Flat 50 shares safety message while attracting hundreds of cyclists to Hancock County

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. – A major event is attracting hundreds of cyclists to Hancock County. It’s also highlighting what can be done to keep bicyclists safe while on the road.

The Hancock Flat 50 organizers have a very specific message. Their hope is that you think twice the next time you see a biker on the road.

“We need to be doing our part, we need to be following all of the safety rules and laws,” said Laura Baker, a cyclist and a co-chair of the Flat 50 Steering Committee.

Just two weeks ago, a cyclist was killed in Greenfield, and in 2010 an officer patrolling on a bike was hit and killed.

“It was a tragic accident,” said Amanda Everidge, the co-chair of Flat 50 Steering Committee, “Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon here or across the state or across the country as we have more folks on the road together and trying to share that space."

Everidge and Baker never want to see tragedies like that happen again. Baker’s husband even had a close call recently.

“He swerved and missed him, but the wind and various things pushed him off of the road,” said Baker.

Their message is clear: "Share the road."

It’s right on the back of their jerseys.

“As we get more cyclists on the road, people become more aware,” said Baker.

The Hancock Flat 50 team and close to 400 other cyclists are sharing the rules of the road to prevent tragedies ahead of their event on August 24.

Everidge says the first step to safety is having the right gear.

“Wearing my bright colored clothing, having my lights on the front and back of the bicycle, the side mirror so I can see who’s approaching from behind,” said Everidge.

Everidge and Baker want both bicyclists and drivers to eliminate the distractions, be aware of the laws and pass with care.

According to Indiana State Police here are a few safety tips to keep in mind.

Safety Tips for Drivers:

  • Slow down in or near residential areas and playgrounds
  • Make room when you are approaching bicyclists, be patient and wait until it's safe before passing
  • Give way and travel at a safe distance behind bicyclists
  • Take extra care at night and during wet conditions

Safety Tips for Bicyclists:

  • Wear a properly fitted helmet every time you ride
  • Check your bicycle for safety. Use the ABC quick check: Air-check your tire's air pressure, Brakes-check brakes to make sure they work, Chain-make sure it is tight and oiled

“As you pass a cyclists, if there’s a safe opportunity to allow three feet between you and the cyclist,” said Everidge.

Police in Hancock County are also stepping up patrols for the Flat 50.

Last year, Hancock County adopted a comprehensive trails plan. Their goal is to create spaces for people to walk and ride safely.

The Hancock Flat 50 is a cycling fundraiser through Hancock County. Two route options include a 25 and 50 mile route. Event festivities include live entertainment and food. The ride starts August 24 at 9:00 a.m.

The Hancock Flat 50 website reads:

"Participating in this ride is a great way to get active for your health with friends and family, accomplish something physically challenging, support your community, connect with other cycling enthusiasts, and most of all, have a blast afterward at the event festivities!"

To register and learn more about the Hancock Flat 50, click here.

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