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Bicyclists face risks in summer: Watch out!

While many people focus on the risks that motorcyclists face each summer, bicyclists face challenges, too. Similarly to those on their motorized counterparts, cyclists face trouble from drivers who pull out in front of them and who don't see them coming.

In addition to that, bicyclists make less noise and have an even smaller profile, making it harder for drivers to know they're present. It's, therefore, even more important for drivers to be aware of the potential for cyclists on the roads and for cyclists to prepare for distracted or reckless drivers.

Cyclists are technically allowed to ride two to a lane instead of single file, giving them space across the lane to spread out and make themselves seen. Normally, cyclists keep as far to the right as possible, allowing them to stay out of harm's way if a driver tries to pass.

The trouble is that drivers often don't give bicyclists enough room. They come up close to them, almost riding the tail end of the bicycles. They pass too closely, potentially forcing a bicyclist to move off the road or to crash. Drivers need to give several feet of clearance to a cyclist for the safest situation for everyone.

Cyclists often feel they need to travel where traffic isn't heavy just so they don't have to worry about a crash. The reality is that both cyclists and motorists have a right to the roadway, and it's possible to share that roadway safely. With the right knowledge of local and state laws, drivers and cyclists can stay safe while using the roads together.

Source: Hutchinson Leader, "Watch out for the other kind of cycle, too," Ellarry Prentice, June 13, 2018

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