Summer has officially arrived. After enduring the cold and recent rains, it’s nice to see the sun and feel the heat. Warm weather also brings out the bicycles. Riding a bike is a fun, safe, and healthy activity. All too often we see tragedy strike when cyclists and cars don’t take each other into consideration. Under Missouri law, bicycles are considered vehicles and have the same rights and responsibilities on our roads as other vehicles, including cars. State and local laws allow for the use of bicycles on most Missouri roads. Drivers should always pass a cyclist at a safe distance. Squeezing past a cyclist is dangerous. Missouri law requires that motor vehicles drive and pass cars, bicycles, and pedestrians at a safe distance.
Simple common sense on the part of drivers of cars and bicycles will save frustration and injury this summer. Here is a short list of bicycle safety rules cyclists and drivers should remember as they are out this summer enjoying our roadways. Cyclists who cooperate with and follow the rules of the road avoid accidents.
- Obey all traffic control signs and signals. Motor vehicles are required to stop at red lights, stop signs and yield to traffic. This is for the safety of everyone on the road. Running lights and signs makes you more likely to get struck and injured.
- Be visible and predictable. This includes not weaving in and out of traffic, and making sure your bicycle has the appropriate lights and reflectors. Vehicles that weave in and out of traffic lack predictability, and cyclists often find themselves in traffic with the ability to weave through. That makes the roadways unsafe for those trying to predict where you will go.
- Ride with the flow of traffic. Riding against the flow of traffic is 5-20% more dangerous.
- Make sure you use arm signals to communicate intent to turn and change lanes.
- Wear a helmet. This is a safety device and will protect you in the event of a wreck or collision with a car.
- Cyclists may ride two abreast when not blocking other vehicles. Otherwise, they should ride as far right as possible, except when making a left turn.
If you do find yourself in an accident, remember to move out of the lanes of traffic if safe to do so and contact local authorities. If you are injured while riding your bicycle or driving your car, be sure to get the medical attention you need. Keep these simple bicycle safety tips in mind and have fun on your bike.