The number of cyclists (age 18-24) has doubled in the last six years to 4.3 million. The average age of today’s riders is 46, with people doing it for fitness and transportation. In Ohio, a bicycle is considered a “vehicle” and must obey the same traffic laws as a car, bus or truck. A cyclist is not required to ride at the edge of roadway when it is “unreasonable or unsafe” to do so. Instead, the cyclist can ride in the middle of the lane and be more easily seen. When riding at night, the bicycle should have a lamp mounted on the front and be seen from a distance of 500 feet in front and 300 feet on either side. The back must have a lamp that flashes or has a steady red light visible from 500 feet. A red reflector on the seat must be visible from at least 100 feet. The 5 most common wrecks occur as follows:
– Left Cross- an ongoing driver turns left in front of the cyclist;
– Right Hook- a driver passes the cyclist and then turns right;
– A driver opens a door and hits a cyclist;
– A driver hits a cyclist when exiting a parking lot or driveway;
– A cyclist passes a parked car or obstruction on the left and gets hit from behind.
If cycling, being very conspicuous, wearing bright clothes, and always being on the defense are critical ways one must ride. If driving a car, give the cyclist room and be careful. It is not a fair power game between thousands of pounds of steel and a bike of 10-20 pounds with a frail human on it. It is fair road sharing. Cycling is a worthy, fun and beautiful endeavor for many reasons and we need to protect each other on the roadways.