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Survivors of Kalamazoo bike crash testify for new safety legislation

Flickr User Karen Neoh
Survivors of Kalamazoo bike crash testify for new safety legislation

Survivors of last year’s deadly bike crash near Kalamazoo testified Wednesday before a state Senate committee in support of safety legislation.

Paul 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.

Gobble told a state Senate committee a “culture change” is needed between drivers and bicyclists sharing the roads.

“There’s a lot of animosity toward cyclists. The drivers, there’s a great deal of them that are just angry out there.”

Gobble says there are a lot of drivers who don’t like the fact that bicyclists share the roadways.

“They yell at us. 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.”

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.

State Senator Margaret O’Brien:

“We are seeing an increase in bicycling accidents and, unfortunately, fatalities, 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.”

Survivors of last year’s deadly bicycle crash near Kalamazoo showed up at the Capitol to support the bills.

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.