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Avoid accidents with bicyclists

Colorado is a popular state for bike riding. Whether training for the Triple Bypass or commuting to work on a daily basis, these cyclists can increase the risk of crashes. Both drivers and cyclists need to understand how to share the road so no one gets hurt.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic crashes result in almost 800 cyclist deaths every year. The majority of these occur in urban areas and between the hours of 6 and 9 P.M. One way vehicle operators can reduce the chance of a collision with bikers is to be alert and extra cautious around them. This means searching surroundings when in a parking lot, at a stop sign, when pulling out of a driveway or turning into a parking spot. If turning at a light, it is always a good idea to look over the right shoulder to make sure a bicyclist is not coming up on the right-hand side. 

Although many roads now have specified bike lanes, not all of them do. When sharing a lane with a bike, do not crowd them. When it is safe to pass, give them adequate space.

Bicyclists also have a responsibility to ride safely and according to traffic laws. According to the National Safety Council, cyclists must follow the same traffic rules as other vehicle operators. This means following the speed limit, stopping at red lights and stop signs and riding with the flow of traffic. Cyclists should always announce their intentions by using the appropriate hand signals.

It is also smart for bike riders to be proactive, considering they are harder for drivers to see. This means wearing bright or reflective clothing, using a front and back light and being alert to cars making turns or coming out of a parking space. Cyclists should also wear a helmet to decrease the severity of injuries in the event an accident occurs.

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