Local Scenes Stuff

Cyclist Killed in Anniston

This story has been the talk of the town today.  This morning cyclist Derek Thomas Jensen, 37 was riding along Golden Springs Rd. or the Anniston Eastern Bypass when a pickup truck driven by Ethan Norton, 22 hit him.  Two nurses going to work stopped and tried to save Jensen but they were unsuccessful.  Derek Jensen died on the side of the road after being struck by a truck.  And today a makeshift memorial was put up by someone in honor of Derek Thomas Jensen.  Even after the rain today you can still see the orange line markings from the investigation.

Jensen was the external affairs director of the Center for Domestic Preparedness at the former Fort McClellan.  He was married and the couple had three children.  Jensen used to be a reporter for The Deseret News and a spokesman for the Utah Department of Homeland Security.  He also used to work for a FEMA office in Denver and he rode a bike to work every day.  And when he moved to Anniston he continued to ride a bike to work daily.  And that was what he was doing this morning when he was killed.  Some of his most famous reporting include the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping.  And all of his friends have said that Jensen was a good friend and had so much potential to do more.

Read more about this story from the Anniston Star here: http://www.annistonstar.com/view/full_story/18981744/article-Bicyclist-struck-by-truck–killed-in-Golden-Springs?instance=home_lead_story

I want to talk about why the cyclist was killed today.  Jensen was riding on Golden Springs Rd.  A very busy 4-lane highway that will be part of the new Anniston Eastern Bypass.

As you can see there are no shoulders on the road.  And there is no room to get over because of the curb.  And when I witness regularly the drivers going too fast and doing crazy things on the road.  It is no surprise that a cyclist was killed today.  Another road that is like Golden Springs Rd. is Greenbrier Dear Rd.  It is a 4-lane road with curbs and lots of crazy drivers.

If a cyclist wants to come from Anniston toward Golden Springs and eastern Calhoun County.  They are left with hardly any choices except for riding on busy 4-lane highways with curbs and no room for error.  Roads like Henry Rd., Greenbrier Dear Rd, Snow St., and Hamric Dr. U.S. 78 are all busy highways which cyclists have no business riding on.

If Anniston/Oxford wants to become the eco-friendly area that it wants to be it needs to invest in bike paths, bike lanes, and sidewalks so people walking and riding their bikes do not have to contend with busy highway traffic and even risk their lives.  I live off Greenbrier Dear Rd. and I have witnessed cyclists and pedestrians walking and riding on the wrong side of the road and even crossing the road with traffic coming at them.  And I have also seen drivers act like idiots when encountering cyclists and pedestrians.

With the Chief Ladiga Trail and the Coldwater Mountain Bike Trails now in our area people with bikes will want to explore more of what we have.  And that means we better get used to seeing more cyclists on our roads.  And unless we want to keep hearing news of cyclists getting hurt or killed along busy highways we need to invest in ways to keep cyclists off of the busy roads.  It is sad that Derek Thomas was killed today.  But our community can honor his memory by building bike trails, sidewalks, and bike paths along the busy roads like Greenbrier Dear Rd., Golden Springs Rd., Quintard Ave., Hamric Dr. U.S. 78, and others.  Let’s hope our community can come together and make that happen!

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