Bicycle Safety

Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: July 23, 2013

According to Census Bureau reports, the percentage of bicycle commuters has steadily grown over the past decade. While numbers still represent a small percentage of the population, the benefits toward improved health and quality of life are evident and suggest the trend will continue to grow.

With more bicyclists on the road, however, it’s important to stay aware of rules and responsibilities for the safety of all:

For Drivers:

  • Drive cautiously. The size of your vehicle vs. a bike is a mismatch. Respect the cyclist’s vulnerability, and watch out for young riders.
  • Never forget the four-foot rule. It’s a law in most states that drivers must give cyclists at least four feet of clearance. This includes side mirrors, which many may forget about when driving a larger vehicle.
  • Don’t speed up to pass or blow your horn. Both can unnerve any cyclist. Pass them smoothly, slowly and with patience.
  • At all turns, use your turn signals and yield to cyclists. Intersections are where many car-bicycle collisions occur. Use your turn signals early and always. And, always yield to cyclists. Remember that you are protected, and they are not.

For Cyclists:

  • Obey all rules of the road. Ride in the same direction as traffic. Stop at all stop signs. Stop at traffic lights. Don’t weave in and out of traffic.
  • Wear a proper helmet. Your helmet must comply with the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission standards. And, make sure it properly fits your head.
  • Use hand signals and anticipate drivers’ intents. Always alert motorists as to your directional intentions with hand signals. Don’t count on drivers to always use their turn signals. Remember, seven-out-of-ten accidents occur at intersections and driveways.
  • Make yourself more visible. Drivers may not see smaller vehicles like bikes or motorcycles. Make yourself seen by wearing bright colors or reflective gear, even in the daylight.
  • Choose routes wisely. Map routes on wider, less-traveled roads or those with dedicated bike lanes. Make as few left turns as possible.

Just getting on your bike for the first time—or the first time in a long time? Investigate Valley Preferred Cycling Center’s Try the Track! program. The introductory clinic is for cyclists 12 and older who know how to ride a bike but wish to hone their skills.

Disclaimer: The information presented is for your general knowledge and does not replace the advice of a physician. All medical inquiries regarding your health should be presented to a physician. 

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