Let’s Ride Keeping the Road Safe for Cars and Bicycles
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A s the weather changes, more people are outside enjoying the sunshine. This includes a lot more people riding their bicycles. Though I don’t have my bicycle anymore, at one point in time, I would have been out there riding with everyone else. My wife and I loved to ride. We could go 50–60 miles in a single weekend, riding trails and all over town. These days, I’mmore likely to represent people who ride bicycles than ride one myself. In Arizona alone, there are around 2,000 reported bicycle accidents every year. Of these accidents, at least 30 are fatal. With more bicyclists on the road, I want to share some crucial safety tips for people riding their bicycles and those driving their cars. Safety Tips for Bicyclists Stay visible. When riding a bicycle, it’s so important that you are seen by drivers in their cars. Make sure you’re visible to the extreme by making your bicycle stand out more by attaching blinking lights, or stand out by wearing bright colors, especially if you are going to ride your bike around or after dusk. Stay vigilant. Always assume drivers do not see you. If you need to turn or cross at an intersection, make eye contact with nearby drivers so you know they’re aware of you. Most drivers are trained to look for other cars, not bicyclists, so practice defensive biking and be ready to act on a moment’s notice. Have the right equipment. It should go without saying, but always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Head injuries can be costly, and a good bicycle helmet goes a long way toward keeping you safe. You should also make sure your bike is well- maintained. Your bike should be the right height so your feet comfortably touch the ground when stopped, have front and back
brakes so you can stop safely in an emergency, and include a mirror either on your handlebars or attached to your helmet so you can see the cars coming up from behind you. Follow the rules of the road. Bicyclists must follow the same rules on the road that cars do. I know many people ride their bicycles in the opposite direction of traffic because they think the cars will see them better this way. That’s against the rules. You must always ride with traffic on the right side of the road and in a bike lane if possible. Avoid riding on sidewalks. This can put you in danger of being hit by a car pulling out of a driveway. Plan your route before your trip so you can stick to as many roads with bike lanes as possible. Remember that bicycles must stop at stop signs and red lights, just like cars. If you’re stopped at an intersection, I recommend getting off your bicycle and walking it across the crosswalk. This is the best practice for safety purposes, since drivers turning don’t often see bicyclists waiting. Lastly, if you are riding with a group of people, ride single file. Riding side by side reduces the chance of someone being struck by a car if they or the person riding next to them swerves unexpectedly. Safety Tips for Drivers For drivers, there are two big rules: Look for bicycles, and assume they aren’t going to obey the rules. As I mentioned earlier, drivers are trained to look for other cars on the road. When we’re behind the wheel, we often miss bicycles. And because bicycles move much faster than pedestrians on foot, they can come up on us quickly. Drivers often hit bicyclists they swear weren’t there moments ago. When turning or crossing at an intersection, look twice for
“It should go without saying, but always wear a helmet when
riding a bicycle.”
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