As summer approaches and the weather warms up, more cyclists are hitting the roads. However, with more bicycles on the roads, there will be more accidents.
Those in the cycling community and Virginia law enforcement gave their tips and warnings in a WTKR report.
Michael Merritt, who has ridden his bike for decades, works with Bike Norfolk, a bicycling advocacy group that promotes the sport as well as bike safety. He warned that the most dangerous part of biking is posed by cars you share the road with.
He said, “The most dangerous part of riding a bicycle on the roads is the potential collision with an automobile. It’s terrifying. Everything can go horribly wrong very quickly.”
Merritt explained his own close encounter, where the mirror of a vehicle grazed his handlebar. He was fine, but others are not so lucky. In February, a cyclist was killed in a collision with a vehicle.
Peter Michalko, a former police officer, gave warnings from his law enforcement experience. Unfortunately, he was witness to many deadly traffic accidents in his career.
“In my 30-plus years, spring and summertime were the most dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians.”
Michalko hopes that motorists can be more educated about sharing the road with cyclists or pedestrians, saying that it’s their road too.
“I think not all motorists are educated as they should be on sharing the road with bicyclists and pedestrians, even,” Michalko said. “They have as much right to be on the road as everyone else.”
To avoid an accident, Merritt advised not wearing headphones to be able to hear cars. He also suggested using a mirror for visibility, and lights and reflectors that can get the attention of drivers.
Michalko also urged cyclists to have reflectors and lights, and to wear bright clothing, especially when riding at night.
“If everybody just pays a little attention and just slows down a little bit; let’s all just be a little more careful as the weather breaks,” he added.
If you do get into an accident on your bike, Virginia law enforcement says to treat it like a car collision. Report it to the police and give them and those involved your contact information.