A city councilwoman made waves in Prescott, Arizona recently after she announced that she gave up bicycling when she moved to Prescott from Flagstaff. She did this, she says, because the major paved roads in Prescott — which are the only way to get around, according to an official — are simply too dangerous for bikers. She only rides on trails now.
It kicked off a conversation about bike safety and traffic safety both in Prescott and, more generally, all across the country. Bikers are inherently at risk for serious injuries when they are involved in an accident. In fact, many bikers are lucky to escape an accident without fatal injuries.
Even though biking isn’t new, the surge in popularity over the last two decades has seen biking evolve from a leisurely activity to a means of basic transportation and, maybe more importantly, a healthy lifestyle. Sadly, local and state laws don’t exactly adapt to change as quickly as the change moves and then you get situations like you in Prescott, which is lacking in signage or notifications that bikers are nearby. Bike lanes aren’t even that common in Prescott.
While improvements to biking infrastructure would be great and more signs to point out the prevalence of bikers would be a tremendous help, Prescott ends up being an interesting case study in driver awareness. Without a robust biking infrastructure, you have to wonder why drivers haven’t been able to adapt to the idea of looking out for bikers at all times. Guess it goes back to our original point of “change can be difficult.” That doesn’t excuse a driver for not seeing a biker, but it is a fact of life.
Source: Daily Courier, “Death in bike-vehicle crash raises safety questions,” Cindy Barks, Jan. 26, 2015