Recent Deaths Prompt Cycling Tips
With warmer weather finally emerging in Wyoming, more people are beginning to get their bicycles out of storage and take them for summer rides. With the increase in the number of bikes on Wyoming’s roadways, the state has seen two serious bicycle-vehicle collisions in the last week resulting in two deaths and one critical injury for cyclists.
Major Perry Jones, spokesman for Wyoming Highway Patrol, says it is important that both motorists and bicyclists take actions to prevent such accidents from occurring.
Jones says for cyclists it is important to remember that they must obey all the rules of the roads required of motor vehicles. Things like obeying speed limits, stopping at stop lights and stop signs, not drinking and cycling and not texting are not only the law, but can help keep people safe while riding their bikes.
It is also important for people on bicycles to remember that basic safety protocol should be observed, adds Jones. He says people should wear helmets whenever possible and dawn brightly colored clothing. For night time riding, he says it is important that cyclists get headlight and taillights and wear reflective clothing. He adds that a cyclist with reflective clothing is often easier to see at night that someone would be during the day.
While riding on sidewalks is not permitted, bicyclists are encouraged to use bike paths and emergency lanes as much as possible. This helps keep people away from heavy traffic and ultimately keeps them safer.
Jones points out that both recent fatal accidents were the result of an impaired driver. For cyclists, this serves as a reminder that they need to be extra careful while on Wyoming roadways.
"There are impaired drivers on our highways and streets 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You never know when the car coming up behind you or towards you is being driven by an impaired driver,” Jones said. “We encourage people to ride their bikes like every car around them has a drunk driver in it.”
For motorists, Jones says the most important thing to remember is to pay attention. He says that simple things like changing the radio station, looking down, or checking your reflection in the mirror could cost innocent lives.
Jones reminds both motorists and cyclists that the best way to prevent accidents is to pay attention to the roads and surroundings. If everyone follows traffic laws and stays focused on their driving, we can prevent more fatalities in the future.