Cyclists Talk Safety and Why They Fear Riding on Roads with Cars

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- "We`re all sharing the road, and especially when a life is concerned, I think we all need to be really careful and cognizant of each other," said Bethany Berger of Urbandale.

Berger knows first hand just how dangerous it is out there on the roads.

"I`ve been hit twice," said Berger. "One was a hit and run, so we never did find anyone. I didn`t even actually know what happened to me until the cars behind me pulled over to help me.  The second time a girl pulled in front of me and I slammed into the side of her."

Those experiences didn't stop Berger from cycling, but she says she's learned a couple of things.

"A lot of people want to turn right on red, right in front of me, even though I have the white walking person, so I make sure I always look over my shoulder so they`re not turning in front of me," said Berger. "I`ve also started putting my hand out to the driver and making sure I have eye contact so they know I`m going to cross, and please don`t turn in front of me."

And because of how dangerous cycling can be when on the same roads as cars, Berger tries to stay on the trails as much as possible. That's something we found to be a common theme with other cyclists we spoke with.

"I strictly am a trail rider," said Deb Isenhart of Beaverdale. "I don`t feel safe on the highways. I just always have ridden the trails. We`ve got such a great trail system, that`s basically all I use."

"I just feel kind of exposed with cars," said Isenhart. "A lot of the highways are very narrow and there`s not much shoulder, you know, even to get clear over on and so you know one mistake can, I`m hurt, you know, so I avoid those."

"That`s probably just as much me as it is vehicles," said Jason Leete of Altoona. "I just feel a little safer on the trails without traffic behind me and it`s kind of hard to see over your shoulder, so I just kinda stay safe and stay on the trail."

While the cyclists we spoke with choose to stay on the trails, they said they understand why others in more rural areas ride on highways and paved county roads when that very well may be their only option.