Sioux Falls, SD
Safety for area cyclists continues to be a topic of discussion for both riders and law enforcement, and now there is a plan in place to help keep everyone safer on the roads.
The bike trails in Sioux Falls seemed like the perfect spot for Megan Jerke and her nephew to try out a new bike.
"They're awesome today. The weather is perfect, low traffic. So, it's a perfect day to be out on the trails," Jerke said.
It's where they ride their bikes the most because she doesn't want to deal with any of the dangers that come with riding alongside motorists.
"With traffic, it's not worth the risk for me. So, I truly just stick to the bike trails. I avoid the traffic; I don't even want to risk it," Jerke said.
It's those dangers that have Sioux Falls Police officers taking to the streets in higher numbers. It's part of a coordinated effort to keep everyone safer.
"It's not just about going out there and targeting the violations that occur with the motorists. We're also going to be educating the bicyclists and pedestrians because we all have a stake in this," Lt. Troy Lubbers said.
Officers will be watching over downtown streets, the bike trails and areas around the mall where more people tend to be. You may not even know they're around.
"They won't be in uniform. They'll be walking across the street in plain clothes with a radio making calls to the officers that are waiting down the street," Lubbers said.
That extra effort is enough to make riders like Jerke feel more comfortable riding through the city on two wheels.
"I think it's essential. I think it's great that they're paying attention and taking efforts to keep bikers safe," Jerke said.
"It's been a busy summer for us; we'd like to see those accident numbers go down. That's our goal in this," Lubbers said.
Officers will be focusing in on failure to yield violations, which carry a $120 fine. The extra enforcement will be taking place through the month of August.