Did you know that almost 48-million Americans ride a bike? In fact, cycling is the most popular physical activity in North America.
So, with so many of us strapping on a helmet and jumping on our bikes, here are some helpful tips so that cyclists and motorists can share the road, safely. Keep in mind, cyclists have the same rights to the road as any other vehicle, and they’re required to follow the same laws as drivers.
WEAR A PROPERLY FITTING HELMET.
Every ride should begin with putting on a helmet. You also need to make sure that it fits. Your helmet should sit low on your forehead, about one to two finger-widths above your eyebrow. To check to see if it’s tight enough, the left and right side straps should form a “Y” and meet right below your ear.
Simply put … dress to be seen. Wear bright, fluorescent clothing. Orange, hot pink, lime green, and neon yellow are good choices. Make sure that you have plenty of reflectors on your bike and clothing. This is especially important at dusk and dawn when most cycling-motor vehicle accidents occur.
Finally, add lights to your bike. Install a headlight that can be visible from 200 to 300 feet away. A blinking taillight will also help you be seen by oncoming motorists.
RIDE IN SINGLE FILE.
Most motorists find that riding two abreast is dangerous, illegal, rude and inconvenient. That said, cycling side-by-side in New York State is legal. However, cyclists must ride single file when being overtaken by other vehicles. Bicyclists may not travel more than two abreast on a shoulder, bicycle lane or shared-use pathway. Cyclists must also be in single file when passing vehicles, pedestrians or other bicyclists.
RIDE WITH THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC.
If you cycle with traffic and the car behind you does not have room to pass, the driver only needs to slow down to your speed until it’s clear to pass. If you ride against traffic, it decreases the driver’s reaction time, leaving only two choices: hit the cyclist, or drive into oncoming traffic.
RIDE DEFENSIVELY … RIDE PREDICTABLY.
Anticipate what other cyclists and motorists will do before they do it. The quicker you notice a potential conflict, the quicker you can act to avoid a potential accident.
Ride where you can be seen and by riding predictably, motorists will have a sense of what you’re going to do and can react in time to avoid any accidents.
OBEY ALL TRAFFIC LAWS, LIGHTS AND SIGNS.
When you come to an intersection, if you don’t have the right of way, you must yield. If you want to change lanes, you must yield to traffic that is in your new lane of travel. Cyclists who violate laws that also apply to motorists, such as going through red lights or making illegal turns, can be subject to tickets and fines.