Fatal Bicycle Crashes May Lead to Stricter Laws

A recent string of fatal bicycle accidents has families across the country mourning the loss of loved ones. With alcohol and speeding ruled out as factors in each crash, cities must renew emphasis on bicycle safety and attentive driving. Some families are even campaigning for stricter laws to apply to careless drivers.

A woman in Kent County, Michigan has died of injuries sustained when she was struck from behind by an SUV on February 24th. She was travelling with traffic around 11:20 p.m. on a bicycle with no lights. The cyclist was 58 years old.

Another woman, aged 62, was thrown from her bicycle when she turned in front of a motorist around 9 a.m. on February 22nd. She later died at the hospital. St. Johns County bicycle safety advocate Heather Neville spoke to News 4 Jax about the driver.

“From the report, he tried to brake, he tried to move out of the way. He didn’t leave. I am so thankful because that has not been the theme recently with the hit-and-run rate. I really urge everyone, when you see a cyclist or a runner, or anyone slower than you, just slow down, assess the situation. Give them some room. Go around them. Pretend they’re 10-feet wide,” she implored.

Overseas, the family of a couple who were killed by a driver in the United Kingdom are scheduled to meet with Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss tougher sentences for dangerous drivers. The driver who struck Ross and Clare Simons as they rode their tandem bicycle had 69 previous convictions related to dangerous driving, and had been speeding at the time of the accident. Member of Parliament Chris Skidmore arranged the meeting.

“Already we have managed to see the law changed on death by driving while disqualified as a result of the Justice 4 Ross and Clare campaign, but I hope we can press for future changes to the dangerous driving laws,” Skidmore told the Bristol Post.

Adults over 45 years of age and adolescents between 15 and 24 have the highest bicycle death rates.

While it is undoubtedly a tragedy that these people have lost their lives, there is hope that laws will be changed to make the road safer for cyclists everywhere as a result of their sacrifice.

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