Group advocating for safe cycling launches in Roanoke

Published: Sep. 25, 2022 at 6:07 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A woman was killed in February while cycling in Botetourt County. A group in Roanoke is trying to make sure what happened to Tabitha Thompson never happens again.

“But it brought a lot of people together to start thinking about how could this happen and how can we prevent this sort of thing,” said Pedal Safe ROA Board Member Allen Henry.

Henry has been cycling in the valley for 20 years. Pedal Safe ROA is a new advocacy group in the Star City.

“We plan to influence the discussion on how we can improve traffic safety for all users, and that’s important to emphasize that everybody has the right to use our traffic infrastructure safely,” explained Henry.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest data show bicycle fatalities in traffic increased by 58 percent between 2010 and 2021.

“We think that it’s unacceptable that cyclists frequently don’t feel safe riding on the roads,” added Henry.

Henry says creating safer streets for riding bikes would benefit everyone.

“It makes the streets less crowded. It also promotes a healthy lifestyle,” said Henry. “That, by the way, with high gas prices limits people’s financial burden. It promotes Roanoke as a biking-friendly location.”

Pedal Safe ROA helped the city apply for a federal planning grant. If approved, the city could apply for extra federal funding allocated for urban pedestrian-and bicycle-safety projects in the bipartisan Infrastructure bill.

“So that’s a big win,” said Henry.

Sunday, the board members celebrated and introduced the group to the community.

“We’re just looking for people who share our vision of safe transportation infrastructure,” explained Henry.

If that sounds like you, click here to sign up.