‘I want to be seen’: How bicyclists can safely share the road

A Lawton bike advocate wears a "Give 3 Feet" cycle jersey to promote bicycle safety.
A Lawton bike advocate wears a "Give 3 Feet" cycle jersey to promote bicycle safety.(kswo)
Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 1:58 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - “There’s not a whole lot of people that get hit by a semi that’s doing seventy that can live and tell about it. I have a story that tends to open doors when it comes to cycling safety. If I can’t get the door open I’ll kick it down,” said John Wheeler, a bicycle safety advocate.

Wheeler is continuing his mission to spread the rules of the road when it comes to bicycle safety after his near death incident with a semi-truck back in 2019.

“A lot of motorists, they look at cyclists as a hinderance on the road when we-- that’s where we have to ride,” said Wheeler.

Whether for exercise or daily commuting, cyclists are becoming more of a common sight with summer officially in play.

“You know some people either don’t have a car because they can’t afford it, or some people just choose to commute,” added Wheeler.

One of those commuters is bike enthusiast Austra “Aussy” Cole who takes her bike to pick up groceries.

“It’s way more fun than sitting in a car and picking up your groceries because you actually meet people. People talk to you,” said Cole.

According to a 2016 bike brochure on the city’s website, Lawton only has nine bike paths, so it’s important for everyone to be familiar with the bike laws.

“Until we have very secure bike lanes like we have in Europe, where I also ride a lot, we will need to make car drivers aware ‘hey we’re not in you’re way, we’re not keeping traffic up. We are traffic, and be considerate.’ When I drive my car I do the same thing,” said Cole.

Even though cyclists have just as much a right to be on the road as other vehicles, safety is a two-way street.

“I mean there’s things that we can do to make cycling safer and there’s things the motorists can do as well,” said Wheeler. “Just be aware of your surroundings. Let the motorist know what your intentions are.”

“Even though if I have the right of way I wait and make sure they see me. I want to be seen. I want to make eye contact with the driver,” added Cole.

7News reached out to the City of Lawton, and officials say there aren’t any plans to implement more bike lanes right now.

So whether you’re riding a bike or driving a car, it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings while you’re out on the road.