Cedar Rapids mayor’s bike ride stresses bike safety on roads

Published: Sep. 5, 2016 at 3:58 PM CDT
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On a beautiful Labor Day morning more than 300 bikers met on Cedar Rapids’ northwest side for Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett’s Labor Day bike ride.

Bikers big and small came out for the ride including 10-year-old avid bikers and twin brothers Conner and Vince Peters.

“I like riding bikes because we get to go outdoors a lot and see a lot of good animals,” Conner said.

“We get to ride them like mostly every day,” Vince said.

Their mom Dixie Peters brought them out to teach them about local roads and trail safety. She said it’s important to do at a young age.

“My mother showed me at a young age. I rode with her for a long time before I started on my own so I try to carry that over to my family. Just to be safe around cars and make sure you communicate,” Peters said.

But it’s not only a chance for kids to learn.

“I think it’s important to promote healthy living. Blue Zones is a big deal. Just to prevent disease and become a part of a community. Not to be at home all the time where no one can see you, but be out and about and make friends,” Peters said.

Mayor Corbett said the goal of Monday’s ride is just that. He wants to encourage people to support the biking community and stress safety out on the roads.

“It’s important to be out and educate, not just for the bike riders to obey traffic laws, but the motorists to pay attention around bicycles,” Corbett said. “We’ve made efforts these last years to do exactly that. We’ve added bike lanes, sometimes we’ve painted those bike lanes green to identify them more. It’s a combination of the riders acknowledging they are on the road, and also the motorists. We’re going to continue with the policy that the road is shared.”

Riders were able to select an 8 or 2 mile ride, which took them around downtown with a loop back to Ellis Park where they started. That allowed riders to see the many amenities and trails available to them.

“We have big companies like Rockwell Collins that need bicycle lanes because a lot of their employees want to bike to work. It’s too difficult to do that if you don’t have bike lanes on some of the heavier traffic roads,” Corbett said. We’ve seen businesses that have popped up, created jobs, created tax breaks that actually cater to the biking public.”

The city plans to continue working to make Cedar Rapids bicyclist and motorists safe.

“We’re going to continue with more bike lanes in the community, and we want to become a more bike friendly community, even more so than we are today. More and more people are riding their bikes each and every year so it’s great to see,” Corbett said.