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Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Bicycle safety is crucial for cyclists, motorists

Aug. 26, 2014 at 11:45 a.m.


Children young and old love to ride their bicycles. It's a great way to enjoy the outdoors, get exercise and, for young children, enjoy a taste of freedom. However, with this freedom comes a chance to teach our children responsibility. Some are more naturally careful than others when out on the public streets.

Because of this, motorists as well as bicyclists should watch out for one another while on public streets.

With the school year underway, more bicyclists than usual will be on the streets as students travel to and from schools. The goal is for all to make it to school in the mornings and home again in the afternoons safely.

All it takes is for one motorist not paying attention to a bicyclist for disaster to happen. Many motorists who have encountered bicyclists have said the cyclist appeared out of nowhere, and they had no time to avoid them.

That appears to be true in many cases.

That is why it is crucial that motorists pay attention to what is on the road and what is approaching from all sides. Don't be a distracted driver.

While it is the motorists' duty to pay attention to bicyclists, it is just as important for bicyclists to pedal safely and to obey safety and traffic laws. They, too, should be sure to wear safety equipment, such as helmets. They should also have reflectors mounted on their bikes so motorists can see them in the early morning hours and after dark.

Cyclists, who often ride with their friends, should not be distracted while riding. They should pay attention to what is around them, including approaching motorists, traffic lights, and stop signs and driveways to businesses and homes.

A third step in responsible bicycling is for parents to know where their children are when on their bikes. Parents of inexperienced riders as well as those younger than 10 years old should watch their children as they ride. If parents rode with them, they could instill the importance of being safe and alert.

This is especially true in the late evenings around dusk when there are more vehicles on the road and people are leaving businesses or their workplaces.

A recent wreck involving a young child and motorist is a good example of the need for parental supervision and safety on the part of the rider. The driver was not found at fault in the wreck that injured a 6-year-old.

The safety of children and other bicyclists is important daily but even more crucial now that school is back in session. It is important for all motorists and bicyclists to be alert as we share the roadways.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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