When was the last time you drove your car on the sidewalk? Do you ever drive on the left side of the road or drive at night without headlights? Hopefully, you answered “never, no, and no.” What about when you’re riding a bike? Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. If you’re one of the 900,000 cyclists in Maine (MaineDOT) then you know that riding PREDICTABLY, which means obeying all vehicle traffic laws, is one of your best strategies to prevent crashes. Instead of seatbelts, cyclists wear helmets. How many weeks of allowance would your “criminal” child have to save to pay the $25 ticket for violating Maine’s youth helmet law? Prevent injury (and tickets!) by learning Maine’s Rules of the Road for bicyclists and motorists.
Rules for Bicyclist
1. Maintain and regularly inspect your equipment. Secure any loads tightly.
2. Wear a helmet correctly. Helmets are required by law for anyone under 16.
3. Be visible and predictable wearing bright colors and plan ahead.
4. Ride with traffic on the right side and do not pass motorists on the right.
5. Watch for potential hazards by scanning 100 feet ahead to avoid hazards.
6. Signal all turns and remember to look back before you make a lane change or turn.
7. Be prepared for conditions by carrying supplies, proper clothing and plenty of water.
8. Obey all traffic laws by riding with traffic and obeying all stop signs and traffic lights.
9. Ride single file in traffic and notify other bicyclists of approaching cars.
10. Warn others when approaching and yield to pedestrians.
11. Always ride with lights at night both headlight and tail lights with reflective clothing.
As motorists, we must respect the rights of other road users including bicyclists. Check out these rules and suggestions for motorists.
Rules for Motorists
1. Reduce your speed when passing bicyclists.
2. Don't blast your horn when approaching bicyclists.
3. When a road becomes too narrow for cars and bikes to ride safely side by side, bicycles should ride in or near the center of the lane.
4. Recognize situations and obstacles which may be hazardous to bicyclists and give them adequate space to maneuver.
5. Do NOT pass bicyclists if oncoming traffic is near and wait as you would with any slow-moving vehicle.
6. In bad weather give bicyclist extra trailing and passing room.
7. When uncertain in any situation slow down until it's safe to pass.
8. Give at least three feet of passing space between the right side of your vehicle and a bicyclist.
9. After passing a bicyclist on your right, check over your shoulder to make sure you have allowed enough room before moving over.
10. Do not turn in front of bicyclists unless you can do so safely.
11. When turning left at an intersection, yield to oncoming bicyclists just as you would yield to oncoming motorists.
12. Before opening your car door, look for bicyclists who may be approaching.
13. Children on bicycles are often unpredictable - expect the unexpected.
When we all drive and bicycle safely and are considerate of others it is easy to Share the Road!