By Utah Department of Public Safety – Every season is a beautiful season in the West and a great time to enjoy the outdoors, especially on a bike. Here are some simple tips to help keep you safe while cycling Western roads.
Tip 1: Ride Defensively and Predictably:
- Go with the traffic flow. Always ride on the right in the same direction as other vehicles.
- Obey all traffic laws. A bicycle is a vehicle on the road and must obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings.
- Be predictable. Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars. Signal moves to others.
- Stay alert and look before turning. Try to avoid using personal electronics when you ride as it hinders your ability to listen for traffic and avoid dangerous situations. Always look before turning to avoid being surprised by a red light runner or distracted driver.
- Watch parked cars. Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected from parked cars (like doors opening or cars pulling out).
Tip 2: At Dawn, Dust, and Dark Use Reflective Gear, Especially Below the Waist
- If you want drivers to see you wear reflective gear. And make sure you wear enough reflective gear. The small reflective piping found on most athletic garments is not enough to make a difference. The more reflective you can become the better.
- If you want drivers to recognize you as a cyclist, wear reflective gear on your shoes, around your ankles or wear full reflective leg coverings. By incorporating reflective gear below the knee you highlight the movement of cycling or the up-down motion of cycling. This motion is much more likely to grab the attention of the driver, alerting that driver to your presence.
- The road is full of lights: street lights, reflective signs, other cars, motorcycles. Too often drivers see a light in the distance but can’t recognize what that light means until the object is quite close. By utilizing both light and motion you actually communicate, “cyclist here, please share the road.”
Tip 3: Wear Flourescents in the Daytime
- Research has shown that drivers consistently recognize fluorescent colors faster, more consistently and from farther away than standard colors. So when picking cycling gear go for fluorescents.
- There isn’t any research pointing to which fluorescent color is best, so you’re on your own there. However, fluorescent orange is always a good pick because drivers already associate that color with caution.
Tip 4: Use Lights Always
- Utah law states that any cyclist riding during dawn, dusk or dark is required to have a white headlight, red tail light or reflector, and side reflectors (41-6a-1114).
- But remember these are the minimum requirements. You can use lights both day and night. You can also get creative with lights. For example putting small lights on the back or front of your shoe will, like the reflective gear, highlight the motion of cycling.
Tip 5: Educate Others
- A large percentage of crashes can be avoided if motorists and cyclists follow the rules of the road and watch out for each other. When riding in groups or with friends encourage others to ride safely.
- If you see unsafe behavior among fellow cyclists make sure to address it and educate friends and family, especially those who may not ride, on how to share the road with cyclists.
To learn more visit: https://highwaysafety.utah.gov/pedestrian-and-bicycle-safety/bicycle-safety/