Healthy has become trendy again and now bicycles are hitting the roads as people make a more economic commute. With this shift, a new element has been adding to driving safely, and both cyclists and drivers must work together to keep the road safe.
On average, 19,000 cyclists are injured and 100 die while on the road each year. In the U.S., 840 cyclists were killed in 2016 in motor vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). Reducing these statistics can happen through safer driver and following these safety tips.
How Drivers Can Help Keep Cyclists Safe
Motorists have a responsibility to share the road with bicycles while driving. Driver should note the vulnerability of cyclists and remember how fatal a collision with a cyclist can be. While many drivers wish cyclists would use the sidewalk, that is, in fact, prohibited by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) unless the cyclist is under the age of 10. Remember that the driver is not entitled to the road: cyclists have as much of a right to the road as a vehicle.
It is also important for drivers to look twice for cyclists before turning left or right onto a road. While this is a normal safety driving procedure, be sure to scan for cyclists as well as cars. It is advised to check before opening your car door when parked on a street as well to avoid opening it onto a cyclist’s path.
Safety Tips For Bicyclists
Cyclists must remember that they are not exempt from traffic laws that apply to motorists. A stop sign, lane rules, the responsibility to look both ways, not driving between two cars at a red light, driving under the influence, and all other road rules apply to those riding bicycles on the road. Cyclists usually have the right of way when on the road but such assumptions may not keep people safe. Therefore, it is important for cyclists to do all within their ability to bike defensively and protect themselves.
Bike lanes are marked with solid white lines, but, if one does not exist, a cyclists must maintain a speed of 20 mph while on the road.
While these tips may sound basic, a surprising number of people unwisely neglect them. Cyclists should:
- Maintain Control Of The Bicycle – Just like driving a car, a cyclist should only use an appropriate sized bicycle. A cyclist unaccustomed to long rides should always build up stamina before attempting a lengthy trip. A tired cyclist can prove as dangerous as a tired driver. Lastly, the bicycle should be monitored to ensure it is in good, operable order.
- Wear A Helmet – Simple head injuries can cause lasting damage. Helmets protect the brain and may even save a cyclist’s life.
- Be Alert – Bicycles are harder to spot and careless drivers pull out of their driveways or open a car door without seeing the cyclist. Therefore, cyclists should always bike wisely, defensively, and evasively never assuming a car will stop or check for them.
- Be Visible – Sometimes, especially at night, motorists may be unable to see a cyclist if he or she does not have the proper equipment. Cars have headlights, and bicycles should have reflections if they are out at night as well as a front lamp. Wearing brightly colored clothes is also advised.
- Communicate Intentions – Bicycles don’t have blinkers, but cyclists should always use handle singles when turning left (hold left hand straight out), right (hold left arm at 90 degree angle) or when slowing down (point left hand down).
- Ride With Traffic – Always ride in the same direction as traffic flow. It easier for motorists to see cyclists
Taking these few preventive measures can help save lives. With bicycling are on the rise, both drivers and cyclists must learn to share the road.
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