O'Mara Sponsors Legislation to Increase Bike Safety on Roads

SOUTHPORT, N.Y. (WETM-18) – Following the death of a cyclist on a road in Southport in April, State Senator Tom O’Mara is co-sponsoring legislation hoping to prevent it from happening again.

A white bicycle and a cross stand at the intersection of Dutch Hill Road and Hendy Creek Road in Southport, marking the spot where Matt Miller was struck by a car that failed to yield while making a left turn in April.

Now, local legislators are looking to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

Senator Tom O’Mara has co-sponsored legislation to add a bicycle and pedestrian safety component to driver’s education across New York State. Local cyclists say they support the bill.

“It’s an excellent idea because there's too many people driving around that have no idea how to deal with pedestrians and cyclists on the road,” said Paul Kingsbury of Kingsbury Cyclery. “So knowledge is power and it makes it safer for everybody.”

Kingsbury says the most important thing for motorists to remember is to “share the road”. “A bicyclist has the right to use the road, and a motorist needs to pass safely,” said Kingsbury. “They need to allow for at least three feet of passing.”

Cyclists say that there are precautions riders can take while out on the road to protect themselves. “The key is to be visible,” said Kingsbury. “The three things I like is wear something bright and visible, use a mirror so you can tell what's coming up behind you, and then we use lights, front and back, day and night, because if you can attract a motorist's attention then they'll see you.”

Kingsbury says cyclists are just looking to share a safer road. “Hopefully it makes it safer for everybody.”

The legislation must be passed by both houses of the legislature and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo before it becomes law. Sen. O’Mara has said he hopes to have it done by the end of the legislative session.

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