May is National Bike Month. With springtime weather in the forecast, State Police want to remind both motorists and cyclists to follow the rules of the road. Whether you are riding a bike as part of your daily commute, or enjoying its health benefits, cycling does not come without risk. Motorists are reminded to remain vigilant to the presence of cyclists and both should share the road and follow New York State Vehicle and Traffic law.
Here are some tips for bicyclists, courtesy of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee:
- Bicyclists must ride with traffic, not against it.
- Use hand signals when you are about to make a turn and obey traffic signals and signs.
- Make sure your bike is properly equipped with the required safety equipment.
- Use front and rear reflectors, spoke reflectors and pedal reflectors. At night, use a headlight and taillight, and wear light-colored clothing and reflective material to make yourself more visible. Bikes driving between a half-hour after sunset and a half hour before sunrise must have a white front headlight visible for at least 500 feet and taillights visible for at least 300 feet.
- Make sure your bike’s brakes, tires, and safety equipment is in good working order.
- A bell, horn, or another device that can be heard at least 100 feet away.
- Wear a properly buckled approved helmet that fits properly to avoid serious head injuries. All bicyclists under the age of 14 must wear approved helmets when they are operating a bicycle.
- Remember that a bicycle is a vehicle, just like any other on the road, and operating it should be taken seriously. Remain alert even in familiar surroundings.
- It is illegal to wear more than one earphone while driving a vehicle, riding a motorcycle, or bicycling.
- Bike tires are narrow and can get caught in ruts, sewer grates, potholes or on debris in the road. Cyclists tend to avoid the dangerous portion of the roadway that may have these types of hazards. However, bikers should ride as close to the right side of the road as they safely can.
The following list of tips are offered to motorists that must share the road with bicyclists:
- Slow down and don’t tailgate the cyclist.
- Bicyclists are considered vehicles. Give the cyclist extra time to navigate through intersections. Also give them the appropriate right of way.
- When it is safe to pass a cyclist, leave sufficient space between your car and the bike.
Motorists have to remember that bicyclists have the same privileges and responsibilities as motor vehicles. Drivers should watch for cyclists, especially children who may not know the rules of the road. For more information on bike safe