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With spring in the rearview and summer quickly approaching, National Bike Month is now among us with an encouraging message of a safer experience on the roads for cyclists. Last year, the Bicycle Safety Law (HB 4304) passed in West Virginia which requires that motorists allow bicyclists at least 3 feet of passing space on the street. In light of this, West Virginia Connecting Communities commenced the “Give em’ 3 Feet” campaign this past Monday which assists in informing motorists how to advance and pass bicyclists. The campaign hopes to have an optimistic impact on lives throughout our nation.
It is important as a community that we embrace a secure environment for those who love to bike. For those out riding, here are a few tips for safer biking which will prevent biking accidents in West Virginia and endorse informative measures:
1. Wear your helmet. Follow this simple rule and you reduce your risk of serious injury by as much as 85 percent.
2. Keep your head up and look ahead, not at the ground. You need to see what is coming up so you have time to react and maneuver.
3. One person per bike. Riding with unsecured passengers puts you at risk for injury to yourself and others.
4. Ride in single file with space between bikes.
5. Ride on the right side of the road, never against traffic. Otherwise, you are at risk for an accident – or a ticket.
6. Plan ahead if you will ride in a group. Agree on the route ahead of time. Have a plan on what you will do if separated by traffic.
7. If you will be riding in an unfamiliar area, check out local laws and rules first.
8. Avoid busy roads and peak traffic times on your route.
9. Before riding at night, ask someone to help you check your visibility to motorists.
10. Maintain the bikes in your household. Keep chains clean and lubricated and periodically inspect brake pads.
In addition, by using hand signals and being aware of hazardous roads can aid in becoming a more cautious cyclist.
The best guideline is: Be Alert. Be Wary. Be Seen.
Be Alert Scan ahead, center, left and right.
Be Wary Pay attention to vehicles, pedestrians and others on the road.
Be Seen Use your horn, hand signals and light to be seen by others on the road.