VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - With the weather cooling off, now would be the perfect time to get out and ride your bike.
However, before you do, the Valdosta Police Department wants to remind community members of how to stay safe on the road.
VPD officials want to make sure people know what measures to take when hitting the road on a bicycle.
Lieutenant Adam Bembry said that the same rules apply on a bike that they do when you're in a car.
Bembry said that most people think that because they're on a bike, that they don't have to adhere to the same rules. He added that cyclists should always stop at a stop sign.
If you're riding and listening to music, officers suggest you listen at a low volume or take one headphone out.
Bembry stated that with more hybrid cars making little to no noise, chances of accidents increase.
"My traffic unit is out hunting DUIs every single day and you've got DUIs driving around and you're out there on a bicycle, so being a defensive driver on a bicycle, in my mind, is twice as important as if you were to be driving a motor vehicle," said Bembry.
Bembry also said that reflective gear is a must for people that choose to ride at night.
Here are more laws people on bicycles are expected to follow:
- Where a bicycle lane is provided on the roadway, the operator of a motor vehicle shall yield to a person operating a bicycle in a bicycle lane.
- Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable.
- Any person operating a bicycle in a bicycle lane shall ride in the same direction as traffic on the roadway.
- Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a light on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of 300 feet to the front and with a light on the back which shall emit a red light visible from a distance of 300 feet to the rear.
- Reckless driving also applies to cyclists; any person who drives any vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property commits the offense of reckless driving.
- Bicycles must ride as close to the shoulder as possible and in the same direction as the flow of traffic.
- Cyclists are encouraged to avoid hazards such as surface debris, rough pavement, drain grates which are parallel to the side of the roadway, parked or stopped vehicles, potentially opening car doors or any other objects which threaten the safety of a person operating a bicycle.
- Maintain proper maintenance on your bicycle, the same as you would your automobile. Properly inflate tires, inspect reflectors and if riding your bicycle at night, GA Law states that you must have a working light on both the front and the rear of the bicycle.
- Due to a bicycle being considered a “vehicle”, it is unlawful to ride on the sidewalk. Do not allow riders to ride on the handlebars of the bicycle. Helmets are encouraged to prevent injury in case of a fall. When approaching a crosswalk, dismount the bicycle and walk the bike across.
- Do not assume motorists are aware of your presence while riding. Ride your bicycle in a defensive manner, the same as if driving defensively.
- Do Not allow a passenger to ride on the handlebars; No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
Officers with VIPD will be ticketing people that are found to be in violation of these laws.
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