Two Accidents Have Bike Safety Experts Speaking Out - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Two Accidents Have Bike Safety Experts Speaking Out

Updated: Aug 15, 2013 09:43 PM

Two car/ bicycle accidents in just three days have bike safety experts speaking out about the sharing the road.

The first one happened Monday in Moline. Police say the driver of a car leaving the Aldi's parking lot hit a cyclist riding on the sidewalk, dragging him about 100 yards and sending him to the hospital. Then Wednesday, Scott County Sheriff's officers say a car rear-ended a bicycle on Great River Road in Pleasant Valley. That cyclist had been riding near the white fog line. He had to be transported to Iowa City. No word on either man's condition.

Bicycle safety experts say accidents can be prevented, showing us what happens when cyclists hit the road. On any given day, you'll find Donnie Miller on his bike, pedaling around the Quad Cities. "Between 30 and 80 miles," the Safety Consultant for the League of Illinois Bicyclists says, telling us that given a choice, he'd rather get to his destination on two wheels instead of four. "Freedom. Freedom. Being able to get somewhere under my own power. There's nothing like it. When you're in the cage in that car, you don't get to see things, you don't get to smell things."

At the same time, you don't get the extra protection that comes with that metal cage. That's something we saw firsthand, first on River Drive, where riders are detoured off the bike path. "For a person like myself," Miller says, "That's classified as strong and fearless, I'll just ride the road." Drivers on it with him initially give Miller some space, in part because he's taking it, taking up an entire lane. "One I'm visible. Two, I'm predictable. And three, it shows that I know what I'm doing. Most people went around me, they didn't have any issue." Except for two drivers, one cutting it close, another sharing some choice words.

"I'm surprised every day, and it gets worse every day," Miller says. "Everybody's in a hurry, everybody's got a chip on their shoulder." We saw that on Jersey Ridge Road. Impatient drivers lining up to get by, getting over as soon as Miller was able to get into a bike lane. But he says, "99 percent of them actually breached the center line on that center turn lane and gave me a wide berth." What they're supposed to do. Something that hasn't always happened. Miller tells us, "I've been hit by 3 cars in my 44 years of riding."

It was a friend's death on a bike five years ago that had Miller shifting focus from racing to safety. "Because I'm tired of going to funerals, and if you want to see change, you got to jump up and shout." What he's doing after this week's accidents. "It just breaks my heart that I see people not paying attention and not seeing me as somebody that's living and breathing, has a family. And they don't care about my safety." He says drivers on four and two wheels have to work together. Both groups must obey the rules of the road.