Local Cyclists Maintain Chattanooga is Bike Safe after Recent Ac - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local Cyclists Maintain Chattanooga is Bike Safe after Recent Accident

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Chattanooga ranks as one of the most bike friendly cities in the country, but a tragedy at a major cycling event Friday is bringing bicycle safety issues to the forefront.

A cyclist riding in the 3 States 3 Mountain Challenge died after he somehow lost control and crossed over into oncoming traffic while heading down Ochs Highway. But many cyclists maintain Chattanooga is a safe place to ride.

From St. Elmo to the Northshore, Chattanooga is full friendly reminders to watch out for bicyclists.

"It's very user friendly as far as cycling is concerned," said Chattanooga cyclist Herman Echeverri.

"Most of the people are aware there are bicycles out there. I've never really run into a problem with a motorist," said local cyclist Winston Parham.

In 2012, Bicycling Magazine rated Chattanooga the 27th most bike friendly city in the country.

More riders are hitting the streets thanks to new programs like the Bike Share transit system. While drivers need to be on the lookout for the additional bicyclists, the bicyclists need to make sure they follow the rules too.

Jenny Park is the program coordinator for Green Trips, which advocates for alternative transportation. She helps to teach a bike safety course with Outdoor Chattanooga. "We basically get people familiar with the rules of the road and how to communicate with drivers. Basically through that class, and through continued experience cycling, you can really limit the possible conflict points," she said.

Still, many cyclists admit there is a risk associated with riding. "You don't have any protection except your gloves and your helmet. It's not like a car where you  have your bumpers and your sidewalls to protect you," said Echeverri.

"If you're going to be out there, you're going to be out there, and you just have to have eyes all around your head," said Parham.

Click here to learn more about Outdoor Chattanooga's bicycle safety course.

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