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Death of local teacher brings attention to biker safety

Local bike commuter speaks on what he does to bike safely around town
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Posted at 5:01 PM, Oct 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-12 12:31:56-04

Updated - 10/12/2022:

Bozeman Police confirmed that Kelly Fulton was wearing a helmet during the deadly crash.

First report - 10/11/2022:

BOZEMAN — Following the tragic death of Bozeman High School teacher Kelly Fulton, bikers around the community are questioning their safety on roads around town. Local Mountain Biker James Erickson says he tries his best to stay off the roads of Bozeman as much as he can.

"I live outside of town now, and there's no safe road really for me to ride to get into town," says Erickson, "You know, traffic is going 55 miles an hour on those roads and there's no shoulder or anything."

The manager of Owenhouse Cycling, Tom Johnson, has been commuting on his bike for 25 years. He says the traffic on roads around Bozeman has definitely changed and it is extremely important to pay attention and wear a helmet.

“I wear a helmet every day," says Johnson, "And so people, even though they're just commuting in town doing 10 miles an hour or whatever that number is, they don't wear a helmet.”

Johnson also says defensive cycling is very important. He emphasizes how important it is to not assume that a car will stop for you and to hesitate before crossing the road.

“Stoplight, stop signs, don't assume they're going to stop. I always play defensively or ride defensively. And almost delay before I walk across the street,” says Johnson.

He also wants people to know that regular bikes are not the only thing to look out for when driving. Electric bikes can be very deceiving to drivers due to their speed.

“As a driver, you see a biker everything's a good reference point to the old bike category," says Johnson, "But now as you have the electric bikes, don't assume he's just pedaling at eight he can cover that distance a lot quicker.”

Bikers like Erickson are definitely rethinking where they should bike following the tragic death of beloved high school teacher, Kelly Fulton.

“And the scary part is on that road, right? It's as easy and so fast that if somebody doesn't see you, you know, a chance of losing your life is so much higher,” said Erickson.