Warmer weather is finally here, which means many of us are dusting off our bicycles and athletic shoes to get outside. As we enjoy the fresh air, however, it’s important to keep safety in mind, as this is the time of year when we start seeing more bicycle and pedestrian accidents.
One question that we are often asked is, “Do bicycles have to follow the rules of the road?” The answer is YES!
Bicyclists are required to follow the same rules of the road as motorists in vehicles. This means stopping at stop signs, obeying traffic signals and lane markings and using hand signals to let others know your intention to stop and turn.
We are very lucky here in Naperville to have so many bicycle paths and trails. This keeps cyclists off busy streets. If you do have to venture on the roadway; however, be sure to ride with the flow of traffic, on the right. Be visible and wear light or reflective clothing and always wear a helmet. It is also so important to be aware of your surroundings. Anticipate hazards and don’t wear any headphones, as they can prohibit you from hearing if a vehicle is approaching.
Walkers and runners need to practice safety, too. Use signaled crosswalks when possible and use extreme caution when crossing at intersections without signals. It goes without saying to look both ways before crossing the street. Runners and pedestrians are often victims of motor vehicle accidents because they aren’t noticed by those driving. So, stand out and be visible! Wear brightly-colored clothing and if you are out at dusk or dawn, make sure you have some reflective components on your clothing, too.
Here are a few more tips for being safe while outdoors:
- Stay alert! Keep the music off and practice good situational awareness, listening to your instincts. Always know who and what is around you.
- Don’t run alone. The buddy system just isn’t for kids. There is strength in numbers. If you must run alone, stick to busy areas and always tell someone where you are going.
- Bring your phone and carry an ID. Consider purchasing a running belt or ID tag for your shoe so you can be hands free.
Staying safe is no accident. Whether you are out for a leisurely bike ride, afternoon stroll or run, practicing these safety tips will help you stay safe.
For more information on traffic, pedestrian and bicycle safety, visit www.naperville.il.us/asafernaper.
Until next month… Stay Aware and Stay Safe.