LONGVIEW (KYTX) - Riding a bike is a great way to stay in shape, but it can also be extremely dangerous. Two cyclists have been hospitalized in Longview in less than a month after being hit by cars. One long-time bike rider said car drivers and cyclists both need to take a certain cautious approach while on the road.
Tom Seabourne has been cycling for 30 years. He has competed in many long-distance cycling races and is also the Guinness World Record holder for riding a bike 185 straight hours. When he was riding about six to seven hours a day, he certainly rode defensively.
"It's not if I'm going to get hit, it's when," Seabourne said. "You talk about defensive driving in a car, well on a bike, you have to be ten times the defensive driver that you are in a car."
Seabourne has been hit by a car four times total, being sent to the hospital once.
"I was hit on highway 67," Seabourne said. "It was a 94-year-old man. He hit me from behind, and I flew onto the hood into the windshield, then off into the grass. I was knocked unconscious, waking up in the hospital. I had a broken fibula and a cracked tibia."
In the span of just three weeks, Longview has seen two bike riders hit by cars and hospitalized. Seabourne said this is a lot for just three weeks time.
"Many times, cyclists are paralyzed because they realize, especially if they're in traffic, if they make the wrong move, they could die," Seabourne said. "They could be fatally injured."
As a cyclist, Seabourne said there's one simple approach drivers can take to make everyone safer.
"Simply give some space," Seabourne said. "What a lot of cyclists will do is they will take up the whole lane just so you make sure to give them space. Again, I can't emphasize enough to give a cyclist space, that's all we ask for."
Seabourne strongly encourages cyclists to use rear-view mirrors in some way.
"This mirror has saved my life," Seabourne said, pointing to the rear-view mirror on his sunglasses. "It easily attaches to the sunglasses. It's easy to clean. The great thing is you can see everything that's happening behind you."
For car drivers, Seabourne said it is important to realize the protection cyclists don't have.
"When you're in a car, you have a couple thousand pounds of weight around you that's going to protect you," Seabourne said. "On a bike, you have nothing to protect you."
Seabourne also says no matter what time of the day it is, bike riders should always try to wear bright colors, such as yellow or orange.