Walking and bicycling are healthy, economical, and environmentally friendly modes of transportation. In today’s populated cities, motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians have to share the roads — and all are responsible for safety. While motorists enjoy some protection from the vehicles they occupy, bicyclists and pedestrians are virtually unprotected and are subject to the risk of serious injury in the event of an accident. For their own protection, it is vital for pedestrians and bicyclists to know how to safely travel on roadways shared with motor vehicles.
Bicyclists Safely Sharing the Road
To protect themselves from a bicycle accident, bicyclists need to be as visible as possible. They should refrain from wearing dark clothing at night and use lights and reflectors on their bicycles as required by law. They should stay alert and watch for motorists who simply do not see them, or motorists who are breaking the traffic laws. They should refrain from wearing headphones in order to hear approaching cars. Helmets are required by law for bicyclists under the age of 18 and extremely important for bicyclists of any age. When the head is unprotected, a simple fall from a bicycle can cause head and brain injury, which can have life-altering or even fatal consequences.
Pedestrians Safely Sharing the Road
Pedestrians are completely unprotected and extremely vulnerable to personal injury in accidents with motor vehicles. The American Automobile Association (AAA) offers a list of safety tips for pedestrians:
- Pay attention. Stay alert and pay attention to the vehicles around you. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by texting or talking on a cell phone while crossing the street.
- Be visible. Make yourself visible to drivers. Cross the street only in an area well lit enough that drivers can see you. Wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight.
- Follow traffic laws. Know and obey traffic laws. Cross at intersections and in marked crosswalks whenever possible. Do not cross in the middle of the block between parked cars.
- Avoid dangerous intersections. Do not put yourself in dangerous situations. Be aware of potentially dangerous intersections and avoid them whenever possible.
Pedestrians and bicyclists are more vulnerable to injury in an accident than the occupants of motor vehicles. However, with common sense safety precautions, they can do a great deal to reduce the risk of injury.
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