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A dangerous time for motorcycles, bicycles

July 5, 2019

It’s a dangerous time in Delaware for riders of motorcycles and bicycles. The state’s Office of Highway Safety recently announced six people lost their lives on state roads during May, an unusually high number. Almost all the fatal crashes involved cyclists driving at a high rate of speed.

Though they were wearing helmets, the victims’ bodies were unable to survive the injuries that resulted when their extreme vulnerability met with the tragic reality of high-speed crashes.

Then, just this week, Beebe Healthcare reported a spike in the emergency room visits for bicycle injuries sustained on local roadways and trails. The opening of more trail miles in the area has resulted in many more bicyclists with a wide range of ages, experience and skill levels.

Combine those factors with confusion about bicycling rules on the roadways - which are different from rules on the trails - and you have a recipe for increasing the number of crashes - many of them serious. As with motorcyclists, bicycle riders are extremely vulnerable when riding in automobile traffic. With so many visitors and so many distractions, the need for extra care is heightened particularly among motorcyclists and bicyclists. Car and truck drivers also have to be vigilant and alert to the extra dangers that cyclists bring to our summer roads and streets.

In response to the increasing number of bicycling injuries and confusion expressed by many regarding proper trail etiquette where cyclists and pedestrians are in close proximity, Sen. Ernie Lopez has organized a meeting to raise awareness and understanding.

He will join law enforcement and Delaware Department of Transportation officials starting at 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 9, at Lewes Public Library for an open and public discussion about bike path safety and rules of the road for trail users.

The more awareness and understanding we all have, the safer and more enjoyable will be everyone’s experiences in this busiest time of the year for our roads and trails.

 

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, publisher emeritus, and Laura Ritter, news editor, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, CoPublisher and Editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, CoPublisher and General Manager.