Keeping cyclists safe on the roads

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 7:29 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A Toledo man riding his bike down Bancroft in Sylvania Township this weekend was hit by a car and killed.

Authorities say they think the driver was impaired when he veered left of center and hit 51-year-old Robert Rausch and threw him from his bicycle.

Now local bike activists are speaking out about how motorists can keep cyclists safe on the road.

Rausch was beloved in the Northwest Ohio cycling community. He picked up biking in 2018, and rode more than 8,000 miles since then.

As the community mourns their loss, Rausch’s death comes as a stark reminder of the vulnerability of bikers on the roads.

“This is a case where it demonstrates that cyclists are vulnerable users, like pedestrians. We don’t have a steel shell around us when we’re out biking,” says Keith Webb.

Webb is the director of We Are Traffic, an advocacy group dedicated to promoting bicycling. He says that 20 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents last year in Ohio, and he’s working to lower than number to zero,

But it happens all too often that drivers don’t follow the rules of the road.

“Motorists are supposed to give at least 3 feet when passing, That’s now an Ohio law. You’re supposed to slow down for the bicyclists. They are entitled to their lane,” says TMACOG transportation planner Lance Dasher.

Dasher is always working to makes roads safer for all users, but infrastructure can only do so much. At some point, it’s up to motorists to be responsible.

“Put down the phone, put down the coffee, make sure that we’re paying attention to the roadway because the roadway is designed for all users, not just motorists,” says Dasher.

“We’d like motorists to know we’re just like them. We’re a father, we’re a son, a brother,” says Webb.

Rausch’s family and friends are planning a memorial ride for him and hope to spread the word about safe driving to prevent future tragedies.

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