Earlier this month the seventh person to be killed while riding their bike was hit and killed by a person driving. It was the third in an unfortunate rash of cyclist fatalities this October.
Information is limited in the crash, it was not covered by local news outlets. It is unfortunate that tragedies such as these are often not paid close enough attention to. Information provided by the Milwaukee Police Department explains the cyclist was riding their recumbent bike when a driver struck their rear tire. The person riding their bike was in the 9100 block of W. Appleton Avenue when they were struck.
The cyclist appeared fine at first, but died two days later from the injuries they sustained during the crash. The driver remained on scene and worked with officers, the DA doesn’t expect to file criminal charges in the case.
This is sadly a second example from October, which shows us how vulnerable the young and elderly are on our roads and why it is important that we watch out for all road users. Remember that driving slow, paying attention and giving cyclists space can save a life. There is a growing international movement for 8-80 cities, the idea that if everything in our cities is great for an 8 year old and an 80 year old, then it will be great for all people. This is especially true and so needed in street design. Biking is a safe form of travel and recreation for old and young and with better designs and driver behavior we can keep our oldest and youngest bicyclists safe and avoid deaths like these.
This is an issue that affects all of those who bike in our communities throughout the state. When you get into the car, make sure you are well rested, sober and store all electronic devices; be ready to give your full attention to the task of driving and look for other people on and along the roadway to help further reduce these numbers.
The ultimate goal of the Wisconsin Bike Federation and Share & Be Aware is to end fatalities on our roads. In an ideal world we wouldn’t have to worry about any road users dying while recreating or traveling. We are working towards this goal by offering classes and information throughout the state through our Share & Be Aware ambassadors. They can come to schools, universities, police stations, driver’s education classes and events. The classes and information are always free.
People driving can make efforts by taking care when driving on any of our roads in Wisconsin, and by actively looking for people biking and giving them at least three feet of space whenever passing them. In turn, people biking should ride in the same direction as traffic while using hand signals to broadcast movements and can make other efforts like using lights and wearing visible clothing. The Wisconsin Bike Federation also recommends the use of helmets.
Those who are interested in learning from or working with an ambassador can reach out to the program at ShareAndBeAware.org for safety tips and free classes. Ambassadors are spread throughout the state and are often willing to do some traveling.
As a citizen of the area you can help by understanding the laws and lead by example by following the speed limit and giving space to those cycling on our roads. In Wisconsin a driver is required to give cyclists at least three feet of space when passing. You can also write, call or speak with your local elected officials to support funding for cycling safety improvements. With your help we can protect daughters, brothers, mothers, fathers and everyone else.