Governor warns cyclists, pedestrians to be careful
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Chip Battle loves riding his bike on Albany's roads. "I ride probably five or six times a week," Chip Battle, Cyclist.
But he always makes sure he is fully protected. "Know what you're going to do, you need to be, you don't want to weave in and out of traffic, you need to be predictable and then you also want to be visible," said Battle.
Gene Kirk owns Breakaway Cycles on Ledo road; his store sells all the items you need from LED lights for your bike to reflective vests so you can stay safe while peddling particularly at night.
"Yeah we try to stress the need for people to wear helmets, reflective material especially this time of the year when it gets darker earlier; people are out in the evenings, there is not as much daylight as there is in the summer time," said Gene Kirk, owner, Breakaway Cycles.
He says safety gear isn't that expensive. "You can get a blinking LED light for as cheap as $10 bucks to as much as you would want to spend," said Kirk.
Battle encourages every cyclist to invest in protective gear, because he has seen many cases of cyclists getting hurt.
"Last couple of years we had several actually here in Albany, I've been riding bikes in this area for almost thirty years, and up until recently it was pretty rare, but in the last two or three years we had four or five people we ride bikes with, had an incident with an automobile," said Battle.
That's why he says safety must be your top priority if you ride a bicycle, especially at night. Cyclists should also remember to ride with traffic and obey traffic laws.
Drivers need to watch out of them, especially at night, and give at least three feet of space when passing a bicycle. As for pedestrians, use a sidewalk when you can. Walk facing traffic if there's no sidewalk and cross streets in well-lit areas.
Governor Nathan Deal released this statement-
The Governor's Office of Highway Safety is joining pedestrian and bicycle safety partners to remind both walkers and riders to wear reflective gear as winter continues and days remain darker.
Data shows that in 2012, there were an estimated 132 pedestrian fatalities in Georgia. That accounts for 11 percent of all traffic deaths. While that number is below the national average of 14 percent, it still accounts for far too many deaths, the majority of which are happening at night. In 2011, 70 percent of all nationwide pedestrian fatalities happened at night, with 32 percent happening between 8pm and midnight and 24 percent happening between midnight and 4am.
"Walking, jogging or riding your bike is a great way to get exercise as well as being a necessity for many people getting to and from work," said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. "But we want to make sure people are being safe as pedestrians and cyclists. This is the darkest time of year so it's essential that you wear bright clothes and reflective gear to stay safe on our roads."
While pedestrians can help keep themselves safe by always walking on sidewalks and crossing at crosswalks where available, cyclists can also stay safe by riding with the flow of traffic. In Georgia, cyclists also have the added benefit of a relatively new law requiring vehicles to pass cyclists with a minimum of three feet. Both can be helped by wearing bright clothes and making sure reflectors are properly displayed on bicycles. In other words, get glowing!
"The easiest way for pedestrian, cyclists and motorists to share the road safely is for everyone to be aware of their surroundings" said Director Blackwood. "Wearing reflective clothes, especially now when the days are shorter, is an easy way to keep yourself visible." The good news is there are a number of safety tips for both drivers and pedestrians and cyclists to help keep everyone safe:
Pedestrians: Walk on a sidewalk whenever available; walk facing traffic if no sidewalk is available; cross at crosswalks; cross in a well-lit area if no crosswalk is available; make eye contact with drivers as they approach you; wear reflective materials; and refrain from using cell phones, ear phones or other electronic devices while walking to minimize distractions.
Cyclists: Ride on the road; obey all traffic laws; use front and rear lights if riding in low-light or at night; flow with traffic and signal your intentions; wear bright, reflective clothing; maintain a consistent line of travel; don't weave in and out of lanes.
Motorists: Look out for pedestrians everywhere; be prepared to stop when approaching a crosswalk; be on the lookout for pedestrians in hard-to-see conditions; never pass vehicles at a crosswalk; give cyclists three feet of passing space; refrain from tailgating a cyclist.