Biking is a great way to get around whether you’re heading to work or simply looking to get out of the house for a bit. Biking can save you money on expenses like gas, parking, and car maintenance. It can help you get in shape and improve your endurance. In addition, biking allows you to really explore and get to know the area you’re living or working in. If you’re healthy adult and the weather is cooperating, there really are many, many reasons to reach for the bike helmet instead of the car keys. However, unfortunately, biking can present some dangers. Jeff Dusenbury’s story demonstrates those dangers all too well.
Jeff Dusenbury was a 51-year-old experienced bicyclist who could frequently be found pedaling his way all around Anchorage (Boots, 2014). Unfortunately, one Saturday, he fell victim to one of the biggest dangers facing bike riders: cars. Dusenbury was riding on a residential street in South Anchorage on a Saturday morning when he was struck by a pickup truck (Boots, 2014). The incident was fatal. The driver of the pickup truck was a 17-year-old girl who backed into Dusenbury while trying to turn around and then proceeded to flee the scene of the accident (Boots, 2014). The driver was later identified and apprehended; charges are pending.
In the meantime, Jeff Dusenbury’s wife and only daughter as well as his wide circle of friends are left mourning and looking for answers. In fact, it seems the whole community is seeking some form of closure. Recently, over 100 people showed up for an impromptu memorial for Dunsenbury at the spot where he was killed (Boots, 2014).
While, as far as we know, Dusenbury didn’t break any traffic laws or do anything that contributed to the fatal hit-and-run, it is important that all bicyclists be as safety conscious as possible to prevent further such tragedies. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind the next time you find yourself contemplating a bike ride:
- Make yourself as visible as possible. Wear bright colored clothing, get a headlight for your bike, and if you think a driver doesn’t see you, try waving your arm to get his or her attention.
- Don’t ride against traffic.
- Be aware of a car’s blind spots. Whenever you are near vehicles try to determine if the driver can and has seen you.
- Avoid busy streets whenever possible. On busy streets drivers have more to pay attention to and therefore there is a greater chance they will not see a bike.
- Always be extra cautious when passing a car. Look behind you before pulling out into another lane.
- Always wear safety equipment (ex. a helmet).
Following these bicycle safety tips plus others may not save your life…on the other hand, they just might.