March 13, 2017
By Briana Orr
From eight to 80 years old, from the spandex-clad to skirt-clad, more people than ever are taking to the lanes and the paths on two wheels. To safely navigate crowds when bicycling, Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club has come up with its Ride SMART tips.
Momentary inattention is the number-one cause of incidents. Watch for vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians and hazards. Do not wear earbuds or use mobile phones while riding.
Leave enough room in front of you to avoid other riders, vehicles and hazards. Ride outside the car door zone and move off the road or trail when stopping.
Act safely and predictably
Wear a properly fitted helmet. Make sure you can see and be seen by motorists, pedestrians and other cyclists. Ride in a straight line and only pass on the left. Be courteous.
Respect the rules of the road
Obey all traffic laws; stop for red lights and stop signs. Signal turns when it is safe. Ride no more than two cyclists side-by-side — keeping in mind that single file is safer — and yield right-of-way when appropriate.
Think ahead and talk
Scan ahead and anticipate what other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists will do. Clearly communicate actions and hazards. Communicate to others when you are passing them; cross railroad tracks at a right angle when possible.
Tips for Motorists
Whether driving a sports car or a semi-truck, it can be challenging to see people on bikes. Cascade has a few tips for drivers of motorized vehicles to use when sharing the road with cyclists.
3-feet of space
Give at least three feet of space when passing people on bikes. Expect that bicyclists may need to suddenly deviate from their path to avoid debris or potholes in the roadway.
Slow down for kids on bikes
Children may not be able to ride predictably, so be prepared to stop.
Watch out for bicyclists:
- Merging through or turning across a bike lane or path
- Turning across crosswalks
- When opening your car door after parking
Food for thought: Since many of us also drive, think of fellow bikers like friends and family members when operating a motorized vehicle.
Brianna Orr is the Cascade Bicycle Club Communications and Marketing Manager. Cascade is the largest bicycle club in the county and a strong advocate for cyclists’ safety and rights. www.cascade.org