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May 22, 2012 8:17 am

EDITORIAL: Sharing the road safely

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers need to brush up on safety tips

More bicyclists are taking to the road, thanks to warm weather, more hours of daylight, higher fuel costs and the end of the school year. Not to mention that it’s great exercise.
May is National Bike Month, a time to celebrate a form of transportation that’s good for you and the Earth and to recognize the many reasons to ride a bike.

It’s also a good time to revisit safety tips for bicyclists and motorists who share local roads.
Often times, especially around downtown Powell, bicyclists mistakenly expect to have the rights of a pedestrian. They ride on sidewalks, assume they  always have the right of way or breeze through a four-way stop without a second glance.
On a bicycle, you actually have the same rights and responsibilities as a driver in a vehicle.
Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians, obey stop and yield signs, use signals to indicate turns and travel with the flow of traffic.
In addition to following the same rules of the road as motorists, the League of American Bicyclists offers these tips for bicycling better:
• Be visible. Ride where drivers can see you, wear brightly colored clothing and use a light or reflector when riding at night.
• Be predictable. Ride in a straight line and make eye contact with motorists to let them know you’re there. Do not ride on the sidewalk, where you can easily endanger pedestrians.
• Wear a helmet. Make sure it fits you well.
• Anticipate conflicts. Be aware of traffic and activity around you, and be prepared to take evasive action. Also, learn braking and turning techniques to help avoid crashes, and be alert when coming to an intersection.
The arrival of warm weather also means more motorcyclists are on Wyoming’s highways.
Even though it’s not required by law in Wyoming, all motorcyclists should wear helmets.
Motorcycle fatalities on Wyoming highways reached a record in 2010, with 31 motorcyclists killed — the most ever in a single year in the state’s history. Of those killed, 25 were not wearing a helmet. That’s 80 percent.
While those on motorcycles and bicycles must follow precautions, drivers in vehicles also need to remember safety is a two-way street. Take a moment to look twice for cyclists, especially at intersections.
To safely share the road, drivers, motorcyclists and bicyclists all need to be aware of one another, show respect and follow safety guidelines.

 

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