8 Ways You Can Make Roadways Safer For Both Motorists & Bicyclists This Spring
As warmer weather drives more cyclists to the streets, the risk to cyclists increases exponentially. Though cycling accounts for only 1% of all trips in the United States, they face a much higher risk of crash-related injuries than occupants in motor vehicles. Driving and cycling safely is everyone’s responsibility, so before you hit the road, take some basic precautions to reduce your risk and make the roads safer.
- Respect bike lanes. Whether you’re a cyclist or a motorist, always obey posted signage and painted lines for bike lanes. Everyone following the rules is the best way to reduce accidents because it increases your predictability. The more predictable you are, the easier you are to avoid. If you’re a cyclist, come to a full stop at stop signs and traffic lights, and if you’re a motorist, give bike lands plenty of room and only merge into them at designated turning areas.
- Don’t drive your car in a bike lane. Just don’t do it. Parking in a bike lane is also very dangerous because it requires cyclists to veer around parked cars into oncoming traffic.
- Wear proper gear. For cyclists, wearing reflective clothing helps you be more visible to motorists, which gives them more time to react to you. Reflective vests and gear are essentials for driving on the road, so make yourself as bright and shiny as you can get.
- Use lights. We recommend that vehicles turn their lights on at dusk and keep them on until mid-morning. The goal is to make your vehicle as easy to see by motorists and cyclists as possible. Furthermore, bikes should always use lights on their bikes when they cycle at night. Both front and back facing lights can literally save your life on the road, so don’t go out at night without them.
- Take extra care at sundown and sunup. For the same reason, both cyclists and motorists need to increase their awareness at times of low light when the sun is low against the horizon. Glare and low light make for dangerous riding and driving conditions, so be extra alert.
- Wear your sunglasses. To reduce the risk of glare causing an accident, always wear proper eye protection when you’re driving or cycling. Biking-specific eye protection is a good idea anyway since it offers a line of defense against airborne debris.
- Look twice. As a general rule of thumb, double check that you’re clear of any cars or cyclists before merging or turning. An extra check can save a life, so always double check your position!
- Signal. If you’re turning, always use your blinker or hand signs to indicate your intent to the other people around you. It’s easy, it’s useful, and it’s the law, so don’t forget it! Hand signals are less common among cyclists, but even if other drivers don’t know what your hand gesture means, they’ll understand that you’re about to do something and increase their alertness.
A little care from everyone can make roads safer, so remember to drive and ride responsibly this spring.