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Quincy participates in national campaign to bring awareness to bicycle safety

The number of fatal bike accidents is on the rise, according to statistics.

“If I hadn’t worn a helmet then I wouldn’t be here today,” said Quincy resident Gary Cochell. “I’d be dead.”

Cochell recalls the moment that could’ve ended his life.

“Nine years ago I was hit head on by a driver in La Grange, Missouri,” said Cochell.

Cochell spent four weeks in the hospital in St. Louis.

“The driver was distracted by a tug boat on the Mississippi River,” said Cochell. “She crossed the center line and hit me head on.”

On Wednesday, Cochell rode his bike alongside his fellow cyclists for the National Ride of Silence to commemorate cyclists killed and support those injured while riding on public roads.

“Cyclists have every right to the roadway, just the same as any vehicle does,” said Quincy Police Officer Peter Hummel.

Hummel says drivers must give cyclists at least three feet of room when passing them. However, cyclists also need to make themselves as visible as they can.

“Lights during the daytime and at nighttime, high visibility clothing, reflective clothing; that’s all going to help with motorists being able to see you,” said Hummel.

Officials say more than half of all bicycle accidents happen when it is dark outside. Cyclists who do not wear reflective gear while riding are more difficult to see at night.

As in any vehicle accident, if a driver hits and injures a cyclist, they can be responsible for paying for medical costs, wages losses and other expenses the victim may be facing.

Kaylee Pfeiferling

Multimedia Journalist

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