Mackey teaches bike safety | NevadaAppeal.com

Mackey teaches bike safety

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

After 25 years in the military, including a three-month tour in Somalia during the conflict there, any job seems tame to 53-year-old Bruce Mackey.

“As long as I’m not getting shot at or rained on, I’m pretty happy,” he said.

Although no longer in combat, Mackey is still working to make the world, or at least his little piece of it, safer.

As the state’s bicycle and and pedestrian safety officer, Mackey teaches community leaders how to keep the streets safe.

“I love it,” he said. “It can save lives.”

Mackey compared his job to that of ancient elders who warned villagers of the dangers posed by crocodiles in nearby waters.

“Fast forward that 3,000 years and you have streets all filled with cars. We have to teach our children how to avoid being injured or killed,” he said. “We don’t just say, ‘Watch out for crocodiles.’ That’s not good enough.”

He teaches classes open to teachers, law enforcement officials and other community representatives who later teach children and adults the rules of the road.

And he has his own code of rules he lives by.

A poster in his office reads, “Eat right. Get lots of sleep. Drink plenty of fluids. Go like hell.”

And he does.

During Easter weekend, he and his wife of 31 years, Linda, rode a tandem bike in a 75-mile metric century bike race.

When he’s not racing, he’s riding for fun. One of his favorite rides is to Genoa and back.

“It’s wonderful,” he said. “Five minutes outside of Carson City, you’re in the countryside — it’s just beautiful.”

He first started biking 25 years ago while in the Army stationed in Monterey, Calif., and has since met biking legends Eddy Murcyx and Greg LeMonde and has pictures with both.

“Someone told me there was a way you could get fit sitting down,” he said. “I said, ‘That’s the sport for me.'”

Mackey spent 25 years in the military where he earned a master’s degree in national security affairs from the Naval Post Graduate School. He served 10 years in embassies in the Middle East including Yemen, Tunisia and Jordan.

After the military, he was a professor of political science and international relations until he moved to Carson City in 1998 to take over as safety officer.

He and Linda have three children Heather, 26, and twins, Robert and Matthew, 23. They have one infant grandson, Kaden.

“They’re all college graduates, employed and married,” he said. “My job is done.”

His next bicycling class will be May 16-18 in Building 107 of the Stewart Complex.