Bike Safety: Using Caution on the Road

As Ohioans break out the bicycles during May, National Bike Month, AAA urges cyclists and motorists to exercise caution and practice bike safety to prevent crashes.

“Lessons in bike safety should start as soon as little feet touch the pedals of their first tricycle, and continue throughout adulthood. Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings and look out for cyclists who don’t have the same level of protection as motorists.” Said Kellie O’Riordan, traffic safety program manager for AAA Ohio Auto Club.

Motorists and bike safety:

It’s a two-way street when it comes to sharing the road. Motorists and cyclists should:

  • Remember, in Ohio, bicycles are considered vehicles, and have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, including the right to ride in the lane of traffic. It’s actually illegal for bicyclists to ride against traffic or on sidewalks.
  • Abide by Ohio’s 3-foot passing law, which mandates motorists maintain at least 3 feet clearance when passing a bicycle traveling along the road in the same direction.
  • Never honk at bicyclists. They may startle and swerve off the road or into traffic.
  • Bicyclists should be visible and predictable. Wear reflective clothing at night and always ride where drivers can see you. Don’t swerve between parked cars.
  • Wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Properly fitted helmets are an important safeguard against brain injuries, the most common cause of bicycle-related fatalities.
  • Always remain alert and avoid distractions, whether on a bike or in a car.

If a bicycle-related crash does occur, remember, it’s illegal to flee the scene. One AAA Foundation report found that hit-and-run crash deaths are on the rise, and most (65 percent) of the victims of these fatal hit-and-run crashes are pedestrians or bicyclists. Motorists involved in a bicycle-related crash should remain on scene, assist the injured and call 911.

Assisting Bicyclists:

During a survey of Ohio bicyclists, more than 81 percent said they had broken down while riding their bicycles. That’s why AAA Ohio offers Bicycle Breakdown Service, standard with any AAA Ohio membership.

Members who experience a bicycle breakdown (flat tire, broken chain, etc.) while riding in AAA Ohio Auto Club’s territory can call AAA, make their way to the nearest accessible road and a service truck will transport them and their bicycle where they need to go.

AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel-, insurance-, financial- and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at AAA.com.