Cycling and safety

by The Coaches on August 19, 2020

From the time humans invented the wheel, we have been striving to reach more places. Bikes have been used for ages and they are the most eco-friendly, as well as the best mode of transport that humans have ever designed. Arguably, one of the best human-powered means of transportation, the bicycle, has seen a major resurgence in our area lately.

In this article, I would like to focus on safety for the cyclists and the drivers. Below are some of the major points/ideas on safety:

• Avoid certain streets/Time your rides: There are certain streets that do not lend themselves to safe riding due to car volume, little to lack of shoulders, too many businesses, entrances/exits to retail, quality of road surface. Stay away from riding during rush hour due to higher car volume, more aggressive/irritable driving and avoid riding certain roads in the 6PM to 9:PM range as there is a high accident percentage during that period.

• Helmets: Every bike ride begins with putting on a helmet. But, it is equally important that you ensure a proper fit so your helmet can best protect you. Size can vary between manufacturers. Follow the steps to fit a helmet properly. It may take time to ensure a proper helmet fit, but your life is worth it. It is usually easier to look in the mirror or have someone else adjust the straps. Be sure to visit your local bike shops for a helmet. Hilltop Bicycles locally in Summit, Cranford and Madison. Marty’s Reliable Cycles in Morristown and Randolph. Trek Bicyles in Stirling and Summit. Jay’s Cycle in Westfield.

• Rules of the road: Ride responsibly, and remember: All states require cyclists on the roadway to follow the same rules and responsibilities as motorists. Go with the traffic flow and ride on the right in the same direction of other vehicles. Go with the flow-not against it! Be courteous in your riding! Website: https://www.nhtsa.gov/

• Signal often: As noted above with the rules of the road, signal as you would expect a vehicle to do. That makes you more predictable to the motorists around you.

• Re-think music players/phones: As you would expect from motorists, do not text, listen to music or use anything that distracts you from concentrating on the road/traffic. You want to be able to hear vehicles coming behind you and on your left.

• Light up/Visibility: Consider using a light or multiple lights at all times of day. This will help in motorists being able to see you more clearly. Along the same lines, think about what you wear to ride in an effort to make you more visible.

Drivers: Share the road
People on bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as people behind the wheel of a vehicle.

• Yield: Remember cyclists have the same rights as a motorist and NEVER underestimate their speed. This will help avoid turning in front of a cyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway.
• Parking lots: At stop signs, in parking lots when backing up, parking, etc…search your surroundings for other vehicles including bicycles.
• Turning right on red: Be aware when turning right on red to look behind and to the right to avoid hitting a cyclist approaching from the right rear. Stop completely and look left-right-left and behind before turning.
• Speed limit: Obey the speed limit, reduce speed for road conditions and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.
• Room/space: Give cyclists room. Do not pass too closely. Pass cyclists as would any other vehicle-when it is safe to move over into the adjacent lane. Along those lines, please DO NOT honk your horn if the cyclist is over to the right or if you are warning them of your passing.

The roads are meant to be enjoyed by all. Please remember these and all other safety tips from valid sources.

Mickey Cassu

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