Staying Safe In A Car (And On A Bike)
After a long, cold winter, temperatures are finally rising. Spring is in the air, which means more bicyclists on the roads. Although most serious cyclists are aware of the cycling rules of the road, many drivers are not. Stay safe by brushing up on the rules for drivers and cyclists alike.
1. Cyclists: Ride Single File
Many cyclists like to ride in groups. After all, exercising tends to be more enjoyable when you have company. If you ride in clumps on busy roads, however, you prevent drivers from passing you safely. Keep in mind that many drivers are unaware that cyclists have just as much legal right to use the open road as cars. Stay safe; stay single file.
2. Drivers: Stay Back At Least Three Feet
Arkansas is one of several states that requires drivers to maintain a distance of at least three feet when passing a cyclist. The minimum distance rule has been in place since 2007. If you pass a cyclist too closely, you increase the chances of a serious, even deadly, accident. If a police officer sees you pass too closely, you also risk a traffic violation. If you have trouble calculating the right distance, just imagine a yard stick stretching out from the side of your car closest to the cyclist. This is three feet, which is the safe, legal way to pass.
3. Cyclists: Use Hand Signals
When you are on a bike on a busy road, it may seem like drivers are completely unaware of your presence – and you may be right. By using the proper hand signals for turning, however, you increase the likelihood that a driver will notice your movements and maintain a safe distance.
4. Drivers: Look Out For Bikes At Intersections
Intersections are accident hot spots whether you’re in a car or on a bike. When vehicles are moving in four different directions – approaching each other head-on and turning against the flow of traffic – the chances of an accident skyrocket. Drivers should take time to check sidewalks and their rearview mirrors for cyclists approaching crosswalks or slowing to make a turn.
5. Cyclists: Put On A Helmet
Although Arkansas law does not require cyclists to wear a bicycle helmet, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advises that helmets are the number one way to prevent head injuries during a crash.
6. Drivers And Cyclists: Get Off The Phone
Distracted driving accounts for over one million car accidents every year. Whether you’re behind the wheel or the handlebars, you will stay safer if you put down the phone (or the headset) and focus on the road.