The death of Wade Franck in a bicycle-car crash involving an allegedly intoxicated driver was senseless, violent, and random. Wade likely inspired thousands of people to ride bicycles from his career in the bicycle industry. He was known for his love of detail, history, and cycling caps. The crash has everyone in our community searching for answers.
The media explored several angles by asking questions about event permits and bike lanes. Forum commenters brought up tired and absurd arguments about taxes and rights to the road. The cycling community was mortified by the notion that someone could try to place blame on victim or event organizers for being in the way of a dangerous driver. Especially when reports surfaced about a driver with an extensive criminal record and one barred from driving.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that people who love bicycling are upset. This has happened before. It has happened so many times that we keep a list of the crashes on our website. An annual Ride of Silence is held in the US including, multiple Iowa cities, to remember the victims.
We need Iowa motorists to drive safely. We cannot endure one more death or injury at the hands of a dangerous, drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted motorist. We need to everyone to drive sober, slow down, focus on the road, and stay alert while driving.
Iowa has a program called Vision Zero that preaches safe driving to end traffic fatalities. Zero traffic fatalities. You may have seen the numbers of fatal crashes on message boards along Interstate highways.
It is going to take more than quirky safety messages to reduce fatalities to zero. While the Vision Zero program isn’t specific to bicycles, it is a good place to start eliminating the three to five traffic deaths per year involving bicyclists. We are going to need a paradigm shift in our driving habits, transportation system, and enforcement strategies in order to prevent more cyclists from being run over and killed. We need to get serious about traffic safety and Wade Franck’s death should be a call to action to make these tragedies end.