With the price of gas, more and more people are riding bikes this summer and that means both bike riders and car drivers should be cautious and aware of bike safety rules.
The issue was brought to light a couple of weeks back in a letter to the editor from a concerned mother. Her daughter was riding on the far right side of Townsvalley Road south of Hudson when she was knocked off the road by a passing car.
Fortunately she just suffered scrapes and bruises, but the outcome could have been much worse. The driver, incidentally, did not stop, which makes it a hit-and-run offense.
Not only are more people riding bikes, but children on bikes are common during the summer. It's a good time to review safety tips for bikers: Obey traffic signs and signals -- Bicycles must drive like other vehicles if they are to be taken seriously by motorists. Never ride with headphones; WEAR A HELMET -- Always wear a sturdy helmet that fits properly. Never wear a headphone while riding a bike. Never ride against traffic -- Motorists aren't looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it; this is a law. Learn and use hand signals -- Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection. Don't weave between parked cars -- Don't ride out to the curb between parked cars unless they are far apart. Motorists may not see you when you try to move back into traffic. Don't pass on the right -- Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right. Make eye contact with drivers -- Assume that other drivers don't see you until you are sure that they do. Scan the road behind -- Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors. Dress appropriately -- In rain wear a poncho or waterproof suit. Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear bright colored clothing. Keep your bike in good repair -- Adjust your bike to fit you and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly. Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself.
Of course, car drivers also have responsibilities for following the rules and assisting with the safety of bikers. Motorists must drive defensively and be on the lookout for bicyclists. But, we emphasize bike safety because bikers have very little protection when they are in the midst of heavy automobiles.
Everyone ride safely this summer!