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Fast Lane: Bicycling is only healthy when you ride safely

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 21-May-2009

As recently posted on Welcome to the Fast Lane, the Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, bicycling is only healthy when you ride safely:

"It’s clear that bicycling is good for the environment…when it takes vehicles off the road. It’s also clear that bicycling is good for your health…when you practice safety.

May is National Bike Safety Month. As this Administration works to develop environmentally-sound transportation options, making our streets more bike-friendly is high on the list. Our roads and communities must be built to allow people to get around safely outside of their cars, on bike or on foot.

But, as more people take to bicycling, that idea can only be sound when drivers and cyclists help each other share the roads safely.

Motorists should:

  • Recognize that bicyclists have a right to ride on the roadway;
  • Stay alert and keep distractions to a minimum;
  • Make a complete visual check for bicyclists before entering or leaving a lane of traffic.

But, bicyclists have an obligation as well. They should:

  • Ride on the roadway, rather than on sidewalks;
  • Follow the same rules of the road as other vehicles;
  • Wear a bicycle helmet every time you ride;
  • Make yourself visible, day and night.

Please take the time to visit the content-rich Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center and the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Best practices for bicycle safety can also be found on the League of American Bicyclists and Bicycle Safe sites. The International Bicycle Fund has a great list of bike safety resources.

We all know about "defensive driving." But, bicyclists are vulnerable and exposed in a way that motorists simply are not. While we are working to improve conditions for bicyclists on the roadways, let’s, please, remember the culture we’ve created over the last 100 years will not welcome bikes overnight. In the meantime, during National Bike Safety Month and throughout the year, I urge you to "bike defensively." "

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