Safely Walking and Biking – Guidelines For Walking, Biking, and Driving

In all 50 states, bicyclists are accorded the same rights and are expected to obey the same laws as drivers of motor vehicles. Bicyclists fare best when they ride predictably and follow the rules of the road.

The following suggestions are offered from a positive desire to help all to “share the road”.

  • Always leave at least 3 feet between the right side of your vehicle and a bicyclist when passing.
  • Always make sure it is safe ahead before passing a bicyclist. No passing should be attempted on blind curves and near the crest of a hill.
  • Reduce your speed when passing a bicyclist, especially if the roadway is narrow.
  • Be aware that when a road is too narrow for cars and bikes to ride safely side-by-side, it is safest for the bicyclist to take the travel lane, which means riding in or near the center of the lane. This is allowed in the laws of all 50 states.
  • Do not honk your horn when approaching bicyclists as this can startle them and cause them to loose control of their bicycle.
  • In inclement weather, give bicyclists extra room, as you would other motorists.
  • Always yield to a bicycle when you are turning from or entering a main roadway on which they are traveling.
  • Look for approaching situations and obstacles that may be hazardous to bicyclists, such as potholes, debris, and glass, and then give them adequate space to maneuver.
  • Look for bicyclists before opening your car door on the traffic side when parallel parked.
  • Most bicyclists do not receive training in proper riding behaviors. Some ride inappropriately and cannot decide whether they should ride in the street or on the sidewalk. Children on bicycles often act unpredictably: Expect the unexpected in these cases.

Tips on Bicycling Safety. Cyclists fare best when they act as and are treated as drivers of vehicles.

Wear a helmet

  • Obey the traffic laws – stop at stop signs, obey traffic lights, rideon the right side of the road.
  • Be visible – wear bright colored clothing, use lights at night, rideon the road – 1 to 3 feet to the left of the curb or road edge.
  • Be predictable – use hand signals, attempt to get motor vehicle drivers’ attention when making lane changes or turning.

Tips on Pedestrian Safety

  • Walk facing traffic – on the left side of the street
  • Cross the street at intersections
  • Walk, don’t run when crossing a street
  • Walk in a straight, predictable line when crossing a street not atan angle
  • When walking at night, use a flashlight and/or wear bright,reflective clothing
  • Look left, right then left before crossing the street
  • Hold children’s hands when crossing a street. Practice safecrossing with children – ask them to tell you when it is safe to cross the street

Common Bicyclist Errors

Unfortunately, not everyone who rides a bike understands or obeys the rules of the road. The following are some of the common errors you may encounter as a motorist.

  • Wrong way riding. Bicyclists riding on the left (wrong) side of the road, facing traffic, cause 14 percent of all car/bike crashes. Look both ways before turning to avoid these crashes.
  • Mid-block ride-outs. This is the most frequent crash type for young riders and occurs when the bicyclist enters the roadway from a driveway, alley, or curb without slowing, stopping or looking for traffic.
  • Bicyclist failure to yield when changing lanes (11 percent of car/bike collisions occur when the bicyclist fails to look before changing a lane or dodges a hazard in the roadway without signaling.
  • Bicyclist failure to yield to crossing traffic (9 percent of car/bike collisions occur when the bicyclist fails to stop at a stop sign or traffic light and enters the main road without first stopping and determining it is safe to do so. Some times bicyclist fail to stop because a triggered light will not change for them. They still need to stop and yield before entering the road.

Stay Safe!