Advocate editorial board opinion: Summer brings fun and potential for accidents

By the Advocate Editorial Board
May 19, 2011 at 12:19 a.m.

Ah, spring is well under way, and summer is on the horizon. And we typically begin planning outings of all sorts, involving bicycling, boating and motoring.

We urge all to be safe during this potential time of relaxation and fun. Refresh your knowledge of safety rules, and enjoy your outings; don't end up in an accident and ruin your plans.

Just in the past couple of weeks, we noted accidents involving bicycles and motorboats.

First, bicyclists should remember state law, which requires that bicyclists, like motorists, obey all traffic laws, signs and signals, including stopping at all stop signs and all red lights. This means bicycles should travel with the flow of traffic, not against it.

"All laws and signs that regulate the movement of vehicles upon the roadway also apply to bicycles," according to Texas Transportation Code statutes.

Also, we encourage bicyclists to wear helmets and other protective gear. In addition, bicyclists are required to use hand signals to let others on the roadway know if the bicyclist is going to stop, turn left or turn right. These signals include extending the left hand and arm down for a stop, extending the left hand and arm horizontally for a left turn and extending the left hand and arm upward for a right turn. Of course, at night, the bicycle should be equipped with a headlamp and reflectors.

Motorists should abide by the same rules as bicyclists. However, nowadays, motorist have turn indicators and brake lights. Please use them in a timely manner.

For boaters, the rules get more stringent.

All life jackets must be U.S. Coast Guard approved. Children under 13 years old in water craft less than 26 feet in length are required to wear the life jackets while under way.

Boats are required to carry a horn, whistle or bell. And from sunset to sunrise, boats not docked are required to exhibit a bright light or lantern that is visible all around, as well as starboard, port and stern navigation lights. Always practice courtesy and obey wake zones - that means slowing down to the designated speed. Motorboats should yield to sailboats and other craft not motorized.

We want you to have fun this summer. But we want you to be safe. Please know the rules, and abide by them.

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



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