Everyone is Safer when we Share the Road
With summer fast approaching and the school year finally coming to a close, the roads are going to have a bit more traffic on them. Not just families headed to the beach, mind you--but bicycles too. As children are spending their days outside, and families have more time for group activities, you will be sharing the road with bikes and cyclists of all sizes and skill level, which poses a new set of risks and dangers for cars and bikes alike. To keep everyone safe, here are a few tips for everyone to keep in mind.
If you are on a bike, ride with the flow of traffic, not against it.
When walking on a road (something that should be done only when there is no sidewalk available) you should walk against the flow of traffic. On a bike however, you should always ride with the flow of traffic. This will increase your visibility to drivers and make it easier to follow all traffic laws. Bringing us to our second point:
If you are on a bike, follow all traffic laws.
Stop signs, traffic signals, pedestrian crossings, and traffic flow patterns apply to both motor vehicles and bicycles. By following the same traffic laws as the cars around you, you decrease the likelihood of being in a an accident.
If you are passing a bicycle on the road, allow for 4 feet of space.
This is a responsibility that falls both on cyclists and drivers. Only pass a bicycle when it is safe to move over or otherwise allow a safe space to pass them. If you are on a bicycle, be aware of traffic around you, and try to keep to the right when possible to allow the maximum space for cars to pass you.
Be extra cautious of children on bicycles while driving.
Children have less experience on a bicycle than an adult who commutes via bike every day to work. Being that they are at a higher risk for falls, you should reduce speed and give more space when possible when attempting to pass. Additionally, be aware of children on bicycles between cars parked on the side of the road. Because of their size, they may be harder to spot, and may seem to suddenly appear out from in front of a parked car.
If you are on a bike, take the extra steps to increase your visibility.
There are many things that can be done to help make yourself more visible to cars while on a bicycle, and the more visible you are, the less likely you are to be in an accident. Some things you can do include:
Add reflectors to the front, rear, and wheels of your bike
Wear a reflective safety vest
Use a white headlight from dusk until dawn or in poor visibility
Use a red rear light from dusk until dawn or in poor visibility
Use clear, distinct hand signals when turning
Any extra steps in increasing your visibility will help.
And as always, when you are on a bicycle, always wear your helmet.
By working together and being aware of each other, cars and bicycles can safely share the road, keeping everyone safe this summer.