Did you know that May is National Bike Month? Biking is a popular activity across the country, not only is it a great way to exercise, it is also good for the environment and your budget! However, biking can also be dangerous, especially in highly populated environments and busy roads. In honor of Bike Month, we’ve found some tips for bikers and drivers sharing the road to make sure that both parties are as safe as possible.
Bikers and drivers may not like to share the road, but it is a reality of our everyday lives and being informed could save a life! Bikers have more mobility on the roads than drivers which can make their presence extremely dangerous. They also have less protection from the elements, and if they get hit by a car the outcome will be much worse for them than it would be for someone enclosed in their steel car. Whether you are in your car or on a bike, following these tips will make sure the road is as safe as possible for all.
- Follow the law. Bikers are subject to the same rules as drivers when it comes to stop signs and traffic signals. Biker’s also need to ride with traffic and stay in the far right lane in relation to the direction they’re traveling.
- Be alert to your own surroundings as well as others. Don’t forget that someone in a car has no idea what your next move will be. Signal turns as early as you would if you were driving, and always be sure to check behind you for oncoming traffic when changing lanes. Try not to swerve between parked cars, it’s better to stay in view of all cars on the road. Try to anticipate their next move as well! Watch out for turning vehicles and avoid riding outside of the door zone on parked cars.
- Stay conspicuous, wear bright colors and reflective gear if possible whenever you ride. Making sure a driver sees you is the first step in making sure they don’t hit you.
- Stay off of the sidewalk! It may seem safer than the road but is actually one of the leading causes of crashes.
- Make sure that your bike is in tip top shape before taking it out for a ride. Check the tires, make sure that the chain is smooth, and check the handle brakes if necessary. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared by carrying around small tools for emergency repairs as well!
- Wear a helmet! Not all dangers on the road come from cars, accidents happen and even the most skilled cyclist can have an unexpected fall.
- Slow down! Don’t make any sudden moves or honk your horn, these distractions could cause a frightened biker to accidentally swerve into the road.
- When passing a biker, stay atleast 3 feet away from them to make sure you don’t accidently clip them. This may mean that you have to move into the opposite lane slightly, so make sure that there are no cars coming.
- Although all bikers can be unpredictable, kids are especially dangerous. Keep a sharp eye on them, especailly if you are trying to pass them.
- Always check for bicyclists when turning a corner or in a busy neighborhood, they move fast and can be hard to see.
Keep these rules in mind every month of the year! Although bike month will come to an end, it is a great reminder of the rules we should all be following when sharing the road!
Photo By: Martin Cathrae