National Bike Month: Promoting Safe Motorist and Bicyclist Behavior
Posted in Accident & Injury on May 24, 2021
May is National Bike Month, a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling—and encourage more folks to give biking a try. It’s also a great time to promote safe motorist and bicyclist behavior.
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) recognizes bicycling as a legitimate form of transportation and encourages the safe use and development of non‐motorized transportation alternatives for Ohio residents. Here in the Buckeye State, bicycling as a form of commuting has grown steadily over the last 10 years.
To nobody’s surprise, when a crash occurs between a vehicle and a bike, the cyclist is most likely to be injured. In the United States, the number of traffic crashes involving a bicyclist or pedestrian has increased since 2009. In 2019, 846 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes.
There are three categories of issues that contribute to traffic crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians:
- Motorist behaviors
- speeding, distracted driving, impairment, lack of traffic law awareness and failure to follow traffic laws
- Non-motorist (e.g., pedestrians and bicyclists) behaviors
- poor visibility, lack of traffic law awareness, failure to follow traffic laws and impairment
- Infrastructure issues
- poor separation between motorists and non-motorists and inadequate lighting, signage and crosswalks
By law, bicycles on the roadway are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. Thus, it’s important for drivers and bicyclists to follow important safety tips.
National Highway Traffic Safety Association published a list of safety tips for cyclists and motorists:
- Wear a helmet.
- Ride in a straight, single-file line.
- Ride on the right side, in the same direction as cars.
- Ride with both hands on the handlebars except when signaling a turn or stop.
- Stay alert.
- Walk your bike across an intersection.
- Check your equipment.
- Yield to bicyclists and do not underestimate their speed.
- Search your surroundings for other vehicles, including bicycles.
- Stay alert.
- Obey the speed limit, reduce speed for road conditions and drive defensively.
- Give cyclists room.
For more information on biking in Ohio, visit the ODOT Bicycle & Pedestrian Program website.