May is National Bike Month

10 Things to Keep in Mind to be a Safe Motorist and Bicyclist

National Bike Month was first established in 1956 and not only helps to promote a great and beneficial sport and form of transportation, it also helps to remind both motorists and bicyclers about bicycling safety1.

The state has done much to promote bicycle safety awareness over the past few years and many grants are being passed to ensure bicyclist safety. As a matter of fact, according to Safe New York, bicycle fatality rates have progressively decreased each year by 5% since 20122.

Safe New York also lists important things to keep in mind as a bicyclist and when sharing the road with bicyclists. Here are some tips to remind each group about bicycling safety3:

Sharing the road with bicyclists:

  1. Drive Cautiously. Reduce speed when encountering cyclists. Don’t tailgate, especially in bad weather. Recognize hazards cyclists may face and give them space.
  2. Yield to Cyclists. Bicycles are considered vehicles. Cyclists should be given the appropriate right of way. Allow extra time for cyclists to traverse intersections.
  3. Be Considerate. Scan for cyclists in traffic and at intersections. Do not blast your horn in close proximity to cyclists. Look for cyclists when opening doors.
  4. Pass with Care. When passing, leave four feet between you and a cyclist. Wait for safe road and traffic conditions before you pass. Check over your shoulder before moving back.
  5. Watch for Children. Children on bicycles are often unpredictable. Expect the unexpected and slow down. Don’t expect children to know traffic laws. Because of their size children can be harder to see.

For bicyclists:

  1. The same laws that apply to motorists apply to cyclists. Obey all traffic control devices and use hand signals to indicate stops and turns.
  2. Always wear a properly fitting helmet. Wear a helmet, no matter how short the trip.
  3. Ride on the right. Always ride in the same direction as traffic. Use the furthest right lane that heads to your destination. Slower moving cyclists and motorists stay to the right.
  4. Ride Predictably. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve in the road or between parked cars. Check for traffic before entering street or intersection. Anticipate hazards and adjust your position accordingly.
  5. Be visible. Wear brightly colored clothing that provides contrast. Use a white front light in low light conditions and a red rear light in low light conditions. Use a reflector or reflective tape on clothing at anytime. Announce yourself by making eye contact with motorists.