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Bicyclists, motorists share safety responsibility

Those cycling around Door and Kewaunee Counties can help themselves on area roadways.  Motorists are required to give bicyclists plenty of space when sharing the road, especially when it comes to passing. That being said, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says bicyclists need to realize they have to follow the same rules of the road cars and trucks do, right down to how you communicate.

Joski says despite the large volume of bike riders in the area including last month’s Scenic Shore 150 mile Bike Tour that went through Kewaunee County, it has been relatively quiet when it comes to incidents.

 

FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI

As a follow up to the recent article on back to school safety, I wanted to expand on one issue in particular  that also relates to our returning students as well as the continuation of a popular summer past time; bicycling.

     We are very fortunate to live in a community of such natural beauty. People from near and far spend countless hours pedaling many miles either as individuals or as part of groups raising money for charities. Some of these rides take place on the many miles of the Ahnapee Trail, while others share the road with those traveling in motor vehicles. Even for those riding on the trail, there are numerous points where the trails must cross or merge with public roadways, and because of this some very basic and important safety tips apply to both scenarios.

      Visibility is a major safety consideration when on a bicycle due to the decreased size of the bicyclist’s profile both when being passed and met by a motor vehicle. Any efforts to bring attention to both the rider as well as the bike itself are always a good practice. Either light colored clothing and or reflective materials will help in being identified by a driver at a much greater distance, thus giving the driver of a vehicle much more time to navigate safety around the bike and its driver.

     This brings us to the next safety tip: Navigating around a bike traveling on a roadway. The most frequent complaint I receive from bicyclists is that vehicles do not provide a safe distance when passing. If you as a driver of a vehicle cannot provide for a safe distance between your vehicle and bike when you are passing, it is best you follow until the opportunity is there to pass them as you would a slow moving vehicle. I can say from experience, that there is nothing more frustrating and scary as feeling the gust of wind created by a vehicle which passes you leaving mere inches between you and the fenders.

     Now to the bicyclist, please operate your bike with the traffic, not against it. Sometimes people get confused as the common practice for walking is to go against the traffic. Also, those street signs are meant for you as well. Just today I was driving down the street and a bike failed to stop at a stop sign missing me by inches. Fortunately, I was in my Sheriff’s truck and took the opportunity to educate the young lad. Another good tip is to use the traditional arm signals. I know we were all taught them as kids, and yes they are still relevant when operating a bicycle. These signals are your way of communicating to vehicles you share the road with.

     As we are entering the beautiful fall color season and the ability to enjoy it by either vehicle, or bicycle, let’s not forget to do it safely, and if you are the type who would rather drive a vehicle to enjoy the scenery, please don’t forget about the rest of us on bikes. Stay Safe!

 

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