MASON CITY, Iowa – The number of deaths related to bicyclist crashes in Iowa in 2016 is the highest it’s been in more than a decade.
According to the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, 11 bicyclists died in crashes in 2016. In five of the fatal crashes, motor vehicles hit the bicyclists from behind, failing to safely pass the cyclists.
Wayne’s Ski & Cycle owner Matt Curtis said bicyclists and people driving a vehicle need to be aware of their surroundings and follow traffic laws. He said bicyclists should make sure they’re riding with traffic.
“I see people a lot riding against traffic and that’s a very bad idea,” said Curtis. “Driving with traffic actually safer, (and) using hand signals when we turn.”
Curtis recommended using a bike light during the day and night.
“Cycling lights have always used just at night, but we have very bright lights that are designed to be used during the day, and and without a question, people give you more room and more respectful,” said Curtis.
Keegan Rocha Of Mason City said he rides his bicycle up to five days a week.
“I try and use it (bicycle) to be more fuel efficient and to get some exercise to and from work, so I try to use it as an alternative for transportation.”
Rocha said he makes sure to wear a helmet when rides his bicycle in case of an accident.
“Your head is the most important part your body, so protect that and always have a helmet,” said Rocha.
Rocha said he prefers to take alternative roads that are less busy whenever it’s possible, but no matter what road you take, he said it’s important to pay attention.
The Iowa Bicycle Coalition supported a bill last year that would require motorists to make a complete lane change to pass cyclists. The bill passed in the Iowa Senate but died in the Iowa House.