Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles and must follow the same rules of the road when cycling as they do when driving a car.
Traffic laws help predict actions. Cyclists have to stay on the right side of the road except on two way bike paths, stop for stop signs and red lights, signal turns, be sober and yield to right of way traffic. Never ride without a helmet.
With beautiful weather upon us and plenty of tourists already showing up in our region, the roads are busy. We’ve put together a few tips to keep you safe as a cyclist.
Assume You Are Invisible
Motorists are tuned to other motor vehicles on the road. Not so much to cyclists. Make yourself easy to see and hear. Bicycles are the smallest and quietest vehicles on the road. Have a working bell or horn to announce yourself. Use reflective tape, reflectors and a front light. Wear bright clothing. Think orange, lime green, bright red and yellow. You need to be visible from all directions.
You Need to Hear
Lose the music and cell phone until you are off your bike. It’s important to hear what’s around you. If you’re listening to music, texting or talking on your cell phone you definitely increase your accident risk. You need both of your hands free if you have to brake suddenly.
Make Eye Contact
Whenever possible make eye contact with drivers. If you do this you know they’ve seen you and your place on the road.
Know what’s behind you, in front of you and coming at you. Watch out for loose gravel, potholes, parked cars, sewer grates and cracks in the road. Never expect the right of way. Watch those parked cars for sudden door openings. Always use hand signals.
Keep your brakes in A-1 condition. Weather and road conditions can impact your ability to brake.
Don’t pull any surprises on motor vehicles. Never thread in and out of traffic or parked cars. Don’t veer into a crosswalk and then suddenly appear on the road again. Being consistent will reduce your chances of being squeezed out of traffic or getting hit.
Joining the Traffic
If you join the traffic because it’s necessary, don’t ever pass on the right. This is particularly dangerous at an intersection. Position yourself directly behind a motor vehicle so that you can see the car’s signals.
Motorists and cyclists can share the road. Just remember that motorists need to see you to prevent accidents. Do everything you can to be visible, be heard and have all of your senses fully engaged.