Spring has sprung and we’re excited to see more people out on bikes! As you get back in the saddle this spring, the Coalition wants to remind you of a six simple bike safety tips and laws to help keep you and other road users safe:
Be Visible. By far, most serious bike accidents occur because motorists claim they did not see the bicyclist. When dressing for bike riding, it is best to wear clothes that are brightly colored for visibility. At night, Maine state law (§2084) requires bicyclists to use a headlight visible for 200 feet, a rear reflector, and some kind of reflector around your pedals or feet.
Ride on the right, with traffic. Always ride with traffic, and keep as far to the right as is safe. You have the right to take possession of a travel lane to set up for a left turn, to pass another vehicle, or to avoid an “unsafe situation”.
Be Predictable Always ride in a straight line and be predictable. Do not weave from side to side, or suddenly move out into traffic.
Obey traffic signs and signals. Stop for stop signs, lights and yields. Never make someone give up their right of way because you are violating a rule.
Use hand signals to communicate. It can be as simple as pointing in the direction you plan to go at an intersection or using the standard hand signals which are left hand straight out for “left turn”, up for “right turn”, and down for “stop”.
Yield to pedestrians in all situations. It is your responsibility to exercise extra caution around walkers, and to alert them that you’re approaching before passing with a bell or call. Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Be extra careful on multi-use paths and sidewalks. If you’re over twelve years old, we recommend you stay off sidewalks since they are not designed for vehicle traffic. Riding on the sidewalk puts bikes where traffic doesn’t expect them, jeopardizes walkers, and is statistically a dangerous place to ride. It is also illegal in some places in Maine and across the country.
While the list could go on and on, we ask that you follow these points as well as all of the other Maine bike traffic laws. For more information on bike safety, please visit our Safety & Education page at bikemaine.org/safety-education.