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Drivers: Please follow traffic laws

Original post made by Biker on May 24, 2012

As a biker, I know to watch out for myself. And I see many drivers on the road looking out for bikers. Overall, our roads are relatively safe. But we can all improve to make things safer. I can generally tell when a driver has little/no biking experience (making incorrect assumptions about how fast the bike is going, not knowing what the signals mean, etc) or when a rider has little/no driving experience (assuming cars should always give them the right-of-way, not trying to make eye-contact with drivers, etc).

Here are a few notes for drivers and bikers.

for drivers:
*When you come to a stop sign, don't roll through it without looking for cars, bikes and pedestrians.
*When you come to a stop and a bike comes to the intersection before you, they should have the right-of-way; if they come AFTER you, you should have the right of way. Regardless of who should go first, WATCH.
*Use your signals properly.
*Watch for signals from others.
*Pay attention - Do not talk on your phone or text while moving.

for bikers:
*When you come to a stop sign, don't roll through it without looking for cars, bikes and pedestrians.
*When you come to a stop and a car comes to the intersection before you, they should have the right-of-way; if they come AFTER you, you should have the right of way. Regardless of who should go first, WATCH.
*Use your signals properly.
*Watch for signals from others.
*Pay attention - Do not talk on your phone or text while moving.
*Make eye-contact with drivers when possible. You want to know if they really see you and aren't just making assumptions.
*Always wear your helmet!

As you can see, drivers and bikers should be following an almost identical set of rules. For those drivers who get upset about bikers whizzing through stop signs, you may be correct in assuming this is dangerous. But if you see a bikers slow down at an intersection and then continuing through without completely stopping, this may be LESS dangerous than coming to a complete stop. And there are times a biker SHOULD ride in the center of the lane in the road and other times that they should go onto the sidewalk. Fortunately, we have a lot of roads around here that have dedicated bike lanes. But when there is not a bike lane, both drivers and bikers need to pay extra attention. The important thing is that we are all looking around at all the potential dangers and not putting anyone else in danger, either.

Good luck out there.

Comments (3)

Posted by Biker, a resident of Barron Park
on May 24, 2012 at 9:36 am

I should have made the subject line longer. "Drivers: Please follow traffic laws. Bikers: You, too."

;-)

But I have seen several cars come close to hitting me on my bike in the past week. All of them were rolling through stop signs, obviously only looking for cars; not bikes. I had been hit on my bike by such a driver many years ago. Fortunately, I got through it without any harm because *I* was paying attention. Both bikers and drivers need to watch out. As do pedestrians. But the fact is that someone in a car going 10mph is not going to sustain heavy injuries if hitting a biker or pedestrian. The damage to the biker or pedestrian could be very severe at even just 10mph. Increase your speed a little and the injuries could rise exponentially. We must all watch out for ourselves and others. Be safe.


Posted by Occasional Cyclist, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 24, 2012 at 10:44 am

Ultimately we are all responsible for our own safety when we are on the roads regardless of whether we are in charge of a car, a bike or walking. Taking safety seriously may mean staying alive rather than being "in the right".

One other rule not mentioned is that if a cyclist wishes to cross an intersection as a pedestrian then dismounting and walking the bike is the only way to go, otherwise red lights, stop signs and crossing guards all mean bikes must stop. This is particularly relevant when approaching a crossing guard with a stop sign.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Barron Park
on May 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm

What's with all the high school kids keeping their helmets on their handlebars as they ride? If you leave your driveway, you should be wearing a helmet on a bike or buckling your seat belt in a car. Period. We pride ourselves on our kids' education yet they aren't smart enough to wear a helmet while navigating the busy streets? Something seriously wrong with this.


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