Respect is a Two Way Street

Bike-Safety-2014-steps-BGBE AWARE! STAY ALIVE!

Last year, Santa Clarita saw 99 traffic collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians—that’s almost two per week every week!

You may be surprised to learn that “failure to yield” was the main reason for collisions in nearly every incident.  Your City and Sheriff’s Department are concerned about the safety of everyone on the road and want to offer some simple tips to keep motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians safe on our City streets.

The League of American Bicyclists offers these easy tips for Bicyclists:

Follow the Law–Your safety and image of bicyclists depend on you. You have the same rights and duties as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.

Be Predictable–Make your intentions clear to everyone on the road. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Signal turns, and check behind you well before turning or changing lanes.

Be Conspicuous–Ride where people can see you and wear bright clothing. Use a front white light, red rear light and reflectors when visibility is poor. Make eye contact with others and don’t ride on sidewalks.

Think Ahead–Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other people on bikes will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes, and other road hazards. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.

Ride Ready–Check that your tires have sufficient air, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release levers are closed. Carry tools and supplies that are appropriate for your ride. Wear a helmet.

Yield to Life offers these 10 safety tips for motorists:

  1. Different but Equal
    In all states, cyclists are deemed by law to be drivers of vehicles and are entitled to the same rights on the road as motorists. Expect cyclists on the road. Watch for cyclists on the road. Treat them as you would any slow-moving vehicle.
  2. Patience, not Patients
    Patience, especially on the road, is a virtue, and can save lives.
    Your patience may involve:

    • Waiting until it is safe to pass a bicycle and refraining from tailgating.
    • Giving cyclists the right of way when the situation calls for it.
    • Allowing extra time for cyclists to go through intersections.
    • Recognizing road hazards that may be dangerous for cyclists and giving cyclists the necessary space to deal with them. In conditions where there is not enough room for a cyclist to ride to the right, they are allowed to ride closer to the lane of traffic, and sometimes even in the lane of traffic.

    Never engage in conduct that harasses or endangers a cyclist. Above all: Be tolerant. Be understanding. Be careful.

  3. A Passing Grade
    Do not pass a cyclist until you can see that you can safely do so. You should allow ample space between your vehicle and the bicycle and make sure you do not place the cyclist in danger. If you pass too closely the drag from your car can pull a cyclist off course and cause the rider to swerve out of control.
  4. The Right Behavior
    Watch out for cyclists when you are turning right. A bicyclist may well be to the right of you and planning to go straight at the same intersection. Do not speed ahead of the bicyclist thinking you can negotiate the turn before they reach your car. The cyclist may be going faster than you think and, as you slow to make the turn, the cyclist may not be able to avoid crashing into the passenger side of your vehicle.
  5. To The Left, To The Left
    Also look for cyclists when making a left-hand turn. Cyclists who are crossing straight through the same intersection in the opposite direction may be going faster than you realize. It is particularly dangerous on a descending slope, when cyclists pick up more speed.
  6. A Back-up Plan:
    Bicycles, and the people who drive them, come in all shapes and sizes. When backing out of your driveway always look to see if someone is riding in your path. Children on small bikes might be hard to see. Drive slowly and look carefully.
  7. Egress Etiquette
    After parallel parking, make sure the coast is clear for opening the car door to exit. Make sure there are no cyclists riding alongside your car or fast approaching. By using the rear view mirrors and by turning around, a driver can spot an approaching cyclist and circumvent a disaster. A cyclist cannot anticipate when a driver will open a door, but a driver can easily detect a cyclist who may be in the line of danger.
  8. Respect
    Cyclists have a rightful spot on the road. Cyclists also positively impact the environment with each revolution of their wheels by opting to ride rather than drive. Do not resent cyclists. Replace frustration with a smile every time you see a cyclist.
  9. Honing Your Horning Habit
    Do not honk unnecessarily at cyclists. If the need does arise to honk your horn to alert a cyclist that you are about to pass, do so at a respectable distance. If you are too close, the noise itself can cause a cyclist to lose his or her bearings and create a hazardous situation for both you and the cyclist.
  10. Try it, You’ll Like it
    If you can’t beat them, join them. Ride a bike. It just may change your life. Riding is good for you and good for your environment. At the very least, it will give you a better appreciation for the problems cyclists face every day on the road with respect to motorists.

Information Sources:

Rules of the Road
10 Safety Tips for Motorists

In the News:

City launches new campaign for bike safety
Partnership with Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station aims for safer sharing of local roads


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