Cyclists looking to educate, increase awareness among drivers

Published: May. 15, 2015 at 12:44 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 12, 2015 at 1:14 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - If you're noticing more cyclists on the road, it's because there are more.

"Riding is the new golf," says Matthew Blevins, owner of Blevins Bicycle Company.

The League of American Cyclists shows a 64 percent increase of cyclists in small metro areas like Huntsville.  But, if indeed, cycling is the new golf, Alabama is a long way from hanging with the cool kids.

The League ranked Alabama last in its annual bicycle-friendly state ranking.

Cyclist Joachim Thoenes says of the ranking, "I'm not totally surprised, I've had more than a few close calls."

The dead-last ranking is based on five categories: legislation and enforcement; policies and programs; infrastructure and funding; education and encouragement; and evaluation and planning.

Blevins believes a little more education is needed in the state.

"I think there needs to be more awareness of cyclist and the fact that we're not out there to ruin people's day.  The fact that we're out there commuting or exercising."

The horror stories cyclists tell are mainly of drivers who don't respect them.

"I've had drinks thrown at me, batteries, CD's, I've been cussed at.  I've had cars swerve in front of me," says Blevins.

"A few weeks ago a dear friend of mine, Richard Thom was killed.  He lived in Vermont and was killed up there, but was a Huntsville native,"

says Thoenes.

Melissa Wood, another cyclist, says she would like to see Alabama move up in those rankings

"Better laws about interaction between, you know passing laws.  A lot of people don't know that they're supposed to share the road with us."

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