Alaska Legislature votes to name Fairbanks-area bike path after cyclist killed by car

By: James Brooks, Alaska Beacon

Rep. Will Stapp, R-Fairbanks, speaks Thursday, May 2, 2024, on Senate Bill 124. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

A proposal to name a Fairbanks-area bike path after a well-known cyclist has become the seventh bill to pass both the House and Senate this year. 

The Alaska House of Representatives voted 39-0 on Thursday to pass Senate Bill 129, naming the path, which is under construction, after Matt Glover.

Glover, an engineer with the Alaska Railroad, was a well-known cyclist and commuted by bike from North Pole to Fairbanks until a driver killed him on the Richardson Highway in 2022.

Currently, the highway is the only cyclable link between North Pole and Fairbanks, but that will change when his namesake bike path is constructed.

The lack of a cycle path has long been a problem for area residents.

Rep. Mike Prax, R-North Pole, lives in the area and said that as a younger man, he used to ride from North Pole to Fairbanks, taking a short-cut through Fort Wainwright, a military installation, “because it was safer.”

Military police eventually caught on.

“I got kicked out of Fort Wainwright and had to push my bicycle out to the Richardson Highway and had to bike on the shoulder, which was less than ideal,” he said.

The Alaska Senate voted without dissent to pass the bill in February. It was originally sponsored by Sen. Robert Myers, R-North Pole, and Myers sat in the House’s gallery Thursday to watch the bill advance to Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s desk.

Rep. Kevin McCabe, R-Big Lake, was absent from the House vote. All other legislators voted in favor of the bill.

Rep. Genevieve Mina, D-Anchorage, said the path shouldn’t just be a recognition of Glover’s life; it should also be “a reminder to drivers and everyone on these streets that bikers are people we need to be cognizant of … It shouldn’t be up to the biker to keep themselves safe; it should be up to everyone.”