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Renewed awareness can prevent next tragedy

By Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

I almost hit a bicyclist the other day. I was driving at dusk near City Park. Pausing at a stop sign, I began turning right. The biker suddenly appeared in my headlights. I hit the brake pedal — horrified. All I saw was the biker’s rear blinkie as he or she continued north on North 14th Street toward Aggieville and the K-State campus.

I’m also a bicyclist with decades of experience riding two wheels, so my horror was doubled. That could have been me on that bike.

Bicyclists and friends will remember Mark Jilka this Thursday near a “Ghost Bike” erected at the place where he was struck by a vehicle and killed while riding along K-177 at 7:30 p.m. last Thursday. (That could have been me on that bike too.) Riders will depart Blue Earth Plaza at 7 p.m. and ride three miles south to the site.

Besides Mark, our thoughts and prayers will be his family and friends. We’ll also be praying for Derik Kesler of Rossville, reported as the driver of the truck that struck Mark, as well as his family and friends. Any one of us could have been behind the wheel of that motor vehicle.  

Anguish always accompanies tragedy. But so can awareness. Drivers, your vehicles outweigh bicycles at least 10 to 1. Eyes on the road. Look twice. Avoid rushing. 

Bikers, be seen. Use caution. When it’s dark, wear light-colored clothing, use lights both front and rear and consider side reflectors. You are not pedes-trians.

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