Gillette Mountain Biking Tips
The open wilderness of Campbell County and Gillette offers a variety of trails and parks to explore by bike. Riders will often jump into gear to enjoy the clear trails and roads, but they should keep in mind all possible safety risks before heading out. Our local trails can be inviting for intrepid explorers, but our roads and highways are a different story and require a clear mind to avoid a serious accident.
Risks in Campbell County
Campbell County is home to several fantastic biking trails and natural landscapes that are extremely enticing to cyclists. The city of Gillette is home to popular trails like Antelope Loop and Red Rock Trail, and just north of us is Burnt Hollow, all of which are preferred by more experienced bikers. In addition, you can easily travel out of Gillette on I-90 to Sundance County to explore Keyhole State Park and bike to the Devil’s National Monument, or head west to Johnson County and discover the Black Hills. While Gillette and Campbell County are ideal for bikers looking to explore Wyoming’s natural wonders, several dangers do exist.
First and foremost, Campbell County is home to Wyoming’s booming coal mining industry, which means we have consistent traffic from big-rigs transporting materials throughout the state. These large vehicles, while incredibly important to our state’s economy, can easily side-swipe cyclists who stray into their blind spots or rear-end them after a sharp turn.
In addition to large trucks, Gillette is a popular stop-over when traveling throughout the rest of Wyoming. Tourists from across the county and around the world pass through Campbell County and may not be familiar with our roadways. They can easily become distracted by the GPS or lose control on a rural road and collide with a mountain biker.
Some choose to forgo taking their own car and join a guided coach tour, but these present many of the same dangers as large trucks. These vehicles can be difficult to control and require a clear head when driving. Sadly, tour bus drivers can become distracted by loud passengers or guides, fatigued due to driving long hours, or driving recklessly to meet strict deadlines. All of these poor driving behaviors can contribute to a traumatic biking accident.
While you cannot control how others drive, mountain bikers in Gillette and Campbell County can take steps to minimize the risk of being involved in a serious accident.
Keeping Safe on Trails and Roads
When heading out for a day of biking in Campbell County, cyclists should have two overlapping mindsets: how to handle themselves on trails and how to handle themselves on roads.
In both scenarios, mountain bikers should make sure their bikes are in top condition, including checking the air pressure, brakes, and chains. Wearing a helmet is invaluable and even letting a friend or family member know where you are going to be for the day can even save your life if you are injured in a hit and run.
For the trails, bikers often get a little bit looser with the rules of the road. While some enjoy a leisurely ride, others like to feel the wind in their hair, try out jumps, and really explore some rough terrains. On intermediate or difficult trails, this can actually be helpful, as riders will need to maintain high speeds to overcome steep hills and need to be able to shift their weight on sharper turns rather than relying on their brakes, which are rather powerful. Braking too hard can cause a rider to lean forward too much and fly off their bike onto a dirt path.
However, mountain bikers need to shift their focus when they get on roads. The wild riding style of the trails can easily get a biker killed on a busy roadway. Instead, treat yourself like any other driver by maintaining a safe distance from motor vehicles, keep to the bike lane where it is safe to do so, obey all the rules of the road, and travel with the flow of traffic. In addition, if you are riding in low light, wear bright clothing and attach reflective gear to your bike to ensure drivers can see you at all times.
When Tragedy Strikes
Sadly, bike accidents are a grave reality in Wyoming. In the most recent years for which statistics are available, there were 408 bike accidents in a five-year span, according to the Wyoming Department of Transportation. These crashes can lead to catastrophic injuries, from brain damage to paralysis. Many times, cyclists were following all the rules of the road and keeping as safe as possible, but they were on the road with a reckless driver who was not concerned with their safety.
If you were cycling in Campbell County and were injured by a negligent driver, contact the Gillette bike accident attorneys at Steven Titus & Associates, P.C. We offer every potential client a free consultation to review their case and discuss their legal options. Once we take on a case, we can begin an in-depth investigation into the accident and aggressively pursue compensation on your behalf. Reach out to us at (307) 257-7800 to secure compassionate and focused legal guidance after a serious injury.
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