June 4, 2013 is Ohio Bicycling Awareness Day. It gives organizations and clubs an opportunity to display what they are doing for cycling in the Columbus Statehouse Atrium. Sponsored by the Ohio Bicycle Federation, they will share best practices with the legislature.
As summer approaches, motorists need to be more aware of bicyclists on the road. The Ohio Department of Transportation reports that there are 4 million bicycle owners in Ohio. Bicycles on the roadway are, by law, vehicles with the same rights, and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. By fostering a mutual respect between motorists and bicyclists, we can enhance safety for all road users.
|On the Road:
– The same laws that apply to motorists apply to cyclists
– Obey all traffic control devices
– Use hand signals to indicate stops and turns other users
– Reduce speed when encountering cyclists
– Don’t tailgate, especially in bad weather
– Recognize hazards cyclists may face and give them space
|Always Wear a Properly Fitting Helmet:
– Wear a helmet, no matter how short the trip
|Yield to Cyclists:
– Bicycles are considered vehicles
– Cyclists should be given the right of way
– Allow extra time for cyclists to traverse intersections
|Ride on the Right:
– Always ride in the same direction as traffic
– Use the furthest right lane that heads to your destination
– Slower moving cyclists and motorists stay to the right
– Scan for cyclists in traffic and at intersections
– Do not blast your horn in close proximity to cyclists
– Look for cyclists when opening doors
– Ride in a straight line
– Don’t swerve in the road or between parked cars
– Check for traffic before entering street or intersection
– Anticipate hazards and adjust your position accordingly
|Pass with Care:
– When passing, leave four feet between you and a cyclist
– Wait for safe road and traffic conditions before you pass
– Check over your shoulder before moving back
– Wear brightly colored clothing that provides contrast
– Use a white front light in low light conditions
– Use a red rear light in low light conditions
– Use a reflector or reflective tape or clothing anytime
– Make eye contact with motorists
|Watch for Children:
– Children on bicycles are often unpredictable
– Expect the unexpected and slow down
– Don’t expect children to know traffic laws
– Because of their size children can be harder to see
Sidewalk vs. Street Riding
The safest place for bicycle riding is on the street, where bicycles are expected to follow the same rules of the road as motorists and ride in the same direction. However, children under 10 years old are not mature enough to make the decisions necessary to safely ride in the street and are better off riding on the sidewalk. Teach children to:
- Watch for vehicles coming out of or turning into driveways.
- Stop at corners of sidewalks and streets to look for cars and to make sure the drivers see you before crossing.
- Enter a street at a corner and not between parked cars. Alert pedestrians that you are near by saying, “Excuse me,” or, “Passing on your left,” or use a bell or horn.
For more information on bicycle safety, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Web site at: www.nhtsa.dot.gov
You can also download Ohio Bicycling Street Smarts, a collaborative effort between the OBF and ODOT to educate riders and motorists about Ohio laws.