Ohio man dies after bicycle crash on Big Mountain Road


Ohio man dies after bicycle crash on Big Mountain Road 7-28-14

KALISPELL, Mont. - New details in a bicycle crash in Whitefish have been released.

Officials say 69-year-old Daniel Schoedinger of Columbus, Ohio, died while riding his bike on the lower part of Big Mountain Road.

According to witnesses, Schoedinger had to brake unexpectedly when a car turned into a driveway ahead of him.

Hans Axelsen has been riding his bicycle in the Flathead for 13 years. He commutes 20 miles to work some days and rides in his free time.

He didn't even have to see the road where Sunday's deadly wreck happened to know just how dangerous it can be.

Axelsen says on roads like Big Mountain Road, where the accident occurred, a 3-foot-wide berth should be between the motorist and the cyclist to ensure that the cyclist has a clear and safe path.

"When you're down-hilling down Big Mountain, you can reach very high speeds -- 40-plus miles per hour, if you want -- very easily.  Cornering above 35 on a road bike can be fairly treacherous," Axelsen said.

Officials say Schoedinger, who had a part-time home on Big Mountain, was an experienced cyclist.

We drove up and down the road in Whitefish to get a feel for it. It has sharp curves and turns and is steep at certain parts.

We also had Axelsen show us some of the dangers of riding a bike through an urban setting, which he says can be more dangerous than highways or back roads.

"Watch for the light.  If I was going to be turning left, then I would probably get in the inner left lane, use a hand signal and then turn with traffic as traffic is flowing," said Axelsen.

Axelsen says he believes that motorists and cyclists should educate themselves on the rules of the road to ensure safety for everyone.

"It's important that all of us can enjoy the roads and views that we have around here safely," Axelsen said.

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