Safety Tips for NOLA Bike to Work Week

Posted by Anneka on April 21, 2015 in Bicycle Safety

Everyone plays a role in making our roads safer - Happy Bike to Work Week!

This week is NOLA Bike to Work Week – a week where we encourage folks to leave their cars at home and pedal to work.

Whether you’re biking to work this week, or just want to be a friendly supporter from behind the wheel, we all play a role in making our roads safer.

Bicycle Safety Tips

During this week, we often get requests for tips for biking to work. Below, we have put together a list of the most important safety tips to keep in mind when you’re out enjoying your ride.

Ride with traffic – not against.
Drivers pulling out of intersections or driveways don’t expect to see bicyclists coming the wrong way. They could pull out in front if you and have no idea you were coming. This is backed up by crash data – you are three times as likely to be involved in a crash when wrong-way riding. (citation: http://www.bicyclinglife.com/Library/riskfactors.htm)

Use hand signals – and be predictable whenever you ride.
Most of us with driver’s licenses are used to scanning (looking behind us) and signaling before we make a turn and change lanes. Likewise on your bike, this is the best way to communicate your intention to other road users. Don’t want to make a tricky left turn? Use the box turn (http://www.cyclelicio.us/2011/box-turn): ride through the intersection, stop on the other side, and wait for the light to turn green in your direction.

Ride at least 3-5 feet from parked cars.
This helps keep you out of the door zone, and it also makes you more visible to drivers. If you’re riding in a narrow lane, occupy the full lane, which encourages drivers to pass at a safe distance.

And finally, follow all traffic laws and signals. Under the law, bicycles are vehicles – which gives bicyclists both rights and responsibilities on our roadways. This includes using lights at night (white for the front, red for the rear) – a law in Orleans Parish. In addition to enhancing your own safety, following the rules will make you more predictable to other road users – including pedestrians.

Be a Friendly Motorist

Can’t bike to work this week? You can still do your part to make bicycling safe and comfortable for those on the road.

Give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space when passing – and when possible, just change lanes.

Don’t park in bike lanes. And don’t drive in bike lanes. This one should be self-explanatory – but it is both frustrating for bicyclists and illegal for you.

Check for bicyclists before opening your car door. Getting in the habit of opening your door with your right hand – forcing you to reach across your body and turn around to check – can help keep someone from getting doored.

Happy NOLA Bike to Work Week – let’s all do our part to help each other get to where we need to go safely, courteously, and conveniently.

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