Cyclists Concerned After Woman Is Killed

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A Caledonia woman’s death while riding a bicycle shows the dangers bicyclists face on the road every day, especially in areas where there is no room set aside for them.

“It’s just a very sad story,” said Skip Stienecker, owner of the Rockford Bicycle Company, in reference to the death of Deborah Wright, who died Monday night after being hit by a pick-up truck on Harlem Road near Rock Cut State Park.  Stienecker says Wright was a customer and believes the deadly crash shows the difficulties riders face on the road.

“You always need to be well aware of who’s around you,” said Stienecker. “Be [aware of] what the travel patterns are like.”

While there are no trails where Wright was riding, bicyclists are entitled to 3 feet of the road when riding under state law. Bicyclists say the law is often violated.

“On the road, you just can’t trust people,” said bicyclist Stephanie Magrini.

She believes it is a mutual responsibility between motorists and bicyclists where there are no trail for bikes.

“It’s their job, too,” said Magrini. “It’s not just my job, it’s all of our jobs to respect each other. We need to be out there at the same time.”

Stienecker says if you are going to be riding on the road, the right safety tools can help.

“Wear a helmet, and they do make some day light visible tail lights and headlight that certainly do help a lot.”

Police say the driver of the car was a 16 year-old with no experience in sharing the road. Mangrini says it’s something she takes into account whenever she’s riding on roadways.

“It’s like driving a car. You need to be responsible because not everybody out here is. You have to be 100% responsible and sometimes you have to take responsibility for somebody that’s not.”

No citations have been issued for the deadly collision while police continue to investigate.
 

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