Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
Pedestrians and bicyclists are some of the most vulnerable people on our roadways. If you are walking or riding a bike, part of the safety responsibility falls on you, of course. Being on the sidewalk or bike lane doesn’t mean you won’t have to deal with drivers. Likewise, drivers need to pay attention to those on footpaths and bike paths. Walk smart, bike smart, and drive smart to keep our community safe.
You need to look up, look out, and stay alert. It’s tempting to pass the time on a walk by looking at your cell phone, but it’s safer to pay attention to your surroundings.
Always make eye contact with drivers, too. If they don’t make eye contact with you, there’s a good chance that they haven’t noticed you, so you shouldn’t step into their path. Ideally, they’ll notice the pedestrian crossing signal or the red light, but they might not see you.
Always follow traffic rules and cross at designated pedestrian crossings wherever possible. Stay visible to oncoming traffic, too, by wearing bright or light-colored clothes. If you must walk in the road, walk against traffic so that you can always see the vehicles coming.
When you’re on a bike, it’s safest for everyone if you drive as though you’re in a car. Always ride with traffic, signal the direction you’re heading, and follow all traffic laws. Don’t use being on a bike as an excuse not to wait at a red light or stop sign.
Drivers tend to notice other cars, but bicyclists are sometimes harder to see. Take it slow and make certain drivers know you’re there before you ride near them or pass them. Wear reflective clothing and use a light if you’re riding at night so that you’re more easily seen.
Sidewalks are not shortcuts either. Riding off the road can put you and pedestrians at risk. Be mindful of bridges, tunnels, and other stretches of road where riding is prohibited by law. It will cost you a minute or two to dismount your bike and walk it across, but it’s for everyone’s safety, including your own.
Risky behavior behind the wheel can easily result in a collision and if you hit a pedestrian or a bicyclist, the results are devastating. Keep in mind that you’re moving a lot faster and are better protected. Even at relatively low speeds, car collisions can be deadly for those on foot or bike.
Follow all traffic signals, keep an eye on the bike lane, and always stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. If you see other cars stopping or slowing, be aware that they may be passing or yielding to someone on foot or bicycle.
There are times that pedestrians and bicyclists may not see you approach. They may not have time to react if you are speeding or if they are distracted. Look Up, Look Out, and Stay Alert!