Lynda Kirkpatrick wants drivers to be aware of alternative vehicles when out on the streets of Invermere this summer.

Lynda Kirkpatrick wants drivers to be aware of alternative vehicles when out on the streets of Invermere this summer.

Raising the profile of recumbent bikes

Local recumbent cyclist asks drivers to look first.

When Lynda Kirkpatrick took her brand new motorized recumbent bike out for a ride, the last thing she expected was to be nearly run over. But that’s what happened when she rode her bike onto 7th Street on Wednesday, May 23 and was nearly backed into by a driver coming out of the bank.

“It shook me to the core,” Kirkpatrick said. “I didn’t think I’d be able to get back on my bike.”

Kirkpatrick, who has multiple sclerosis, is unable to use a regular bike. The recumbent model, while being motorized, also has the advantage of having three wheels, which gives her better balance. The unfortunate side effect to this is that her mode of transport has a very low profile when out on the streets. She does have a tall flag attached to the bike and is active in using hand signals, but that hardly matters when drivers don’t look behind them when backing up, she said, like this driver failed to do.

“I think it could’ve been avoided if the individual checked behind,” Kirkpatrick said. “If I had a horn, I would’ve honked — I’m going to buy one this weekend.”

In this case, the driver stopped in time, but as Kirkpatrick’s friend Gail Hoffmann pointed out, Kirkpatrick is far from the only person in town who uses this kind of alternative transport.

According to Hoffmann, Kirkpatrick thought she had finally found some liberty to go places and be able to get home on her own, but this specific episode scared her quite badly.

“They want to be part of the public too,” Hoffmann said.

For her part, Kirkpatrick has been out on the bike since, and said that while the vast majority of drivers have been exceedingly courteous, she’s going to try and avoid the busier streets when at all possible.

“[Have] caution. Look,” she said, “because there are other vehicles on the road that are not as high as you, so please look.”

 

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