Want to be bike-friendly? Take cyclist deaths seriously

Cedar Rapids, Iowa - This town has made some progress in recent years toward becoming a more “friendly” place to move around by bicycle rather than car or truck.

There are a few bike lanes. There is a city Bicycle Advisory Committee. There are Bicycle Ambassadors, and now and then people make an effort to accommodate and encourage the bicycling public by providing special parking areas, generally staffed by a few volunteers and city employees.

Although most people didn’t know it, largely because of a lack of timely promotion by city officials and lack of interest from the local media, there was even a Bicycle Safety and Driver Alertness Month back in September.

All well and good.

How “bike friendly” is it, though, when a local cyclist can be killed in a collision with a motor vehicle and it takes months (nearly three in this case so far) to decide about charging the driver?

A lack of charges in a timely fashion says the death is no big deal to the city. (The toxicology tests cited as a reason for delay certainly could have been completed by now if this were a priority.)

That there is no serious penalty for careless driving that causes serious injury or death says such injuries and deaths are not very important to the state.

A community that accepts this is not “bike friendly,” no matter how hard it tries to pretend that it is.

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3 Responses to “Want to be bike-friendly? Take cyclist deaths seriously”


  1. 1 crazycommutingcyclist October 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    It doesn’t help that the majority of motorist feel cyclist are just like pest that get in the way. “Relegate them to the sidewalks and the damn trail so they are out of the way.” you hear from some motorist.

    By falling short on the Education portion of the Bike Friendly status we prepetuate this image with no hopss of ever bringing cycling in to a positive or viable alturnitive in our daily transportion. We will be stuck on our path to be Bike Friendly that will lead to the whole movement to an end.

  2. 2 Frank October 21, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Do we know if any traffic charges were ever filed?

  3. 3 bjsmith October 21, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    No, to the best of my knowledge. Sgt. Hamblin said she will let me know by email but I haven’t heard anything in a month or so.


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