Bicycling is a great way to get about and keep fit, and has a low environmental
impact as well. But it’s important that both bicyclists and motorists
stay aware of the need to properly share the road with each other, a fact
that’s highlighted this month during Bicycle Safety Month.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging both bicyclists
and motorists to have a
“safety first” focus. Motorists need to keep an eye out for those on bicycles, while bicyclists
need to stay safe by doing things like wearing helmets and following the
rules of the road.
The message behind this year’s “Safety First” campaign
is an important one. Bicycle injuries and fatalities from motor vehicle
accidents have increased six percent from 2011 to 2012, with 726 bicyclist
fatalists occurring in 2012 and another 49,000 injured as a result of
motor vehicle crashes.
“Safety first” tips for bicyclists include:
- Wearing properly-fitted and certified helmets.
- Traveling in the same direction as vehicular traffic.
- Obeying traffic signs and other rules of the road.
- Riding in a straight line.
- Signalling all turns
- Staying visible through the use of bright or reflective clothing and other gear
- Not riding while distracted or impaired.
Tips for drivers for sharing the road with bicyclists include:
- Respecting designated bicycle lanes.
- Allowing for at least three feet between you and a bicyclist when passing
bicycles on the road.
- Watching out for bicyclists before opening the car door, pulling out of
a parking spot or making turns.
- Yielding to bicyclists at intersections and wherever indicated.
- Not driving while distracted or impaired.
By following these “safety first” tips, both bicyclists and
motorists can share responsibility for making the roads safe for all users.