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October 21, 2013

Complete Streets planning benefits touted

(Continued)

PLATTSBURGH —

Cyclists often fail to follow those laws, he noted.

They are supposed to follow the same traffic rules as motor vehicles, including riding with the traffic flow.

A big problem is riding on the wrong side of the road, as the cyclist then can’t see traffic control signs.

Cyclists should ride as far to the right as possible to minimize the possibility of contact with vehicles, Light said.

And they should go single file when being overtaken by a vehicle. Hand signals should be used to show the riders intentions when turning.

LIGHT AT NIGHT

Bicycles are required to have at least one seat and one working brake. They also need a light for night riding, as well as reflectors.

Light said awareness goes a long way to staying safe while riding. Cyclists should focus on three Bs - Be Seen, Be Predictable and Be Paranoid.

“You have to anticipate bad driving,” he said.

MUTUAL RESPECT

New York Bicycling Coalition Executive Director Josh Wilson spoke of the importance of cycling education. He said about 35 percent of the U.S. population rides a bicycle, and the use of bikes for commuting is up 68 percent since 2005 in the 50 largest cities in the United States.

While New York has the third-highest fatality rate in the country from 2009 to 2011, there was only one in Clinton County in that period, he noted.

Wilson said graphic emotion-based campaigns are usually most effective, but there is a trade off, as they may keep people from riding.

“The last thing we want to do when trying to get people on a bike is to make them afraid,” he said.

Wilson said the cycling community has a lot to gain by sharing responsibility. The coalition’s new campaign is that mutual respect between cyclists and motorists saves lives. 

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