(MPRN-Lansing) Survivors of last year’s deadly bike crash near Kalamazoo testified Wednesday before a state Senate committee in support of safety legislation.
The bills would make driving safely around bicyclists a required part of driver’s training. They would also require drivers to put at least five feet between their vehicle and bicycles when passing.
“There’s a lot of animosity toward cyclists,” said Paul Gobbles. “The drivers, there’s a great deal of them that are just angry out there."
Gobble was one of four people injured when a pickup truck plowed into a group of bike riders. Five people were killed. The driver was charged with second-degree murder, and driving under the influence of pills.
Gobble told the state Senate Judiciary Committee a “change in culture” is needed between drivers and bicyclists sharing the roads.
“They yell at us,” he said. “They drive aggressively towards us. I know folks that been driven off the side of the road deliberately by drivers who just aren’t happy that we’re out there.”
“We are seeing an increase in bicycling accidents and, unfortunately, fatalities,”
said state Senator Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage),
“so we really need to make awareness that it is a responsibility of both the driver and the bicyclist to be aware of each other and to be on the road safely.”
The bicycle safety bills were approved by the state Senate Judiciary Committee and sent to the full Senate.