Learning to ride a bicycle is a right-of-passage for most children, and many kids and adults ride bikes either for recreation or to commute to school and work. In Pennsylvania, these bicycle riders will find a state that is doing a pretty good job of meeting their needs. In fact, according to the Detroit Free Press, PA ranks #15 out of 50 states when it comes to being bicycle-friendly.
Of course our Pennsylvania bicycle accident attorneys know ranking #15 out of 50 means that there is still plenty of room to do better and to make the state even safer for bicycle riders. This will require a joint commitment from drivers and from riders themselves as everyone will need to obey safety rules and laws. To help encourage bicyclists and drivers to take steps to improve safety, PA is participating in National Bike Safety Awareness Month.
How You Can Make PA Safer for Bicycle Riders
There are a lot of different things going on during National Bike Safety Awareness Month, including organized events where riders are encouraged to bike to work or school. The hope is that if many thousands of people ride to work or school, drivers will take notice of the bicycle riders and will be reminded of the importance of bike safety.
The Department of Transportation is also rolling out a Roll Model campaign during Bike Safety Month. The campaign is targeting parents specifically and it encourages them to model good behavior for their kids by wearing a helmet when riding a bike. Parents are also urged to make a rule that their kids must wear helmets and advised on how to ensure that a child’s helmet fits properly.
The Roll Model campaign also goes beyond encouraging parents to help keep their own kids safe. Parents who ride bikes are also drivers. And, as drivers, they can take some concrete steps to help reduce the risk of bicycle accidents occurring. In fact, all drivers — and not just parents of bike riding kids — should follow some basic tips to help keep bicyclist safer on the road.
Safety tips to practice both during Bike Safety Month and Beyond include:
- Paying careful attention while driving and watching for bicycle riders. Be careful to watch for riders in blind spots and avoid doing things such as driving while distracted that could cause you to miss the fact that there is a bicyclist in your path.
- Leaving bicycle riders plenty of room. You shouldn’t pass a bike rider unless you have plenty of space to get around. In fact, in PA, it is illegal to pass a bicycle rider unless you can leave at least four feet of space. Yahoo reports that this 4-foot law went into effect in 2012.
Drivers who respect bicycle riders, who give them plenty of space and who remember that bike riders have the same rights as anyone else on the road will help to reduce the number of bicycle accidents. Hopefully, if drivers make a commitment to being careful, PA can become an even more bike friendly state and can move up on the list from #15.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident in Pennsylvania, contact Metzger Wickersham at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.