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Portage city officials looking for ways to make roads more safe in wake of deadly crashes

Portage city officials looking for ways to make roads more safe in wake of deadly crashes

PORTAGE, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - As police continue their investigations into two deadly crashes on Portage roads, city officials are renewing their efforts to promote safety on their streets.

Late last month, 7-year-old Nic Moehle was hit and killed crossing a street during summer camp.

Just this week, 20-year-old Jeremy Smith died when a driver hit him from behind as he rode his bike near the Pfizer plant on Portage Road.

Newschannel 3 spoke to Patricia Randall, a Portage City Councilmember and bicycle enthusiast, who hopes these tragedies will lead to change.

"I grieve for everybody," Randall said.

Monday evening's bicycle crash that killed 20-year-old Jeremy Smith, which came just days after a 7-year-old boy was struck and killed by a car on 12th Street, has left local cyclists saddened and city officials compelled to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

"It's a tragedy; I hope we can learn from this. There is no way to undo what has been done. But I think going forward less distracted driving would be a step in the right direction," Randall said.

Randall knows safety is everyone's responsibility on the road--especially in Portage, a city popular with cyclists.

"It's a group of people that like to get together and do an activity; I have biked for 10 years. My parents biked across the United States at the age of 60," she said.

As a council member and avid cyclist, Randall says earlier this year the council passed an ordinance in hopes of fostering an environment of safety for all motorists.

"The ordinance with the five foot passing. The thought behind that was its a statewide movement. And if a bicyclist has falls who is in the bike path, they need five-foot clearance to not get run over by a car," she said.

Randall is making it clear there is only one solution.

"We really need to share the roads, that is what the law is," she said.

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