Bicycle Safety Tips
Now that warmer weather has arrived in the Northeast, people are taking advantage of the ability to move activities outdoors. Young and older people are using their bicycles for commuting to work or school, or just going out for a few hours of touring to enjoy the sights.
It's important to remember a few basic rules of the road when riding a bike, or driving a vehicle around bicycle riders. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the following safety tips for bicyclists and vehicle drivers:
BICYCLISTS SHOULD PREPARE BEFORE HEADING OUT
- Ride a bike that fits you—if it's too big, it's harder to control the bike.
- Ride a bike that works—it really doesn't matter how well you ride if the brakes don't work.
- Wear equipment to protect you and make you more visible to others, like a bike helmet, bright clothing (during the day), reflective gear, and a white front light and red rear light and reflectors on your bike (at night, or when visibility is poor).
- Drive with the flow, in the same direction as traffic.
- Obey street signs, signals, and road markings, just like a car.
- Watch for pedestrians and pass with care by first announcing "on your left" or "passing on your left", or use a bell
- Slow and look for traffic (left-right-left and behind) when crossing a street from a sidewalk; be prepared to stop and follow the pedestrian signals and slow down and look for cars backing out of driveways or turning.
WHEN DRIVING A VEHICLE
- Yield to bicyclists as you would motorists and do not underestimate their speed. This will help avoid turning in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway.
- In parking lots, at stop signs, when packing up, or when parking, search your surroundings for other vehicles, including bicycles.
- Drivers turning right on red should look to the right and behind to avoid hitting a bicyclist approaching from the right rear. Stop completely and look left-right-left and behind before turning right on red.
- Obey the speed limit, reduce speed for road conditions and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.
- Give cyclists room. Do not pass too closely. Pass bicyclists as you would any other vehicle—when it's safe to move over into an adjacent lane.