Remembering Bicycle Safety

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By Amy Fox
By Jared Roberts

BENTON -- John Bruegge, Junior was killed Tuesday morning while riding his bicycle across Route 14 in West City.  The 59-year-old was hit by a truck.

Bruegge worked at the Benton-West City Walmart. He had just finished working the midnight shift and was coming home when the accident happened. We talked to his family today.  They are working to make funeral arrangements, so far no dates have been set.

The fatality in Franklin County is just one of hundreds across the country. The National Highway Traffic Administration reports in 2011, 677 people died in bicycle accidents nationwide and more than 32,000 were hurt. 

But, there are things drivers and bicyclists can do to stay safe when sharing the road.

Cars drive up and down Main Street in Benton. But, on that same busy street sits the Mclane family home.

"We keep the kids on the concrete," said Amber Mclane. "We don't let them go past the tree because it's too close to the side."

Amber, a mother of two, says she doesn't let her kids out of sight, especially with all of the traffic out front.

Mclane said, "It's really scary just because there's too many people that they want to look at their phone or look at what else is going on and sometimes it's really hard to see the people who are walking or riding their bikes."

West City Patrol Officer David Sneed says it doesn't help that sometimes, bicyclists are not following the rules of the road.

"Some people get confused as to what direction they should be traveling with a bicycle, so you see some of them driving towards you or away from you. A bicyclist should be on the right side of the road traveling in the same direction," said Sneed.

"There's kids out walking, riding their bikes, they don't pay attention," said Mclane. "They want to look at where they are going and what they're doing, so pay attention."

From helmets to reflective gear, when you get on a bike, Sneed says you also should consider what equipment you can use to keep yourself safe. 

"We try to teach them bicycle safety and the kids look up to us. And, us as parents when we get on our bicycles they're going to imitate what we do, so we need to reflect good safety habits when we're on our bicycles just like we teach our kids," said Sneed.

For Amber, she just hopes she's taken enough safety measures to keep her kids safe this summer.

While some communities have bike lanes, Officer Sneed says that doesn't mean a driver won't cross over that line, so both drivers and a bicyclists need to be careful and aware at all times. 

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