Crash course in bike safety - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Crash course in bike safety

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March 13, 2003

ALBANY -- A busy Albany intersection, an ambulance, and a case of bicycle meets car. It happens more often than you might think, just ask Cleo Spence.

"He just ran a stop sign and hit me," Spence said. He is lucky to be able to tell his story, his bike didn't make it, but he walked away with just a few scrapes and bruises, " I got a scar on my elbow," he said.

Spence is like Paul Ingram and many other South Georgians, they ride their bikes not just for fun, but as their only means of transportation.

"It helps me get the places I got to go," Ingram said. That means they spend a lot of time on the road dodging traffic. They hope you are looking out for them, but say few drivers are.

"In Albany drivers don't have no respect for bicycles." "You have to look out for folks who drive fast and stay safe, if got a sidewalk got to get on it and ride that way."

But city ordinances see it differently. Though some people may feel more safe riding on sidewalks or facing traffic, city lawmakers decided they'd be more safe if treat bikes like cars.

For Ingram biking is a cheaper way to get around, especially with rising gas prices, "Cars these days cost a lot of money, don't have to put gas in it."

And for Spence, the bike is still his transportation choice, even after the accident, "Got to keep going, can't let it stop me." He just hopes this bike doesn't end up like his last one.

The best thing you can do when sharing the road with a bicyclist is slow down. If you can shift into an inside lane to give the bike rider more room you should do so. And of course be on the lookout for hand signals. Those will let you know if the bike rider plans to stop or turn, before it's too late.