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EDITORIAL: Be mindful of bicyclists

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If you read the Evansville Courier & Press, you might have seen the recent report of the death of a cyclist on Green River Road. Such news brings the realization that with summer, rising gas prices and school being out of session, more of our neighbors, co-workers, family and friends will be out and about on bicycles. It also reminds us of the importance of sharing the road safely.

We’ve been fortunate in Perry County to have great opportunities to dust off those bicycles and head out through the county to enjoy the weather and beautiful scenery. With the bike-lanes initiative in Tell City for riders, those with bikes can feel a bit safer as they ride through town, which comes in handy with high gas prices.

Just before school let out, William Tell Elementary hosted the annual bike-to-school event, which shows the positive aspects of biking to students and encourages them to ride their bikes to school. Cannelton elementary students also have a bike-athon each year to raise money for St. Jude’s. The turnout is always great and students get to have fun while helping others.

Biking is a fun, healthy and convenient activity for many in our area and we’ve been fortunate to have very few accidents. But with more chances for riders to take to the streets in the summer, bicyclists and motorists alike need to be careful of each other and remember safety is key when sharing the road. According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety Web site, around 57 million Americans are riding bicycles and traveling on roads shared by millions of motorists in vehicles much larger and faster. Both those riding bikes and driving vehicles have to watch out for one another.

For those biking, safemotorist.com has a checklist of things you should keep in mind when you hit the bike lanes this summer. Wearing a helmet is one of the biggest steps in being safe when riding; also make sure your helmet fits your head correctly. Obeying all traffic signs is also a must, including stopping at all signs, yielding to pedestrians and using hand signals.

Other tips the site offers include wearing reflective clothing, making sure your bike is in good working order, avoiding heavily congested areas and being courteous to other drivers. You can also get a list of Indiana’s bicycle laws on the Web site.

As for drivers, bicycleindiana.org has some helpful tips, as well. When passing a cyclist, be careful. Motorists are required to give bike riders at least three feet of clearance when passing them. If there isn’t enough room to get around safely, just be a little patient. Once there is space, slowly move around them. Don’t honk your horn at a cyclist, either; doing so could startle them and cause a wreck.

Remember, you should treat bike riders like other vehicles – yield to them when turning, never cut them off and always assume they are traveling straight unless they indicate otherwise. And just be aware of cyclists – know they are around you and treat them with care.

Now is a great time to get your bikes out and enjoy a ride around with family and friends or just a nice quiet venture by yourself. We hope to see many out taking advantage of the greenways, bike lanes and great weather in the coming months. Be safe, mind your surroundings and have fun.

Our view: Editorials reflect the opinions of the newspaper.

Your view: Tell us what you think. E-mail us at editor@perrycountynews.com or mail your comments to P.O. Box 309, Tell City, IN 47586.