Kalamazoo Bicycle Club President Renee Mitchell says hearing the news that five bicyclists had been killed and another four injured on Tuesday was “heartbreaking.”
The KBC has been around since the 1970’s and is an advocacy group for bicycle safety and education. Mitchell and the group’s vice president John Olbrot joined WMUK’s Gordon Evans on Wednesday afternoon.
The group of nine people was struck by a blue pickup truck as they were riding north of Kalamazoo. Olbrot says his reaction was denial, when he first heard the news.
The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club has several riding groups in the area, but the one struck by the pickup truck Tuesday was not a KBC group. Olbrot says the stretch along North Westnedge Avenue is a good place for a bike ride. He says Kalamazoo has a wealth of good cycling. Olbrot says there are many open area with relatively low-traffic. But Olbrot says there are always issues with road repairs and conditions.
Tuesday’s crash sent shockwaves through the Kalamazoo area and the cycling community nationwide. Mitchell says people realize that a crash like Tuesday’s could happen to anybody. She says cycling is a passion, and people will want to ride again even after a tragedy.
Tuesday’s tragedy may raise awareness about bike safety. Olbrot says helping “ensure that this doesn’t happen to someone else, that’s all we can hope for.” Mitchell says the crash should also be a wakeup call for bicyclists to make sure they are aware of their surroundings on the road.