Even though Wichita Falls hosts the Hotter’N Hell Hundred bicycle race each year, the city is actually working to become more bicycle friendly for year-round cyclists. Officials with the City of Wichita Falls are in the process of applying to become a designated bicycle-friendly city. According to KFDX News Channel Three, in order to become a designated bicycle-friendly city, officials need to show that the city is actively encouraging cycling.
Currently, the city is working on a variety of projects to encourage biking, including shared lane projects and various events for bicycle-awareness month. Plans are in the works for bicycle safety classes at schools and publicized bicycle-to-work days. Cyclist safety is considered a top priority, so Traffic Superintendent Mark Beauchamp, wants cyclists and drivers to attend the upcoming training opportunities. Training courses and events will include information on proper use of roadways and etiquette for cyclists and drivers.
Cyclist Crashes by the Numbers
- In 2011, 677 cyclists were killed in traffic crashes representing a nine percent increase from 2010.
- 48,000 cyclists were injured in crashes in 2011.
- Cyclist deaths accounted for two percent of all traffic crash fatalities in 2011.
- Most cyclist fatalities occur between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Addressing the Safety Concerns of Cyclists
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers cyclists a variety of tips to increase their level of personal safety while riding on shared roadways. Listed below are just a few tips that can help cyclists safely navigate roadways.
- Wear a helmet.
- Before hitting the road, check your equipment.
- Increase visibility with bright clothing, reflectors and flashing lights for your bike.
- Be predictable, and stay alert.
- Obey all traffic laws and always look before turning.
- When available, use designated bicycle lanes and paths.
Share the Road
It doesn’t make a difference how safety conscious a cyclist is, if drivers are distracted, impaired or disobeying traffic signs and signals. Bicyclists are truly at the mercy of the drivers they share the road with. Drivers need to be on the lookout for cyclists and share the road. Like pedestrians and motorcycle riders, cyclists aren’t in large, highly-visible, safety-rated automobiles. A collision with a cyclist, even at relatively low speeds, can cause devastating and fatal injuries. Be on the lookout for cyclists. They don’t have airbags and seat belts. Sharing the road helps to keep everybody safe.