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Safety tips for bicyclists and motorists who share the road

Autumn can be a fine time for bicycling in Kentucky. Whether as an alternate form of transportation to work and outings or as an inexpensive way to exercise in the fresh air, Kentuckians are taking to two-wheels instead of four.

But cyclists and motorists alike need to learn how to mutually share the highways and byways of our beautiful state to make the experience safer for all. Below are some tips for both groups to employ.

Bicyclist safety tips

Never drink alcohol and ride. It's against the law to ride your bike with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over .08.

Be visible on the road. Wear bright clothing and use equipment like reflectors and headlights to make yourself seen by drivers both day and night.

Get the right bike. Make sure that the bike you're riding fits your height and weight for ease of control and keep it in good repair.

Be predictable. Learn how to properly signal turns and ride with the traffic flow. Bicyclist must obey traffic signs and signals too.

Don't ride double. With the exception of tandems and bikes fitted with children's seats, bikes are one-person modes of transportation.

Carry minimal cargo safely. If it can't be strapped on the back or stored in a backpack, leave it home.

Don't ride on sidewalks. That's a good way to become a target for those backing out from driveways.

Use clips for pants and tie laces tight. Loose, baggy clothing and untied laces can get caught up in the bike's mechanism and send you tumbling.

Motorist safety tips

Be aware of cyclists. Look out for those on two wheels as well as four.

Don't underestimate bicyclists' speeds. Give them ample space and don't turn abruptly in front of them.

Be careful at red lights. When stopped at a light, before making a right turn, look right and behind for approaching bikers.

Give bicyclists room. Under state law, motorists need to allow three feet of empty space whenever they pass cyclists and only re-enter the lane after the bicyclist is safely behind them.

If you are a bicyclist who got injured in a crash with a motorist, you may have to file a claim for damages to receive financial compensation for your injuries and other damages.

Source: Kentucky Farm Bureau, "14 Ways to Share the Road," accessed Sep. 29, 2017

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  • Kentucky Justice Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association 1871 Lex Ordo Justicia
  • United States District Court Western District Of Kentucky
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