Bicycle Safety

Share the road with our cycling friends.

The road’s for all, big or small.

More and more Americans are biking to commute, for exercise or just for fun. By law, people on bikes have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles on the road. At the same time, they are not equal in size to cars and trucks. When a crash happens, it’s usually the cyclist that loses. That means those of us in the bigger, faster vehicles need to be extra mindful on the road.

Stats

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Idaho bicycle crashes increased by 16% in 2021. Three bicyclists were killed
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Of the bicyclists involved in Idaho crashes in 2021, 97% received some degree of injury
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Of the Idaho bicyclists in crashes in 2021, 18% were between 4 and 14 years old
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Nationally, 938 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in 2020
As we look out for one another and share the road, we will keep our friends and neighbors safe. If drivers and riders stay alert and follow the rules of the road, a large percentage of crashes can be avoided.

How the Idaho Stop Law Keeps Cyclists Safe

Enacted in 1982, the Idaho Stop Law lets cyclists yield at stop signs and proceed when safe, rather than come to a complete stop. If motorized traffic is present at a stop sign, other cyclists and pedestrians have to yield the right of way. If there is no motorized traffic, they can proceed. 

The Idaho Stop Law also says cyclists can treat red lights like stop signs. If the intersection is clear, they must come to a complete stop before proceeding through the intersection. This gives cyclists more visibility in intersections because they can get out ahead of motorists.

Tips for drivers:

  • In parking lots, at stop signs, or when packing up or parking, look for other vehicles and cyclists
     
  • When turning right on red, stop completely and look left-right-left and behind before turning. Watch for people on bikes approaching from the right behind you

  • Give cyclists room and share the road. Whether there’s a bike lane or not, pass them like you would any other vehicle — when it’s safe to move over into an adjacent lane

  • Motorized vehicles aren’t allowed in bike lanes 

Beware of the right hook

Yield to people on bikes just like you would motorists. Don’t underestimate their speed, which will help you avoid turning in front of them on the road or sidewalk. This is called “right hooking,” and it happens when a driver makes a right turn into a cyclist who is going straight in a bike lane or on the shoulder of the road. It’s one of the most dangerous things you can do around a cyclist.

What is the Dutch reach?

When parking on the street, use the “Dutch reach” method — reach across your body and open your door with your right hand — this turns your body so you can better see cyclist. Don’t open the door with the hand closest to it. This way, you’ll have more time to look for people on bikes.

Tips for cyclists:

  • Ride a bike that fits you — bikes that are too big are hard to control

  • Be alert at all times and aware of traffic and road conditions, try to anticipate what others may do

  • Ride with the same flow as traffic

  • Don’t ride more than two wide on the road so cars can easily pass

  • Obey street signs, signals and road markings, just like a car. Use hand signals when turning

Getting ready to ride

Helmet:

Wear a helmet and make sure it fits properly. Leave two finger widths distance between the top of your eyebrows and bottom of the helmet

Clothing:

Wear clothing that makes you visible — bright clothing during the day, reflective gear and colors at night

Lights:

Put a white front light, red rear light and reflectors on your bike

Check your ABCs

Check air, brakes and chain:

Air:

Tires should feel hard. If not, add more air according to recommended pressure written on the side of the tire

Brake:

Pads should be clean, straight and contact the rims properly. Lift one tire at a time and spin it. Squeeze levers to see if tire stops

Chain:

Spin pedals and cranks to see if the chain spins the back wheels

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