Wyoming Ranks 36th Most Bike Friendly State in Nation

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After the death of a bicyclist hit by a truck in downtown Casper last week, another accident leaves a Sheridan woman in critical condition over the weekend.

Wyoming has dropped 25 spots in just four years in ranking of the most bike-friendly states in the country, .

Casper Offcials and bicycle shop owners say population growth plays a large role in the increase in bicyclist injuries.

Wyoming is now ranked 36th most bike-friendly state in the country. Which comes as a surprise compared to the 11th place ranking in 2010. A local bicycle shop owner thinks he knows why.

Roy Buck, Ragged Edge Sports says, "you have more cars mixed with more bicycles equals more injuries and accidents."

A neurosurgeon is quoted in an online article saying helmets worn by bicyclists are useless and too flimsy to be beneficial.

However, a local bicycle shop owner disagrees..

Buck says, "around 700 people that are killed every year on bicycles, over 90% of those were not wearing helmets."

And as important as helmets are to bicyclists , it's equally important for drivers to be aware of their surroundings.

Ofc. Joe Nickerson of Casper PD says, "for drivers and motor vehicles, it's summer time, we're enjoying our nice warm weather. So, there's going to be more pedestrians and more bicyclists out, so you need to pay extra close attention at your intersections and just all over."

Buck says, "a helmet will only do so much. A helmet is designed for a bicycle rider who is coming off the bike and having an impact with the ground. Not necessarily a 3,000 or 4,000 ton vehicle striking you, where a helmet may not make any difference."

Buck suggests something needs to be done to reduce the number of bicycle accidents in Wyoming.

"We need to be moving forward with bike specific lanes, where bikes can travel separate from cars."

Officer Nickerson says there are certain additional steps bicyclists should take when riding at night.

"At night time for bicyclists, you have to have an illuminated head lamp as well as at least a rear reflector or light on the rear of the bicycle as well to be visible."

Ofc. Nickerson wants to remind bicyclists, even when riding in a bike lane, to obey all traffic laws just as you would driving a motor vehicle.

Officials also say bicyclists should always use hand signals when making turns and ride defensively.