Cyclists urge drivers to share the road

Published: Jun. 10, 2015 at 1:41 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2015 at 9:54 AM CDT
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Doug Heller hopes to see a bike lane that spans the coast (Image Source: WLOX News)
Doug Heller hopes to see a bike lane that spans the coast (Image Source: WLOX News)

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - There has long since been a battle between cyclists and drivers sharing the road. Just over the past few days, a couple of cyclists have lost that battle here in South Mississippi.

On Friday, a young man in George County was killed after being hit by a vehicle while riding his bike. Sunday evening, a man on a bike was hit in Biloxi, only this time, he was lucky enough to survive.

Share the road is a message plastered on signs across the Coast, but it is sometimes ignored by drivers.

"On a bicycle, you can do everything exactly right. You don't know what the other guy is going to do, and you're going to lose," said Doug Heller.

Heller has been cycling on the Coast since 1988. He says over the past 25 years, he has seen drivers slowly become more accommodating of cycling.

"We had a flat one time and three cars drove by. All three people stopped to see if we needed help, so they're very respectful to us," said Heller.

But still, Heller says the recent accidents involving cyclists is a reminder of how important it is for all major roadways to have bicycle lanes.

"The problem is it's talk, talk, talk, for years before it finally gets done, and this is such an important issue. These things need to be done now," said Heller.

Another cyclist who is not from South Mississippi, says he was impressed with the many places there were to ride his bike, but he still feels like drivers don't pay cyclists enough attention.

"At the intersections it's hard to get across, or you are driving down the beach, you can see cars weaving in and out. If they're going too fast, they kind of slow down and dodge you. You feel like somebody's right behind you," said Michael Russell.

Heller says because of the recent incidents, he wants to help organize a silent ride with as many cyclists as possible to bring awareness to cycling.

"The purpose of it is to show people that cyclists do have a right to the road, and also to pay respect and honor those who have been killed or injured in the past. Which I think is quite appropriate right now," said Heller.

Many cyclists will be excited to know Biloxi city leaders are hosting a ribbon cutting Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. in front of the Bond Grant house to celebrate the city's new bike path in downtown Biloxi.

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