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BICYCLE SAFETY

Bicyclists are legitimate users of public roads. In fact, bicyclists typically have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. Unfortunately, both motorists and bicyclists sometimes create potentially dangerous situations by ignoring the rules of the road. When drivers and bicyclists follow a few simple tips, bicycling becomes safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

Quick Facts

  • Bicyclists involved in crashes with motor vehicles in the Central Ohio region from 2010 to 2014: 1,368.
  • Bicyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles in the Central Ohio region from 2010 to 2014: 14.
  • Around 20% of bicycle crashes in the mid-Ohio region involve children under the age of 15.

Safety Reminders for Drivers

  • Bicyclists are required to ride as far to the right of the road as practicable, but are legally permitted to utilize the full traffic lane when necessary to protect their own safety.
  • Bicyclists should be treated like any other slow-moving vehicle: they should only be passed when there are no oncoming cars and sight lines are clear. When passing a bicyclist, ensure there is a minimum of 3 feet between your car and the bicycle.
  • Beware of bicyclists who might be in your blind spot or are otherwise difficult to see.
  • Bicyclists are allowed to ride two abreast.
  • Exercise extra caution when approaching children on bikes and at multi-use path crossings.

Safety Reminders for Bicyclists

  • Bicyclists should always strive to be as predictable as possible.
  • Bicyclists are required to follow the same rules of the road as other drivers: stop at stop signs and red lights, and ride in the same direction as other traffic.
  • Bicyclists should position themselves at least a few feet from the curb, and should especially avoid riding in the gutter. When parked cars are present, steer clear of the “door zone”.
  • Bicyclists should not weave in and out of traffic or pass queued traffic at a stop sign or traffic light, unless a bike lane is provided.
  • In most cases, bicyclists should not ride on sidewalks. This is especially important in urban areas, as motorists are less likely to see bicyclists behind parked cars, street trees, and other obstacles. Bikes on sidewalks also hinder and endanger pedestrian travel.
  • Bicyclists should yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and on multi-use paths and sidewalks (where sidewalk riding is permitted).
  • Bicyclists can promote safe interactions with motorists by being courteous yet assertive. Examples include riding single file or pulling over when cars are backed up behind your group, using hand signals and making eye contact, and using the full lane when it is unsafe for cars to pass.

What Are Sharrows?
Shared Lane Markings (also known as “sharrows”) are road markings used to indicate a shared lane environment for bicycles and automobiles. Among other benefits, shared lane markings:

  • help bicyclists position themselves safely in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to comfortably travel side by side,
  • ncrease the distance between bicyclists and parked cars, keeping bicyclists out of the “door zone”,
  • alert motor vehicle drivers to the potential presence of bicyclists,
  • advertise the presence of bikeway routes to all users, and
  • reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.

Additional Information
League of American Bicyclists education classes
ODOT Ohio Bicycling Street Smarts
Ohio Bicycle Laws
MORPC Complete Streets Toolkit