Common themes in talking about cycling safety are infrastructure and motorist awareness. While these remain 2 major hurdles for cyclists to overcome in belonging on the road, there needs to be some improvements by bike riders everywhere. Whenever tax dollars are spent on increasing bike infrastructure, there are usually complaints that are all too valid.

I was able to weigh in on a special report KSL did a few months ago on cyclists breaking the law. You can see that story here. Unfortunately, stopping for bus stop signs are not the only problem. Especially in urban settings, cyclist often ignore traffic lights, fail to signal turns, ride on the sidewalk, or ride against traffic. This reflects negatively on the many cyclists who ride safely and legally. Hopefully we can shed some light on what both parties can do to make the road safer and more convenient for all of us.

Cyclists

Learn the rules

Too often cyclists have a sense of entitlement or freedom. Just because you don’t have a motor, it does not mean you are not bound by the rules of the road. Cycles are considered vehicles throughout the country. There are some specific exceptions, but when in doubt, follow rules just like a car.

Get the right gear

As a cyclist, you are much more vulnerable and exposed than in a steel framed car. You need to be extra careful and plan ahead. Equipping your bike with reflectors and lights can make you more visible; Wearing a proper fitting helmet will make you safer.

Respect other people on the road

Whether it is vehicles or pedestrians, your best bet for being a safe and courteous biker is to be aware and to be informed. Don’t cut anyone off, remember to yield, and it’s okay to be patient.

Motorists

Learn the facts

A recurring argument when bike infrastructure is proposed is that it will somehow impede car traffic. Studies have shown that the opposite is false. The more people on bikes and in bike lanes, the more open the road will be for people who can’t or don’t pedal. Another common claim is that it will hurt the businesses near the changes. Again, facts disprove this¬†theory . Businesses report an increase in sales.

Be courteous and aware

As far as safety and protection go, four wheels will always beat two. If you aren’t paying attention, a small dent for you can mean devastating injuries for a cyclists. As we try to be more law abiding, try to keep an eye out for us. ¬†Cyclists are smaller and harder to see. Taking that left turn slower or double checking your blind spot could keep them alive. When you are getting out of your car, check you mirrors. One of the most common accidents to cyclists in cities is getting “doored.” This is an easily preventable mistake.

Think about trying it yourself

Cycling is a sport that is hard to understand the passion behind without experiencing it yourself. If you are able, think about getting out from behind that steering wheel more often and truly experiencing the open road. You may like what you find, and it is a great way to stay in shape and take one more car off the road.

For more info on cycling safety, please request a free book all about cycling in Utah. Call us at 1-800-LAW-BOOK or visit us at our website.