Tri-State cycling organization calls for safety improvements after cyclists killed

Tri-State cycling organization calls for safety improvements after cyclists killed
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 5:14 PM EDT
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NEWPORT, Ky. (WXIX) - A Tri-State cycling organization is calling for improvements to bike paths around the area after two people bicyclists were killed over the weekend in separate crashes.

Gloria San Miguel and Dr. Jefferey Robbins both died while riding their bikes.

Their deaths have organizations Tri-State Trails fighting to expand trails and bikeways throughout the area.

Wade Johnston is the director of Tri-State Trails.

He says there are trails for bicyclists in the Tri-State, but they are flawed.

“The trails are not very well connected,” Johnston explained. “That’s a big barrier for people to use them more in their everyday life. When you reach that dead end or that pinch point or that scary intersection, it’s enough to deter most people from riding their bike.”

Tri-State Trails is helping to develop the Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network (CROWN) to offset those issues. The CROWN will also connect to Northern Kentucky.

“That’s a vision to build a 34-mile trail loop around the city, and it would connect the Wasson Way Trail, the Little Miami trail, the Ohio River Trail, and the Greenway to form a network so that people can get to almost any neighborhood in Cincinnati and feel good making that choice.”

According to Johnston, 2021 ranked among the worst years for traffic fatalities in Cincinnati. He says Cincinnati reported 38 traffic-related deaths, and of that number, three were bicyclists.

Following San Miguel’s death on the 11th Street Bridge, Johnston says it is time for change.

“There is a petition going around to get the City of Covington and Newport to put bike lanes on the bridge that Gloria San Miguel was killed on,” Johnston said.

The petition has more than 2,000 signatures as of Tuesday.

Once the petition reaches 3,000 signatures, Johnston will present the petition to the Kentucky Department of Transportation and the City of Newport.

He says the Department of Transportation has offered to insert sharrows which are road markings that alert drivers that bicyclists share the lanes.

That is not enough, Johnston thinks.

“Pavement markings would not have stopped this [San Miguel] from being run down by a vehicle in this hit and run incident,” Johnston said. “What our region needs is protected bike infrastructure and trails that are separated by car traffic.”

The City of Newport tells FOX19 NOW they will release details on steps they plan to take regarding roadway safety in the coming days.

The driver who hit San Miguel has not been found.

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