Oklahoma City Providing Safe Alternatives for Cyclists

Tuesday, July 20th 2010, 4:44 pm
By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- As the families of the cyclists killed over the weekend mourn the loss of their loved ones, the cycling community is coming together to remember the two cyclists killed and look at what can be done to prevent future incidents.

Fifty-six-year-old Alan Spencer and 75-year-old Clyde Riggs were both struck and killed by separate motorists over the weekend. Their deaths are still being investigated by Oklahoma City police.

The deaths are reminding avid cyclists of the importance of putting safety first and have many looking for alternatives to riding in traffic.

Oklahoma City currently has 60 miles of bike trails. The trails offer cyclists an off-road alternative.

See Oklahoma City's bike trails

Oklahoma City's Park and Recreation Department spokesperson Jennifer McClintock said the city will soon add another 100 miles to the trail system. The new trails will be funded by the 2007 general obligation bond and the MAPS 3 project, both approved by voters. The city is putting out bids for the construction of the trails.

Toben Vigil is an experienced cyclist who said there are risks to riding on city streets. That's why he said he would like to see more alternatives.

Vigil said he is working with Norman city officials to add a bike trail along Highway 9. As it is now, cyclists have to ride on the shoulder putting them dangerously close to traffic and road debris.

"That is one place I would not feel safe to ride," Vigil said.

But trails will add safety, plus a faster way for cyclists to get to Lake Thunderbird.

"I'm looking forward to utilizing it. I know it's going to take quite a while to make that. They'll do it in short sections, but yeah, I can't wait," Vigil said.

The city of Norman is working with ODOT on the Highway 9 trails, but the city still needs funding for the project.

A memorial ride for Alan Spencer and Clyde Riggs will be Thursday evening. Cyclists can meet at 122nd Street and Midwest Boulevard at 7:30.