By Kathy Cline / ADOT Communications
Warmer weather is here, and that means more bicyclists on the road, including Arizona's rural and scenic highways.
Fear not, though. It is
possible for cyclists and other vehicles to co-exist safely with just a few safety tips in mind.Share the Road
, ADOT's safety guide for bicyclists and motorists, begins with this message for both:Same road, same rules, same rights and responsibilities.
Advice for motorists includes:
- Be aware of bikes: Know where riders are at all times, and be prepared to slow down or even stop suddenly.
- Yield to bikes when turning through gaps in traffic: Make turns with extreme caution.
- Be watchful at intersections and driveways: Yield to cyclists just as you would motorists. They may be traveling faster than you expect.
- Watch out for bicyclists when making right turns: Don't turn in front of bicyclists. Be predictable and always signal your intentions.
- Give them room: By law, you must give at least 3 feet of clearance when passing. When possible, make that 5 feet for bicyclists.
And now, an important message for bicyclists: Under Arizona law, you are operating a vehicle. That means you must follow all traffic laws, like signaling lane changes and following the rules of stop signs and school zones.
Other safety advice for bicyclists includes:
- Be visible: Wear light, bright and reflective clothing. Use a rear red reflector or light and a white front headlight.
- Protect yourself: Helmets are proven to reduce the risk of brain injuries, and some cities and counties require them for bicyclists under the age of 18. Mirrors improve your overall awareness, but they have blind spots, so always scan over your shoulder before changing your line of travel or making a left turn.
- Be aware of the sun: It's more difficult for motorists to see when driving toward sunrise and sunset. Ride defensively and be prepared for the possibility that a motorist won't see you and will turn into your path unexpectedly.
- Check your bike: Be sure that brakes, gears and chains are working smoothly and that tires properly inflated.
For more tips and information, please visit ADOT's Bicycle and Pedestrian Program at AZBikePed.org
. It has some great resources, including far more safety advice for bicyclists and motorists
than we can fit in this blog post. There's even a link to an interactive mobile map
with information on shoulder widths, grades and traffic volumes for the state highway system.