Dusk to dawn bicycle safety

  • Published
  • By John Kalita
  • Air Force Flight Test Center Ground Safety
Spring and better weather are on the way and the bike riders are taking to the roadways. A recent accident involving a bicycle rider and an automobile on base should serve as a reminder that both bicyclists and drivers need to be aware of each other. Base leadership wants bike riders and motorists to share the road and be safe.

When driving to and from work drivers share our roads with bike riders. When coming through the west gate in the morning, the sun is directly in our eyes and reflecting off the lakebed, limiting visibility. Please be aware of this hazard and take extra care to watch for bicycles.

Every year on America's roadways, more than 500,000 are treated in emergency rooms and more than 700 people die as a result of bicycle-related injuries. So what can we do as motorists to make it safer for the bike riders we share the road with? And what can bike riders do to improve their own safety?

Tips for Motorists:
1. Slow down during times of reduced visibility.
2. Be alert. Like motorcycles, bicycles are harder to see than autos.
3. Don't honk. This can startle bicyclists and cause them to swerve.
4. When passing, be sure to clear the bicyclist before moving back into your lane.
5. Do not pass a bicyclist and then make a right turn in front of him or her, as this is a cause of many accidents.
6. Always remember, bicyclists have the same right to the road as you do.

Tips for bike riders:
1. Wear an approved helmet.
2. Follow the local rules of the road.
3. Wear reflective outer garments and gear during the times of reduced visibility. In fact, it's a good idea to wear high-visibility gear always.
4. Ride with traffic.
5. Maintain control of your bicycle.
6. Use headlamps and rear lights during times of reduced visibility.
7. Operate your bicycle to the far right and on the paved shoulder if possible.
8. Use hand signals when appropriate.

And bike riders remember: A visible bike rider is a safe bike rider, so wear high-visibility and reflective gear!