Bike Safety Awareness and tips

May is National Bike Month

The League of American Bicyclists is the national sponsor of Bike Month, this year Bike to Work Week is May 13-17, 2013 and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 17, 2013.

Spring and Summer fun has begun. Kids are soon out of school on the streets, gas prices are at record highs, now is the time we dust off the bike from the storage shed and hit the streets. Here are a few key bike safety tips to know.

When you ride your bike on a sidewalk, you must yield to pedestrians. Some sidewalk areas with heavy pedestrian traffic are signed prohibiting riding bicycles on the sidewalk.

When you ride on the road, your bike is a vehicle and you must obey traffic laws.

  • Scan the road behind. Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving left. Some riders use helmet-mounted or bike-mounted rear-view mirrors. Always look back before changing lanes or changing positions within your lane, and only move when no other vehicle is in your way.

When passing a bike in a vehicle you must give at least 3 ft clearance to the bicyclist.

  • Go slowly on sidewalks and bike paths. Pedestrians have the right-of-way. Give pedestrian’s audible (horn/bell/word) warning when you pass. Don’t cross driveways or intersections without slowing to walker’s pace and looking very carefully for traffic, especially traffic turning right.
  • When on the road, ride in a straight line whenever possible. Ride with, not against, the traffic. Keep to the right, but stay about a car-door-width away from parked cars.
  • Avoid road hazards. Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, slippery manhole covers, oily pavement, gravel and ice. Cross railroad tracks and speed bumps carefully at right angles.
  • Choose the best way to turn left. There are two ways to make a left turn:
    1. Like an auto, look, signal, move into the left lane, and turn left.
    2. Like a pedestrian, ride straight to the far-side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals. By law, cyclists must obey traffic laws when bicycles are ridden on streets and roads within the State of New Mexico and Texas.

  • Ride a properly equipped bike.
    1. Always use a strong headlight and taillight at night and when visibility is poor. (By law, in New Mexico, to ride at night you must have a light-emitting headlight visible for at least 500 feet and a red reflector visible for 50 to 300 feet from the rear. Most states have similar laws.)
    2. Be sure your bike is adjusted to fit you properly.
    3. For safety and efficiency, outfit it with a horn/bell, rear-view mirror(s), fenders (for rainy rides), and racks, baskets or bike bags.

TIPS FOR BICYCLISTS:
HOW TO RIDE IN TRAFFIC

Rule 1: Be Predictable
Ride so drivers can see you and predict your movements.

Obey traffic signs and signals. Bicycles must obey traffic laws like other vehicles.

  1. Never ride against traffic. Motorists aren’t looking for bicyclists riding on the left side of the road. Ride on the right, with the traffic.
  2. Use hand signals when initiating a turn. Hand signals tell motorists what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy and of self-protection.
  3. Ride in a straight line. Whenever possible, ride in a straight line, to the right of traffic but about a car-door-width away from parked cars.
  4. Don’t weave between parked cars. Don’t ride over to the curb between parked cars, unless they are far apart. Motorists may not see you when you move back into traffic.
  5. Ride in middle of lane in slow traffic. Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic. (Remember, your bike IS a vehicle when on the road and you ARE allowed to operate it in the middle of the traffic lane, not just at the right edge, when traffic is slow. You’re also responsible for signaling and stopping at stop signs and traffic lights like other vehicles.)
  6. Follow lane markings. Don’t turn left from the right lane. Don’t go straight in a lane marked right-turn-only.
  7. Choose the best way to turn left. Remember: There are two ways to make a left turn. 1) Like an auto. Signal, move into the left lane and turn left. 2) Like a pedestrian.
  8. Don’t pass on the right. Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
  9. Go slow on shared paths. Yield to pedestrians. Give pedestrian’s audible warning when you pass. Do not ride on sidewalks where prohibited.
  10. When biking with others, ride in line when other traffic is present.
  11. Watch out for the parked car doors.

Rule 2: Be Alert
Ride defensively and expect the unexpected.

  1. Watch for cars pulling out. Make eye contact with drivers. Assume they don’t see you until you are sure they do.
  2. Scan the road behind. Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving left. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.
  3. Avoid road hazards. Watch for sewer grates, slippery manhole covers, oily spots, gravel, and ice. Cross railroad tracks carefully at right angles.
  4. Keep both hands ready to brake. You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain.
  5. Watch for chasing dogs. Ignore them, or try a firm, loud, “NO.” If you can’t get away, dismount with your bike between you and the dog. Call Animal Control or your local Police Dept. on your Plateau cell phone.

Rule 3: Be Equipped
You’ll ride more easily and safely.

  1. Keep the bike in good repair. Adjust your bike to fit you, and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly.
  2. Use lights at night or when visibility is poor. The law requires a strong headlight and rear reflector or tail light at night.
  3. Dress appropriately. In rain, wear a poncho or a parka made of fabric that “breathes”. Generally dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Avoid loose clothing. Purchase a “strap” at a local bike store to control your right pant leg to avoid catching in the chain.
  4. Use a pack or rack to carry things. Saddlebags, racks, baskets, and backpacks are all good ways to carry packages, freeing your hands for safe riding.
  5. Always wear an ANSI or Snell approved helmet. This reduces the potential for head injury by 85%.

· Place the helmet low on the forehead, just above the eyebrows.

· Helmet straps should be snug under the chin so the helmet stays in the same position.

· Helmet should not move back and forth or side to side.

Official IMBA Mountain Bike Rules of the Trail and Mountain Bike Safety

The following is the official list of mountain biking rules of the trail from IMBA, otherwise known as the International Mountain Bicycling Association. These mountain bike rules are designed to minimize our impact on our environment as well as promote friendly relationships between all trail users by creating a safe environment for us all. By following these rules we help ensure our access to trails in our local communities will continue and hopefully grow. Riding in control not only helps prevent crashes, it keeps others on the trail safe as well. When you ride out of control, you lose the ability to adjust to the terrain and environment as you pass through it. This can and does lead to dangerous crashes and injury to yourself and others.

Mountain biking is inherently dangerous and we all like to push the limits sometimes, but there is a fine line between pushing the limits safely and pushing them recklessly. Follow these steps to stay safe on the trails and on the right side of the danger line.

Gear up
Always wear a helmet and any other appropriate safety equipment for the riding conditions.

Never Ride Beyond Your Abilities
There is no shame in walking sections of the trail you don’t feel confident enough to ride, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

Use Appropriate Equipment for the Terrain
Some bikes are better for different situations. Just because you can see tire tracks, doesn’t mean you can ride it with your bike.

Keep Your Speed in Check
Always keep your speed at a level that will allow you to adjust to any unforeseen obstacles or changes in trail conditions.

Know the Trail
Never push the limits on a trail you are not familiar with. You need to get to know the trail you are riding at slower speeds before you can ride it like the trails you’re used to.

Slow Down for Blind Corners
You never know what or who is around a corner when you can’t see past it.

Stop and Look
Stop and look at sections of the trail that look like they may pose a challenge before you ride them.

Plan on the Crash
Always look at the consequences of crashing in a particular section or on a particular stunt before trying to ride through it. Sometimes a section can look easy to ride but can have deadly consequences to a crash.

Start Small, Go Big
Work your way up to obstacles and stunts. Find ways to practice moves in less difficult and dangerous situations or at lower speeds before committing yourself to something more dangerous.

Play It Smart
If you think what you are doing is not the smartest, you are probably right. Think about what you are doing and trust your instincts.

Every mountain biker should know and live by these mountain biking rules from IMBA:

Mountain Bike Rules of the Trail
The way we ride today shapes mountain bike trail access tomorrow. Do your part to preserve and enhance our sport’s access and image by observing the following rules of the trail, formulated by IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association. These rules are recognized around the world as the standard code of conduct for mountain bikers. IMBA’s mission is to promote mountain bicycling that is environmentally sound and socially responsible.

1. Ride On Open Trails Only.
Respect trail and road closures – ask if uncertain; avoid trespassing on private land; obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. Federal and state Wilderness areas are closed to cycling. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.

2. Leave No Trace.
Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Recognize different types of soils and trail construction; practice low-impact cycling. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage. When the trail bed is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don’t cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.

3. Control Your Bicycle!
Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations.

4. Always Yield Trail.
Let your fellow trail users know you’re coming. A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well; don’t startle others. Show your respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots. Yielding means slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary and pass safely.

5. Never Scare Animals.
All animals are startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. This can be dangerous for you, others, and the animals. Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders – ask if uncertain. Running cattle and disturbing wildlife is a serious offense. Leave gates as you found them, or as marked.

6. Plan Ahead.
Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding — and prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient at all times, keep your equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. A well-executed trip is a satisfaction to you and not a burden to others. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.

Keep trails open by setting a good example of environmentally sound and socially responsible off-road cycling.

BIKE SAFETY SUMMARY
Bicycles have the right to use on our roads; however, use of Interstate highways by bicycles is discouraged. Bicyclists Must:

  • Obey traffic lights, stop signs, one-way streets and other basic traffic laws.A bicyclist has the same rights and duties on the road as drivers of other vehicles, and some additional responsibilities.
  • Ride as far “as practicable” to the right (or to the outside lanes on a one-way street), particularly when automobile traffic is moving faster than you are.
  • Be prepared to yield at all times.
  • Use hand signals when turning or moving from a lane.
  • Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Give audible warning when overtaking a pedestrian.
  • Keep at least one hand on handlebars. Keep control of the bicycle at all times.
  • Use a headlight with a white light visible from at least 500 feet ahead, and a red reflector visible from at least 50 to 300 feet behind, when riding from sunset to sunrise or whenever visibility is poor.
  • Keep brakes adjusted so that, when braked, your bicycle skids on clean dry pavement.
  • Ride astride a fixed seat (kiddy seat and tandems acceptable). Riding “double” is discouraged.
  • Ride no more than two abreast.

Remember, your bicycle is a small, inconspicuous vehicle. It is not easily seen on crowded streets and will seldom attract attention on its own. At all times, do everything you can to make sure you are noticed. Safety First, Safety Always, Safety is our target.

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

You can contact him at keno@plateautel.com

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