101 Critical Days: Visibility, predictability key to bicycle safety

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- When an automobile and a bicyclist are involved in an accident, it seldom matters who has the right of way--the bicyclist always loses. 

The 21st Space Wing Safety Office at Peterson Air Force Base shared good tips for automobile drivers in the June 1 Space Observer. Here are a few: 

Bicyclists have the same rights as drivers on the road. In fact, bicyclists are legally required to ride on roads, not sidewalks. 

Watch for bicyclists riding improperly—bicyclists are required to ride on the side of the road with the flow of traffic, but that doesn’t always mean they do. 

Don’t assume you will be able to predict what a bicyclist is going to do; be patient and wait. 

With that said, bicyclists, let me share some advice with you that hopefully will keep you in one piece. 

• Wear a helmet. If you have any question as to how important a helmet is to your well-being as a bicyclist, ask Lt. Col. Gary Henry, the 50th Mission Support Group Commander, to share a story of how his helmet saved his life. In addition, you are required to wear a helmet when bicycling on base. 

• Be visible. If you are riding at night, wear something reflective and have both a headlight and taillight on your bike. Not only is this a requirement under Colorado state law, it also makes sure drivers will have more than a hundredth of a second to avoid you. 

• Be predictable. Hand signals on bicycles are just as important as turn signals on automobiles—even more so, perhaps, given how many drivers actually use turn signals. Additionally, follow the rules and the flow of traffic. You’re operating a vehicle according to state law, so traffic lights and stop signs apply to you, too. 

The 50th Space Wing Safety Office is happy to provide additional safety tips. To contact them, call 567-4236.