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Bike vs. Car Wrecks Turn Focus to Safety for Cyclists

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Springfield police believe they've solved a fatal hit and run involving a car and bicycle.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Springfield police believe they've solved a fatal hit and run involving a car and bicycle.

Shannon Smith is charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

Sunday night, 23-year-old Zachary Gibson died at Kimbrough and Bear Boulevard after being run over while riding his bike. 

Investigators found Smith's car on Monday, she was picked up in Buffalo Tuesday night.

A car hit another bicyclist on Division Street on Wednesday morning.

Two collisions in one week has the cycling community buzzing.

Cyclist Patrick Martin is getting into the holiday spirit.

"I have Christmas lights on my bike," he said.

But they're not just for spreading cheer.

He wants to make sure that he's visible to cars on his five mile ride into work.

"I have one or two headlights and then I have my tail light," he said.

Martin has been hit by a car while riding his bike, so he takes every precaution he can.

For visibility he said something critical for commuter cyclists is a mirror.

"I have my backpack which is bright yellow and it has reflective stuff on the back and then I have a reflective shirt that I wear," he said.

According to Principal Planner Natasha Longpine with Ozarks Transportation Organization, Martin is avoiding a major mistake made by cyclists, not being visible.

"If you're a bicyclist it's really important that you're seen, drivers really aren't looking for you," she said.

She said another mistake cyclists make is not following rules of the road.

"Slow down when you come to intersections, obey the traffic laws," she said.

"Being aware on both sides, cyclists need to follow the rules just like a car if they're going to ride on the streets," Martin said.

Longpine hopes drivers also take responsibility for ensure safety of cyclists.

"Being more aware that there are bicyclists and pedestrians and there are other people on the road that aren't necessarily in the protection of a car," she said.

People like Martin, one of an increasing number of Missourians choosing to hit the road on two wheels.
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