The Manheim Township Police Department often fields complaints regarding bicyclists who don’t follow the rules of the road or are simply unsafe when operating on the roadways. We have compiled the following safety tips, courtesy of NHTSA, to help bicyclists be as safe as possible when riding upon the roadways.
1.) Ride responsibly – Remember, state law requires bicyclists on the roadway to follow the same rules and responsibilities as motorists
2.) Be Prepared Before Heading Out
a.) Ride a bike that fits you—if it’s too big, it’s harder to control the bike.
b.) Ride a bike that works—it really doesn’t matter how well you ride if the bicycle isn’t functioning properly.
c.) Wear protective equipment, such as a bike helmet and bright clothing to protect you and make you more visible to others
d.) During periods of darkness wear reflective gear and make use of a white front light and red rear light. Lights are required on bicycles by law.
e.) Ride with only one person, per seat, with both hands on the handlebars, unless signaling a turn.
f.) Carry all items in a backpack or strapped to the back of the bike. Do not hold items in your arms.
g.) Tuck and tie your shoe laces and pant legs so they don’t get caught in the bike chain. h.) Plan your route—choose routes with less traffic and slower speeds. The safest route may be away from traffic altogether, in a bike lane or on a bike path.
3.) Drive Defensively - Be focused and alert to the road and all traffic around you; anticipate what others may do, before they do it. This is defensive driving—the quicker you notice a potential conflict, the quicker you can act to avoid a potential crash.
a.) Drive with the flow, in the same direction as traffic.
b.) Obey street signs, signals, and road markings, just like a car.
c.) Assume the other person doesn’t see you; look ahead for hazards or situations to avoid that may cause you to fall, like toys, pebbles, potholes, grates, train tracks.
d.) Do not use a hand-held electronic device, listen to music or using anything that distracts you by taking your eyes, ears, or your mind off the road and traffic.
4.) Drive Predictably - By driving predictably, motorists get a sense of what you intend to do and can react to avoid a crash.
a.) Note that driving on the sidewalk may appear as safer but this can increase the chance of a collision with a pedestrian. Bicycles are also not permitted on sidewalks in a business district, by law.
b.) Watch for pedestrians. Pass pedestrians with care by first announcing “on your left” or “passing on your left” or use a bell.
c.) As noted above, ride in the same direction as traffic. This way, if the sidewalk ends, you are already riding with the flow of traffic. If crossing a street, motorists will look left, right, left for traffic. When you are to the driver’s left, the driver is more likely to see you;
d.) Slow and look for traffic (left-right-left and behind) when crossing a street from a sidewalk. Be prepared to stop, dismount, and follow the pedestrian
e.) Slow down and look for cars backing out of driveways or turning.
See the following animation to provide a great visual aid for the above tips. There is also a NHTSA report under attachments which provides statistics for crashes involving bicycles.
MEDIA CONTACT: Sergeant Michael T. Piacentino, W: 717-569-6401 Ext: 1583, C: 717-340-2130, firstname.lastname@example.org
Attachments: NHTSA Bicyclist Crash Statistics Source: Manheim Township Police Department
Sourced via CRIMEWATCH®: https://lancaster.crimewatchpa.com/manheimtwppd/53783/post/hey-mtpd-do-you-have-any-bicyclist-safety-tips-look-below