Bicycle safety after death of RAGBRAI cyclist - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bicycle safety after death of RAGBRAI cyclist

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

The ride is pushing on, despite a fatal accident during the first day of the event.

A 72-year-old cyclist died yesterday after being hit by a truck shortly after leaving Glenwood, Iowa to start the ride. Police say the cyclist was on the course along highway 34, near mile marker two, when the driver hit him from behind. 

The rider has been identified as Wayne Ezell of Jacksonville, Florida.  Ezell was a retired editorial writer for the Florida Times Union.

Sadly, this is not the first time a cyclist has been killed during RAGBRAI.

The director of RAGBRAI says he's concerned.

"It's a huge wake up call when the biggest cycling event in the world, we lose a cyclist on day one," said TJ Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI Director.

Back in Cedar Falls, Europa Cycle owner, Russ Clarke feels the same .

"Even one death is not acceptable and I don't have a good answer, people need to be able to see us and they just need to see us," said Russ Clarke, Europe Cycle owner.

Clarke says one solution, to be seen day and night, is blinkers.

"Blinkers seem to be the most effective way of announcing your presence," said Clarke.

Blinkers attach to the back of a bicycle and is one way a cyclist can stay visible on the roads.

Another valuable tool, a radar. It can track cars behind a cyclist for up to 150 yards.

But, Clarke says he has some advice for drivers and that is patience.

"You don't want to wait the fifteen seconds or twenty seconds to have a clear path to go around and that fifteen seconds can be life or death to a cyclist," said Clarke.

Russ stresses cyclists and drivers are considered the same and sharing the road is very important. As for that radar, it costs $200, but for some that could be a life saver.

RAGBRAI honored those cyclists lost this year in a mile of silence. Clarke says Wayne Ezell was surely remembered today.

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