Cyclists push for safer streets after non-profit sees 4 employees hit by cars over the last year

A St. Louis non-profit that teaches kids how to ride bikes is sounding the alarm on safety for bikers.
Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 5:36 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A St. Louis non-profit that teaches kids how to ride bikes is sounding the alarm on safety for bikers.

Employees at BWorks say another of their instructors was hit by a car in the city, making it the fourth employee to be in an accident this year.

News 4 spoke to some of the employees over the phone and by email on Friday, who say the worker is okay but badly banged up. The coworkers say they are still processing the accident and didn’t want to speak on camera just yet.

Christopher Hicks rides his bike every day.

However, he only does it in Forest Park because he feels it’s the safest place to ride.

“If I sway a little bit, I could easily get hit by a car,” Hicks says.

Hicks says riding on the streets pose dangers to cyclists.

“Not only the speed, but there’s plenty of blind spots from buildings,” Hicks says. “Even the weather in shaded areas can create blind spots. From a safety and health standpoint, that can be treacherous for bikers.”

Great Rivers Greenway works on connecting the region with places to walk or ride your bike.

There has been a push for commuting this way over the last few years and community program manager Elizabeth Simons says the goal is to make the connection from the streets to the greenway as safe as possible.

“What works in one neighborhood isn’t going to necessarily work in every neighborhood but that’s the role of the street owners,” Simons says. “The streets department working with neighborhood groups, advocacy groups, to hear what people want and what is going to improve safety for everybody on these streets.”

Hicks wants drivers to be more cautious, but he also hopes bikers stay aware of their surroundings.

One way he says bikers can do that is to take their headphones out when riding, so they aren’t distracted and can hear if someone is coming up behind them.

“Utilize the designated trails that’s on the streets that’s lined specifically for bike riders,” Hicks says.

News 4 asked SLMPD for the number of accidents involving bicyclists.

SLMPD says it’s broken down by crashes involving “pedalcycles.”

In 2022, there were 42 of those accidents.

So far this year, there have been 21.