Local bikers ride to the capitol for safety awareness

8:14 PM, Mar 26, 2013   |    comments
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Biker on Freedom Parkway (Photo: Atlanta Business Chronicle)

(WXIA) -- Atlanta commuters may have noticed hundreds of bikers heading to the state capitol on Tuesday morning.

The ride was to raise awareness of safety for those who ride bikes to get around.

Atlanta cyclist Ryan Barnett remembers a horrifying experience - an evening accident on a beautiful summer day that almost cost the man his life. He was run over by a truck.

"I grew up riding bikes here in Atlanta and raced to the professional level and was hit by a car by in 2008," Barnett said.

The biker told 11Alive he was paralyzed from the chest down, and suffered a cracked skull, pelvis and ribs. Barnett spent nearly two months going through rehab at the Shepherd Center.  

Barnett, also a family man was at the top of his game - competing around the country. Now, he is bound to a wheelchair, making it his mission to get the word out to those on the road about the dangers that could lie on the road.

"Whether it be bicyclists or motorcyclists or anyone, drivers today just aren't paying attention to what they are doing," Barnett said.

He was among the hundreds of cyclists who took part in the 2013 Ride to the Capitol.

Barnett said, "Obviously, what we are out here doing is to promote the fact that we need bike lanes and bicycle and pedestrian paths that are out of the beaten path."

Barnett is now training for the United States Paralympics Nordic Skiing competition.

In 2012 here in Georgia, there were 685 crashed - 545 injuries and 19 fatalities - all of them involving bicycles.

Another participating Atlanta cyclist was Brandon Vaughan. He said cyclists are now investing in cameras.

According to Vaughan, "A lot of cyclists are also using it as a safety feature now. So, if something happens to them out on a ride - now they have proof of what happened."



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