I was both surprised and delighted to spot an article in the Syracuse Post Standard titled, “Five Things Drivers and Cyclists Need to Know about Each Other”. As an avid cyclist and a Central and Syracuse New York accident lawyer representing injured cyclists, I applaud the Post Standard for bringing to a wider audience some safety tips I have been blogging about for years:
For cyclists, (1) be predictable, not weirdly spontaneous, so motorists will know what you are about to do. You can be predictable simply by following the same rules of the road a motorist must follow: obey all traffic rules/laws, for example, drive on the right side of the road, stop at red lights and stop signs. (2) Imagine you are invisible (you are!) so that you drive totally defensively; (3) try to make eye contact with drivers at intersections; (4) watch out for those parked car doors opening!; (5) don’t have music plugged into your ears (the law in New York requires you to have one ear un-plugged, but that’s not good enough, keep them both free to help save your life!); (6) always wear a helmet (required by law for those under 14, but required by love-of-life for all); (7) be visible; where bright colors in the day, and use bike lights at night (I recommend flashing lights even in the daytime — you are that much more visible – but remember to PRETEND you are INVISIBLE); (8) no sidewalk riding; (9) you are allowed to ride two-abreast, except when traffic wants to pass you, and then you must go single file.
For motorists: (1) Look out for us cyclists! Hey, we are here!; (2) Reduce speed when encountering cyclists; (3) give us room when you pass us! (4 feet at least); (4) if you can’t pass us safely, wait!
Notice how many more safety tips there are for cyclists than for motorists? That’s because if the cyclist makes contact with the motorist, the cyclist always “loses”. Don’t be a loser.
For a full list of legal requirements for bicycling in New York State, click here.
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