Bicycle Safety to Help Prevent Accidents
By Desiree Housek, Staff Writer
When riding a bicycle on roadways, you need to be extra cautious considering how vulnerable you may be when it comes to an accident with a vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicycle fatalities represent approximately 2 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States, and 1 percent of all trips taken.
While riding on a roadway poses a risk in itself, there are other factors that may increase your risk of an accident occurring, such as level of experience, cycling at night, location, alcohol use, and a variety of other factors.
To help in the prevention of accidents when on your bicycle, keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet
- Obey all traffic signs, signals, and lane markings
- Ride in the same direction of traffic
- Wear reflective clothing
- If riding at night, use a red reflector, flashing rear light, and retro-reflective tape to help yourself be seen
- Make sure more than 2 cyclists are not riding side by side on roadways
As the operator of a vehicle, you can do your part to help prevent accidents with cyclists by following these tips:
- Allow a minimum of three feet clearance when passing a bicyclist
- Look out for those on bicycles when reversing or pulling out of a parking spot, or opening a car door
- Be aware of any cyclists when making a turn
- Yield to cyclists at intersections and where directed otherwise
Each year the number of bicyclists who are killed in an accident with a motor vehicle has been increasing. With a little bit of courteousness, awareness, and caution, both motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists can help to reduce that number by preventing these accidents and saving lives.