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Be safe on your bicycle

May 14, 2015 10:54AM ● Published by Katelyn Nelson

It’s that time of year again! After a winter that threatened to never end, spring is upon us! It’s time to dust off our bicycles and take full advantage of the great bike routes and beautiful trails. After the long winter hiatus, it’s good to review some cycling rules of the road.  When cycling on the bike paths, keep right and pass on the left. Announce intentions to pass and move off the trail when stopped. On the roadways, always ride on the right, with the traffic flow. You’ll be more visible to cars and safer, especially at intersections. And—it’s the law.  Be predictable—ride in a straight line. Learn how to look behind you without swerving. Don’t hug the road edge—leave some room to avoid hazards. Don’t allow cars to squeeze by dangerously in narrow lanes—force the passing situation that it is. In very wide lanes, move out a bit further to remain visible to cars.  Ride in a straight line. Avoid dodging between parked cars. Also, look inside parked cars before passing, especially if you see a driver or can’t see. Avoid the “door zone”—the four feet along parked cars where doors may suddenly open. Remember, by state law, bicyclists are granted all the rights on the road and are subject to all the rules for car drivers. Traffic laws apply to cyclists—ignoring them hurts public perception! Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated like other vehicles on the road. For example, wait for and take your turn when you have the right-of-way. Use lights at night or in poor visibility. A white headlight and rear red reflector are required by law. Flashing lights are especially effective. Use bike reflectors, reflective clothing, and a bell. Signal your intentions. Also use eye contact to communicate with drivers. And, of course, always wear a properly fitted helmet! For more bike safety resources, visit the Batavia Bicycle Commission’s website, bikingbatavia.org, or visit the League of Illinois Bicyclists website at bikelib.org. As always, be safe and have fun! 

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