Lincoln, Neb.-- As students returned to campus for fall semester, the amount of bicycles on the roads have increased, meaning more opportunities for a dangerous crash with a vehicle.
Tom Hanthorn has been cycling for eight years, and knows all too well how scary sharing a street with drivers can be.
"I've had one actual accident," Hanthorn said, "thankfully, no injuries. The other close calls are probably too numerous to count."
Although an avid cyclist, Hanthorn said it's not just poor or inattentive drivers that are to blame.
"Cyclists are too often inexperienced," Hanthorn said, "and motorists too often don't follow the rules of the road."
Hanthorn said cyclists will often fail to follow or understand the rules of the road, and that these incidents are a problem on city trails, streets and the highways.
Hanthorn says cyclists need to understand the rules of the road, signal their turns and keep their head on a swivel.
"Insisting on the right of way is not a good argument when you're a 200 pound cyclist going up against a two-thousand pound SUV," Hanthorn said.
The Nebraska Department of Roads shows that bicycle related fatality accidents have steadily decreased over the last two decades, and there were zero fatalities in 2012.
Although bicycle related injuries have also decreased the last two decades, they've stayed fairly consistent since 2001, fluctuating from 294 in 2001 to 328 in 2012.
Though police are still crunching the numbers to see how many bicycle related injury crashes have occurred since UNL's fall semester began, police say any time you increase population in a given area, the chances of these types of crashes increase.
Police say inattentiveness by both cyclists and drivers are to blame.
Hanthorn said that as a driver and cyclist, he has seen this inattentiveness from both parties.
He said drivers often don't look out for cyclists, so cyclists need to take extra care to ensure their safety on the roads and city trails.
"Take a steady, straight path," Hanthorn said.
"Make yourself visible. But, most of all, be predictable. If you're wobbling around and weaving in between traffic lanes, you're going to cause trouble."