Transportation runs Dennis Platt’s life.
Every weekday evening, the 59-year-old Davenport resident rides his bicycle to work in Rock Island, about 7 miles. He then drives a semi overnight to Indiana and back, about a 450-mile round trip. The next morning, within 12 hours of his takeoff, he finishes his commute with a 7-mile bike ride home.
“It’s something I always had wanted to do,” said Platt, referring to his commute on two wheels and his truck-driving lifestyle.
Last Thursday, however, he took a night off. Instead of following his normal routine, Platt used a vacation day to lead an organized night ride through the streets of Rock Island in hopes of educating cyclists and motorists about safely sharing the road.
“We just want people to see how it should be done,” he said, noting recent bike-vehicle accidents in the Quad-Cities, including one last year that resulted in the high-profile death of Robert Moldenhauer, aka “The Can Man.” "We want to be exposed to the traffic."
In Iowa and Illinois, Platt stressed, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists.
“None of this is inherently dangerous if you’re properly lit and following laws,” he said, sporting a neon vest and reflective gear.
Platt began commuting to work in the summer of 2015 after his move from Camanche, Iowa. He rides a Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bike, fully loaded with bright lights, a speaker for music and a tail camera that records traffic behind him.