offers bicyclists six tips for safety near train tracks:
CROSSING TRACKS ON A BICYCLE REQUIRES CAUTION AND EXTRA ATTENTION! Narrow wheels can get caught between the rails. If possible, walk – don’t ride – across. Always cross at a 90-degree angle.
USE ONLY DESIGNATED RAILROAD CROSSINGS. The only legal and safe place to cross railroad tracks is at a designated public crossing with a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate. Crossing at any other location is trespassing and illegal.
TURN OFF MUSIC AND REMOVE EARPHONES AT ALL RAIL CROSSINGS. Music can be a deadly distraction near the tracks – preventing you from hearing an approaching train.
WET TRAIN TRACKS CAN BE SLIPPERY. Dismount and walk your bike across the tracks. Step over the tracks – not on them – to avoid slipping.
WATCH OUT FOR THE SECOND TRAIN. Wait after the first train passes until you can see clearly in both directions.
IF YOU SEE A TRAIN COMING, WAIT! Flashing lights or a lowering gate means a train is approaching. Do not proceed until the gates go completely up and the lights go off. It is illegal to go around lowered gates, whether on a bike, on foot or in a vehicle.
There are so many great reasons to ride your bike: It offers fun, freedom and exercise, and it’s good for the environment. We want kids and families to ride their bikes as much as possible. Here are a few tips so that you’ll be safe while you do so.
The Hard Facts
More children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking than any other sport. Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent – yet only 45 percent of children 14 and under usually wear a bike helmet.
- We have a simple saying: “Use your head, wear a helmet.” It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes.
- Tell your kids to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.
- Teach your kids to make eye contact with drivers. Bikers should make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street.
- When riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening, be bright and use lights – and make sure your bike has reflectors as well. It’s also smart to wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve biker visibility to motorists.
- Actively supervise children until you’re comfortable that they are responsible to ride on their own.
The ride is just beginning. Check out more bike safety tips.
article from www.good.is
We start on tricycles, graduate to training wheels, then the fateful day when we’re off on two wheels. But remember, cycling is a constantly evolving learning process. Keep fine-tuning technique and safety measures and that first moment of exhilaration can be a constant.
Be Aware of Bike Laws
Take time to learn local bike laws before hitting the road. Kurt Snyder discovered this firsthand when cycling in his Burke, Virginia neighborhood. “I was pulled over by a police officer with a radar gun,” he says. “At 15 miles per hour, I was apparently riding over the speed limit.”
Cycling laws aren’t one size fits all. “Knowing the codes, regulations and laws, as well as your rights and responsibilities is key,” says Allison Mannos, urban strategy director at the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition. “Your state’s Department of Transportation’s website should be able to point you in the right direction.” Robyn Cooper learned California’s laws through her workplace. “My company’s commuter program filled us in on local laws,” she says. “Because of that I learned where it’s legal to ride in Burbank.”
Not sure about a law? Santa Monica-based cycling and fitness coach, Riley McAlpine suggests thinking like a driver, particularly when it comes to stop signs and stoplights. “A major reason cyclists get hit is due to running stoplights,” she says. “And if you’re not injured, you’re still eligible for a traffic violation on your driver’s license and a hefty fee.”
Be Alert to Surroundings
As a safety measure, New York resident Thom Payne plans out his route before heading out on a ride. “It’s easier to navigate the streets and a lot safer if you discover those that have bike paths,” he says.
In a time when the world is full of distractions like texting, cyclists should keep their senses highly attuned. “Never take your concentration off your surroundings,” says McAlpine. “Don’t just look in one direction. Constantly look around you, scanning the road in all directions.”
Cooper found out cars weren’t the only things to keep an eye on during one of her daily work commutes. “Walkers rarely pay attention to what’s coming up behind them,” she says. “A woman walking a dog made an unanticipated move and my front tire grazed her leg.”
Cyclists are urged never to assume a car is going to do what’s anticipated. Like many riders, Los Angeles-based Margaret McGlynn has a developed a system for avoiding potential hazards during her daily 20-mile, round-trip commutes. “Drivers aren’t looking for cyclists, they’re looking for other cars and pulling moves like changing lanes or turn without signaling,” she says. “I wave, make eye contact, look, and ask permission. I also use arm signals. Sure, people have cursed at me, but I’ve found the nicer cyclists are, the safer we are.”
Turn Up the Volume… and the Lights
Making others aware of your presence with sound like a bell. Vocals are effective, too, especially when cycling in a group. “Always announce what you’re going to do,” says Mannos. “When passing other cyclists, call out if you’re coming up on the left or right. Even announce a stop.”
Another way cyclists can ensure pedestrians and drivers notice them is by gearing up with lights (see more about gear here). Missing Link customers get the following advice from Cummings, “Have at least one white light on the front of your bike and one red on back,” she says. “Flashing ones are more visible, but most lights will do both. There are lights that go on the front and back of helmets, too.” Though she usually commutes by bike, Cummings got a dose of reality when recently driving a car. “I started noticing who was visible and who was invisible,” she says. “I came straight into work and bought a bright yellow, reflective jacket.”
Avoid Car Doors
Keeping an eye out for people exiting their driveways is a given for cyclists. Another rule of thumb – “Cycle three feet away from parked cars,” says Mannos. Why? It’s very easy to get “doored.” “If a car door opens when you’re driving past, that’s a painful situation,” says McAlpine. “Be on the lookout for brake lights. The driver has their foot on the brake and has either just parked or is about to pull out.”
Cars don’t like them and neither do bicycles: potholes, wet roads and railroad tracks. “If crossing railroad tracks or a lip in road, never hit it straight on, go at an angle,” says McAlpine. And if there’s something in the road? “Look where you want to go rather than at something you don’t want to hit,” she advises. “Slowly and calmly move away without making a jerky motion.”
Another tip from McAlpine is remembering when roads are wet, avoid paint lines. Especially the white ones. “Those get very slick in rain,” she says. “And if you should happen to hit one and start skidding, never brake on water.”
Right Turn Lane
Extra care should be taken in right turn lanes, whether cyclists are continuing straight or turning. “When approaching a place where a right turn only is authorized, cyclists should not be in the right-turn only lane, or on the right edge of a dual-destination right or straight lane,” says McAlpine. “If intending to go straight, avoid riding in a lane that must turn or diverge to the right rather stay to the far right of the straight lane allowing the right turn only traffic to pass on your right.”
The Golden Rule
To experience a fantastic ride, it all comes down to this, says McAlpine. “Cyclists, drivers and pedestrians have to work together to make it a happy relationship.”
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