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Safe Biking & Driving Practices

Safe Biking

Biking is a popular activity in many areas, especially the Kansas City area. More and more people are riding bikes rather than driving as well as for exercise or just the sheer enjoyment.

From 2000 to 2012 there was a 64% increase in cyclists traveling to work, according to the NHTSA.


The Need for Safe Driving Practices

The NHTSA also reported that 726 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2014.

  • Adolescents and young adults (ages 15 to 19 years old) and adults aged 40 years and older have the highest bicycle death rates, according to the CDC.
  • According to the NHTSA, bicyclists account for 2% of all traffic deaths and 2% of all crash-related injuries in 2014

How Do Bicycle Accidents Occur?

Some of the ways bicycle-motor vehicle accidents happen include the following:

Left cross is when a car is coming towards the bicyclist and makes a sudden left turn into the cyclist or in front of the cyclist.

A left-cross in the blind spot occurs when the cyclist is riding to the right and behind a car going straight and a left-turning motorist sees a gap behind that car and quickly turns behind the car but into the path of the cyclist.

Right hook is when a cyclist passes a slow-moving car on the right and the car suddenly turns right into the cyclist.

Trailer whip effect occurs when a diver simply jerks or jolts his or her steering wheel too quickly causing the trailer behind the vehicle to shift violently. This can be deadly for a cyclist.

See more on How to Not Get Hit by Cars.


Safe Practices for Bicyclists

As a bicyclist, you are subject to the same rules of the road as any other vehicle so be sure to pay attention to street signs, signals and other, plus:

  • Wear equipment to protect you and to make you more visible to other drivers on the road. This includes wearing a bike helmet, wearing bright clothing and reflective gear and having reflectors on your bike.
  • Plan your route so that you are driving on roads with less traffic and slower speeds.
  • Ride defensively. This means be alert to the surrounding traffic and try to anticipate what other drivers may do.
  • Ride with the flow of the traffic.
  • Be alert for hazards to avoid such as potholes, grates, and debris in the roadway.
  • Don’t be a distracted driver. This means no texting or even listening to music – anything that might take your focus off the other vehicles you’re traveling with.
  • Look over your shoulder before changing lanes.
  • Avoid sidewalk riding. Cars backing out of driveways may not see you.

Safe Driving Practices for Motor Vehicles

  • Yield to bicyclists as you would other motorists and be sure not to underestimate their speed.
  • Be cautious when turning right so that you do not cut off a bicyclist.
  • Give cyclists room.
  • Do not pass too closely. It is not safe to pass a bicyclist going downhill, around curves or when he or she is going the same speed as traffic.
  • Acknowledge cyclists with eye contact or a wave so he or she knows you have seen them.
  • Keep an eye out for bike lanes. Don’t veer into this lane and pay attention to when it ends.
  • Pay attention to the bicyclist’s hand signals. You should be familiar with these signals so you know the cyclist’s intention.

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