Leaders promote bike safety at annual Tour De North End Festival

The event promotes bike safety, wellness and the importance of outdoor recreation.
Published: Sep. 23, 2023 at 10:14 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there have been 24 bicyclist fatal crashes in Illinois as of Saturday. To reduce the number, Tour De North End returns to Rockford to promote biker safety.

Leaders have one thing on their mind Saturday at the 12th annual Tour De North Bike Festival, which is to make sure riders follow all safety procedures.

More than 200 bikers participated in Saturday’s Tour De North in Rockford. The event promotes bike safety, wellness and the importance of outdoor recreation.

“Riding with the rules of the road,” said Zak Rotello, Olympic Tavern general manager. “Everybody who signs up and walks in today gets a Little League of Illinois Bicyclists Rules of the Road pack, we encourage drivers to ride safely on the road with cyclists and give 3 feet, that’s the law.”

“If you’re not watching what’s going on you don’t know what’s going to happen, but you have to be protective, you have to be prepared,” said participant Mike Edgeston.

He says when he first got his bike, his family made sure he was going to wear a helmet.

“You never know when you’ll pass out, you never know when somebody run out in front of a car, car run out in front of you,” Edgeston said.

Robb Sinks, Kegel’s Bicycle Store owner, says when riding in the street, always ride with traffic.

“Never ride against the traffic because you are a vehicle, so ride with traffic because it’s much much safer than riding against it,” he said.

Rotello says he hopes bike safety extends way after the event ends. He says to avoid accidents between cars and bikes, bikers should reach out their local elected officials to encourage them to make biking a regular form of transportation by extending bike paths.

“Connecting those bike paths and connecting the neighborhoods in Rockford and including cycling infrastructure with streets is really important to all of us in the community,” he said.

Sinks says before any bike rides, make sure to check if tires are filled with enough run and run a standard brake and gear check to ensure to get to the destination without any feelings.

For those who are not bikers, the event also served as a block party at Rockford’s North End neighborhood to encourage the community to get outside and explore the neighborhood.