KANSAS CITY — A bicyclist is recovering from injuries after being hit by a car on the Heart of America Bridge. Police say the cyclist was riding in the roadway instead of on a trail that runs alongside the bridge.
Police say a car going about 40 miles an hour hit a cyclist traveling in the far right northbound traffic lane on the Heart of America bridge. It happened when it was still dark, just after 6:00 a.m. on Monday morning.
With a trail protected by a concrete barrier only a few feet away, some might be surprised that a cyclist would choose to ride with motorized vehicles. The trail was designed to prevent accidents like this one.
“One thing I believe drives people out of that particular lane into the roadway is the fact there are some maintenance issues to be concerned about,” said Eric Bunch of Bike Walk KC. “Typically broken glass, other debris from the road, tends to collect right there in the bike lane, and it doesn’t have a way out.”
The city’s bicycle pedestrian coordinator declined our request for an on-camera interview but told us cyclists are not required to use the trail when crossing the bridge and have as much right to travel in the traffic lanes as any other vehicle.
Rider Roger Parrish crosses the bridge three or four times a week for the last eight years. He always uses the trail but says he remembers what it was like without it.
“Scary,” Parrish said. “You just had to get on the bridge and get across. And I would walk also if I didn’t have a bike at the time, I would walk across that bridge.”
The trail is 2 years old and was designed to make crossing the river safer. A FOX 4 News crew did not see a lot of glass or debris that would prevent cyclists from using it. And some trail users don’t understand why they still see bicycles out in the roadway.
“It keeps me safe,” said David Harmore, a trail user. “As far as people riding their bikes out there, I don’t know what they’re thinking or anything.”
Advocates for pedestrians and cyclists say there need to be more safe crossings over the Missouri River. Police have not yet released the name of the cyclist injured in the accident.