National Bike month: Safety Tips
April 30th, 2013 by Ric Hanson
May is “National Bike Month.” The Iowa Department of Transportation says with the weather finally warming up, more and more people will be pedaling down the streets on two wheels. The DOT is joining the League of American Bicyclists to promote May as National Bike Month. Officials say you can check around your workplace or community for activities related to these dates:
- Bike to School Day – May 8 (Be sure to register at http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/)
- Bike to work week May 13 – 17
- Bike to work day – May 17
If you are heading out on two wheels, here are a few safety tips from the Iowa DOT.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Wear bright colored clothing, rather than dark colors, especially at dusk and dawn.
- Ride on the right. Ride in the right lane, except when passing another vehicle, preparing for a left turn, or avoiding hazards.
- Never ride against traffic. Always ride with the flow of traffic.
- Obey traffic signs and signals. Use hand signals to advise motorists you plan to turn, change lanes or stop.
- Make eye contact with motorists. Never assume a motorist sees you or that you have the right of way. Expect the unexpected such as: parked vehicles pulling into traffic; vehicle doors opening into your path; and debris on the road.
- At night use a headlight, taillight and reflectors.
For motorists, safely sharing the road with bicycles includes:
- Not honking your horn at bicyclists. They may be startled and lose control.
- Using extra caution when passing bicycles. Move entirely into the left lane; on a two-lane road, do not pass a bicycle if oncoming traffic is near.
- Being aware that bicyclists might swerve to avoid road hazards. Common road hazards for bicyclists are potholes, debris, drainage grates, railroad tracks and narrow bridges.
- Being careful when opening your vehicle door. Road widths often force bicyclists to ride close to parked vehicles where they may be injured by an opening door.
- And, when in doubt, yield to bicycles.