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With Warmer Weather Comes More Bicyclists on the Roadways

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As the weather gets warmer outside, more bicyclists will be sharing the roadways with automobiles. It's extra important for motorists and cyclists to be aware of one another to practice basic safety rules to make sure that everyone can travel on bike or by car without getting injured.

Bicyclist Michelle Matson experienced an unfortunate incident that left her with permanent injuries when a motorist failed to properly follow safety rules. Fortunately, Matson wasn't killed but flecks of asphalt still remain lodged beneath her skin from the ordeal that happened a year ago. There is also a metal pole extending from her kneecap to her ankle, along with screws, that keep her left leg together. Matson and her boyfriend were riding their bikes home in October 2010 when she was struck by a speeding vehicle that fled the scene.

Matson's ordeal demonstrates a growing problem: more people are using bikes for transportation, but automobile travel is still the most popular form of getting around. This is sometimes reflected by motorists' carelessness towards bicyclists on the roadways. But by following basic safety rules, everyone can travel safely. For example, the California Department of Motor Vehicles recommends that:

  • Motorists must look carefully for bicyclists before turning left or right, merging into bike lanes, and opening doors into moving traffic. Respect the right-of-way of bicyclists because they have a right to share the roadways with you.
  • Bicyclists should also follow these four basic safety rules: 1) maintain control of your bike; 2) protect yourself–wear a helmet; 3) be visible and alert and always signal your intentions; and 4) ride with traffic.