Jonesboro cyclists discuss road dangers

Bike Safety in Jonesboro
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - After the fatal incident that killed a cyclist in Craighead County Wednesday afternoon, other riders in the area explained what they deal with when they are out on the road.

Bill Smith, a board member with the Northeast Arkansas Bicycle Coalition, said every rider knows there are dangers.

He said other drivers are one of the bigger concerns and that after a while cyclists gain a sixth sense that tells them if a driver may be targeting them.

Smith said at that point, they have to quickly decide what to do.

That could mean driving off the road onto a curb or into a ditch.

Jeff Chastain, another Jonesboro cyclist, said sometimes it is not that simple.

"It may be because that shoulder is not clean," Chastain said. "There's the kind of debris there that will potentially wreck that bike, that will tear that bike up or hurt the rider. Or in a lot of Northeast Arkansas roads, there's not a shoulder at all."

Other concerns he discussed included being aware of the lighting during the ride and the hills and curves on the route.

Chastain said he and other cyclists choose to ride the two lane country roads because they are much safer than riding in the city.

The law states cyclists must ride in the road and be treated like a vehicle.

Jonesboro is working on a pedestrian/bike path in Craighead Forest Park.

In the past, the city also conducted a pedestrian/bike safety study while discussing connecting Arkansas State University to downtown.

Chastain said the roads in the city are too dangerous and may not accommodate future bike lanes.

Smith says the change he would like to see in the area is for drivers of all vehicles to look past the wheels.

"Stop seeing the vehicle and start seeing the people," Smith said.

A memorial ride is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 outside of Gearhead Outfitters.

The riders plan to place a ghost bike at the location of Wednesday's incident.

There is a GoFundMe account for those who would like to help the family of the victim.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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