Bicycle safety and a cycling group for the county
There has been an increased interest in cycling in the community, and it is important for everyone to recognize the rights these individuals have while on the road.
Speaking with Robert Garrett, who is a part of a local cycling group in Union County, he emphasized a law that was passed in the state in 2010, called The John Paul Frerer Bicycle Safety Act.
Mississippi shot down a bicycling law for two consecutive years leading up to Frerer’s death in a cycling accident. Now, the “three feet law” outlines rules for both cyclists and motorists.
For motorists, they must leave no less than three feet between the vehicle and bicycle and maintain that three feet minimum when passing a bicycle. Failure to do so, as well as throwing an object in the direction of anyone riding a bicycle, can result in a fine of up to $2,500 and seven days in jail.
“Everyone has a right on the road,” Garrett said of the law. “What scares me the most as a cyclist are cell phones; people on them while they’re driving and not paying attention to the road.”
Garrett said that he has not encountered a problem while riding in Union County, but with warmer weather ahead and more cyclists on the road, it is important to remind others of this law so that no accidents occur in the county.
The group Garrett rides with formed about a year ago and now holds roughly 30 members. People who specifically want to ride or ride as part of training for other events (marathons, triathalons, etc.) make up the group.
“We had a big boom of people who got bikes recently, so I created a Google emailing group so people who ride can communicate and let others know of rides they can take part in,” Garrett said. “Running has also become very popular in town, and some people have been recommended by their doctors to ride bikes as well, since it’s not as rough on your body as constantly running is, and it helps you in training.”
Garrett said the women’s group has grown in popularity recently, and there are about seven people who are training for a triathalon, which includes swimming, cycling and running.
“The group is really growing and is fun to watch, and I think it will grow even more once the Rails to Trails project is finished and we’re not as worried about having to cycle around town, in traffic,” he said.
Anyone who is interested in this cycling group can email Garrett at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
About Chris Elkins
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