Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety for All Ages
In the age of COVID, more and more people are choosing activities that get them out of the house and into nature. Walking, Running, and Cycling are hobbies that have increased in numbers since sheltering in place started.
But bicycles and pedestrians don't come with airbags.
This is why it's critical for everyone; drivers, walkers and bikers alike - to learn about proper safety measures and rules of the road.
How to Cycle More Safely
Unlike driving a car, there's no license or test for riding a bicycle on the roads. (However, you can find out where you can take a bicycle safety course in the USA here: Find & Take a Class - The League of American Bicyclist)
When you're a kid, you probably don't think twice about hopping on your bike and riding around your neighborhood or town. It's important to start educating bikers, especially at a young age, about the laws of the road and how to cycle safely.
- Obey traffic signs, signals and lights. Always cycle in the same direction as the traffic.
- Ride where you can be seen, but don't hug the curb too closely.
- Make sure you wear bright colors, have reflective clothing, and front and back reflectors on your bike.
- If it will be dark out when you are riding your bike, get a bike light.
- Never let another rider sit on the handle bars or bike pegs. One person per bike!
- You must obey the street signs, stop lights, and road markings, just as if you were driving a car.
- Signal clearly to other road users when you are turning, and make eye contact with others at intersections so you know they have seen you.
- Ride with the same direction as traffic.
- Every bike ride should start with putting your helmet on.
- When passing pedestrians, make sure you announce yourself and say 'passing on your left or right' or use a bell to make others aware of your presence.
- Make sure your bike is properly fitted for you. You don't want a bike that is too big or too small for you!
- Never car large packages that could get in your way. If you must carry something, wear backpack or get a bike basket.
- Walk your bicycle through crosswalks or across busy streets.
How to be a Safe Pedestrian
Did You Know That a Pedestrian is Killed or Injured Every seven minutes?
- Always use a crosswalk if they are available.
- Look both ways before crossing the street and continue looking until you are safely across the road.
- Make eye contact with drivers so you know they see you.
- Be patient - wait for the "walk" sign to change and never try to rush to 'beat' the sign from changing.
- Make sure you are alert and aware of vehicles that might be backing up or making illegal u-turns.
- Avoid distractions: Put your cell phone down. Turn your music down and remove your headphones. The more alert you are the better!
What can Cities do to Increase Safety for Pedestrians?:
- Reducing speed limits and the number of lanes pedestrians cross can drastically help pedestrians stay safe.
- Pedestrian hybrid beacons can control traffic stops that do not have a high rate of pedestrian traffic.
- Raised crosswalks helps to reduce the speeds of drivers.
- Enhancing the visibility of crosswalks with items such as lighting and enhanced markings can help drivers see pedestrians more clearly, especially when it's dark out.
- Pedestrian refuge islands give pedestrians a safe place to wait or stop in the middle of a busy road before crossing the remaining distance.
- Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) allow pedestrians to walk for an extra few second before cars get a green signal.
Resources for Bicycle Safety and Pedestrian Safety
- National Center for Safe Routes to School
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Program - The US Department of Transportation has put together a collection of key resources for bicycle and pedestrian safety.
- First Aid for Bicyclists - It's always important to know first aid. This website can help educate you on the proper procedures to follow if you see an injured bicyclist.
- Pedestrian and Bicyclists safety
- Pre-Ride Bike Safety Checklist
- Bicycle Safety - The NHTSA provides a comprehensive list of bike safety topics, from helmets to avoiding crashes to how to share the road with drivers.
- Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center - Find facts and figures, search for specific topics and watch free webinars all about safe transpiration.
- Pedestrian Safety - This website from the NHTSA has staggering facts and figures. Over 6,200 pedestrians were killed in 2018 alone.
- Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Tips
- Highway Safety: Bicycle Safety & Laws
- Traffic Safety Team - Learn about roadway concerns, safety tips for all modes of transportation and how you can practice smart traffic safety in your community.
- The Smart Route to Bicycle Safety (PDF)
- Which Helmet for Which Activity? - Learn why helmets are so important and which helmet is appropriate for any given activity.
- The League of American Bicyclist
- Learn About Bike Safety
- Bike safety - State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation
- Bicycle Safety Checklist - the ABC's of Bike Safety - go through the ABC's of bicycle safety with this easy to read checklist!
Authored by Jonathan Rosenfeld