle fatality in Wyoming. With proper preparation and following these simple rules of the road, you can enjoy a much safer ride on our city streets and along our beautiful rural roads.

Shared Road Logo Final copy-smallRules of the Road
And then, remember some basic rules of the road. The following was gleaned from the League of American Bicyclists website.

As you prepare to venture out on your bicycle, take a moment to ensure that your transport is in good mechanical order and ready to go.

• Check your tires for sufficient air.
• Make sure your brakes are properly working and that your chain is smoothly running to eliminate surprises once you embark.
• Be sure your wheel levers are closed and wheels are firmly attached.
• Carry and periodically inspect your emergency supplies, such as a spare tube, basic tools and a patch kit, and first aid items for longer tours.
• Wear a helmet along with sun glasses and comfortable clothing for cycling.
• Plan your route. When possible, use pathways and lower traffic roads or roads with bike lanes.
Follow traffic laws. Bicycles are considered vehicles that must follow the same laws as motor vehicles. This means properly signaling for turns and obeying all traffic signals and signs. Sidewalks and crosswalks are for pedestrians, not bikes.
Ride with traffic. Ride as far to the right as practicable. Motor vehicles are required to give you a 3′ minimum safe distance when passing. They must give you the right of way when they are crossing in from of you, or pulling out of a side street. However, even if you have the right, it is unwise to challenge a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds more than you.
Be predictable to be safe. Maintain a steady, straight line while riding. Check behind you before turning or changing lanes. If you are riding along a road with a right-turn lane when you want to go straight, carefully move left of the turning lane before the intersection. Scan behind and ahead in intersections.
Be conspicuous. Be as visible as possible, riding where drivers can see you. Wear bright clothing. Use lights at night or during poor visibility. Make eye contact with drivers.
Think ahead. Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians and other bicyclists will do next. Always watch for turning vehicles and avoid riding too close to parked vehicles to avoid hitting an opening door. Yield to pedestrians and alert them to your approach by calling to them or ringing a bell. Keep alert for any debris, potholes or railroad tracks that may be in your path.
Keep your cool. Sometimes drivers won’t see you and inadvertently cut you off or drive too close. Road rage will solve nothing and most drivers don’t appreciate a lecture. Let it go.

Sign with 3 foot Distance to Cars-smallWith the ongoing development of urban pathways, roads with bike lanes and highways with wider shoulders, cyclists in Wyoming are beginning to see better options for safer cycling. Along with that, Wyoming’s legislature has been passing more cycling friendly laws, such as the 3 foot safe passing law and a new law that creates a Wyoming Bicycle and Pedestrian System Task Force. This shows an increased awareness by government of the importance of cycling as both a recreational activity and as an alternative mode of travel, and of the necessity of improving bicycle and pedestrian safety on Wyoming roads.

Wyoming Pathways will continue to support this type of safety progress and will work to bring about an improved holistic environment for people-powered movement that includes complimentary infrastructure, education and legislation.