On the road or trail, be safe on your bike this summer


Some parts of the walking and bike path on Decatur's west side are closed because of flooding, but the nice weather is still encouraging cyclists to get out and be active.

Local law enforcement and cyclists say Decatur is a safe place for bikers. The Macon County Sheriff's Office said it rarely sees bike accidents, but when closed paths force bikers to ride on the roads, not following the rules is when danger can occur.

Once riders are snapped in, fastened up and pushing forward, they're ready to hit the road because sometimes biking on a path isn't always an option.

"If you get out into the country, you can do like a three hour ride and have four cars pass you, so there's plenty of roads out there to ride on," explained Kyle May owner of Spin City Cycles in Decatur. He has mapped out his routes and been biking for most of his life.

"It's a little intimidating riding on the road," he said.

But it doesn't have to be unsafe.

"The best way to be able to approach a bicyclist is to reduce speed, give them a safe distance and then if you're going to overcome them make sure that you do so in a safe manner," explained Sheriff Tom Schneider of the Macon County Sheriff's Office.

Cyclists need to be aware of their surroundings while riding on the road or the trail and ride with traffic, not against it.

"You can't just drive through stop signs, so it's important that they know they have to adhere to the rules and regulations just like anybody else," he said.

So when biking stops at the paths, there's no reason not to share the road.

"Yeah, I feel safe," May said.

Sheriff Schneider added that children ages five to 14 years old are seen in the emergency room more for bike-related injuries than any other sport.  Helmets can reduce severe brain injuries by 88 percent.

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