Six tips for summer bicycle safety

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Summer is here, and families are outdoors more than ever, which makes it a perfect time to brush up on bicycle safety precautions. Since the Lakes Area is a major tourist destination and Blue Zones community, there are consistently people bicycling around. Dickinson County Public Health offers these six tips for summer bicycle safety:

1. Give cyclists five feet

Give bikers on the side of the road some space. Wind, gravel and bumps can disrupt a bicycler to a greater extent than a driver of a vehicle. Give bicyclers at least five feet of space when passing or driving by. In fact, a new state law that became effective July 1 requires that you give bicycles a full lane of space when passing.

2. Be careful opening your car door

Many of the roads in the area have shared access for cars and bicycles, meaning that bicyclers will often ride near to parked vehicles. Make sure to double check your side mirrors to make sure someone is not coming.

3. Wear your bike helmet

There’s a reason even Tour De France riders wear helmets — they save lives and protect your health!

4. Bike on marked trails

The Lakes Area has one of the best trail systems in Iowa. Take advantage of them to decrease potential dangers you encounter on the road. If you do ride on the road, bike on the right side, as cars are more likely to see you there.

5. Obey street and trail signs and signals

You may be riding a bike, but you still have to obey traffic laws. Officers can give tickets for speeding and running stop signs; the same as vehicle drivers.

6. Wear bright clothing and lights

If you are riding at dusk or early in the morning, wear clothing and lights that make you easily visible. State law requires that you use a flashing head and tail light when riding after dusk. The responsibility is on you to be visible to the cars on the road and to make it easy for them to see you.

These tips can go a long way in preventing unnecessary injuries this summer. If you have any questions, please call Dickinson County Public Health at 712-336-2682.

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