Posted by: cmassey8 | February 12, 2010

Unforced Injuries Taking a Toll

By Crary Massey

With gas prices rising and people making an effort to be more active, bicycle riding is something that is gaining more and more popularity throughout our nation, especially in the Pacific Northwest. But with biking on the rise, are bike friendly areas also on the same path? If not then the rise of bikers will also result in more injuries that we need to be aware of. When you are biking along the road in the bike lanes, your life is in the hands of the drivers of cars that go along side of you. There are different rules to follow such as ride with traffic and not against it, where bright colors, use your signals, and other things along those lines. But in the end you have to trust that the motorist driving the vehicle next to you doesn’t slip up or your life may be at risk.

Unfortunately, drivers do slip-up which has caused around seven hundred bicycling deaths per year. An example of this occurred in Eugene on June 16, 2007 when 42-year-old Elaine Shotridge was struck by a car who was weaving in and out of traffic. She died later that day at the hospital. I am not saying that every single person that this happens to can be saved, but if there are steps taken to get these bikers off the road and onto paths, than lives can be saved.

Places such as Portland have taken steps to put in paths to travel safely but those are still on the outskirts of high traffic areas. Eugene has also made huge strides but “there is still work to be done” says Matt Porter, a University of Oregon student who rides over fifty miles a week throughout the Eugene area. He says that he has almost been hit on numerous occasions by vehicles that were not aware of their surroundings. By taking steps to build more bike paths, people like Matt Porter will be able to ride their bikes freely and feel safe when doing it.

Seven hundred deaths a year is a lot of people that have lost their lives due to other people’s mistakes. By building more bike paths, this number will be able to drop and more people will be able to ride safely and live another day.


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