November 27, 2014

Sharing the road safely

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With warm spring weather, more Vermonters will be hitting the road on their bicycles and motorcycles.

“Many crashes occur because motorists and bicyclists fail to give each other enough space on shared roads,” said Pat Moody, AAA Northern New England’s manager of public affairs.

AAA Northern New England offers the following safety tips:

Motorists

  • Never crowd motorcycles or attempt to share the lane.
  • When passing, change lanes completely and don’t cut in too closely.
  • Allow more than the standard 4-second following distance, and be aware that motorcyclists often slow down without activating the brake light.
  • Be suspicious of turn signals that may be left on because they don’t self-cancel.
  • Watch carefully and then look again to be sure a motorcycle isn’t closer than it seems or hidden from view because of its small size, especially at intersections.
  • Check for bicycles when opening your car door and when turning right.
  • When passing a cyclist, slow down and give plenty of space—at least three feet, and more if traveling at highway speeds.
  • Always signal your turns.
  • Remember, bicyclists may need extra room to move left when approaching road hazards

Motorcyclists

  • Avoid riding in poor weather conditions.
  • Wear a properly fitted DOT-approved helmet, eye protection and sturdy protective clothing, shoes and gloves.
  • Stay visible by using headlights and wearing bright colors.
  • Remember that motorcycle mirrors may make other vehicles seem farther away than they are.
  • Don’t weave in and out of traffic or ride on the shoulder, and avoid other vehicles’ blind spots.
  • Know your bike’s limits and your skills, especially when riding with a passenger, which makes balance more difficult, increases stopping distance and reduces maneuverability.
  • Watch out for road hazards ahead, such as potholes, oil slicks, water or debris on the road, ruts, uneven pavement and railroad tracks. Slow down in advance, and go around them if possible.

Bicyclists

  • Ride as far to the right as possible, but stay at least three feet away from parked cars to avoid the “door zone.”
  • Don’t hug the pavement edge where debris, loose gravel, or rough road surface might cause you to swerve into traffic.
  • Always check over your shoulder and signal your intentions, even when just changing position in a lane.
  • Ride on the street, not the sidewalk, and in the direction of traffic.
  • Yield to pedestrians.
  • Obey all traffic laws and posted signs.

For more information and tips on bicycle safety and maintenance, visit www.sharetheroad.aaa.com.

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