Bicyclist Voices Safety Concerns

by Kirsten May
Courtesy of A-State Department of Media

There are a growing number of cyclists in Jonesboro, but there are still no roads with designated bike lanes in the city and some cyclists feel there are not many safe places to ride. 
ASU TV’s Kirsten May looked into what is being done in Jonesboro to make it more bike-friendly.

JONESBORO, Ark. — “We need to wrap our heads as a community around the concept of a bicycle being part of our transportation mix.”

Bill Smith is the marketing and communications director for Arkansas State University and he is a cyclist.

Many people in Jonesboro are students or work in town who are now using a bicycle as their main form of transportation, and he said he thinks the city needs to focus on helping them ride safer.

“Certainly I think that we could see a greater commitment to bicycle infrastructure in our town, a greater commitment to a plan for how that will be moved around town, and not just in a parks and (recreation) mode,” Smith said. “I think that’s the future and I think that’s what millennials want.”

Jonesboro Parks and Recreation director Wixon Huffstetler said bike safety is a priority for the city and they are working to improve it.

“You know, the new trail obviously at Craighead Forrest that we are building that’ll connect eventually to the greenway that’s in town and we’re definitely looking at bike lanes on the outskirts of Jonesboro and on the bigger roads that we can fit them on,” he said.

Huffstetler understands cyclists want more done on the roads and said the city is looking at how to make that work.

“It’s just that Jonesboro is so grown together on the inside of the city, inner city, that it’s hard to figure out how to put bike lanes in without having to buy property or acquire ride away and stuff like that, which is a long process,” he said.

He said the city is constantly looking for grants to help improve infrastructure for bicyclists.

Both Huffstetler and Smith agree the best thing is for both riders and drivers to be aware of their surroundings and obey all traffic laws.

***

Smith said cyclists fare best when they act like drivers and are predictable.

Smith is teaching a vehicular riding course that teaches experienced cyclists how to be safer when riding in traffic. He said to message the Arkansas State University Facebook page or email him if you are interested in taking the class.

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