How Not to Get Hit by a Car

Submitted By: Gail E. Robillard – WCBC Safety & Education

At the WCBC July Executive Meeting most of the conversation was about safety in light of the recent accidents we have had within the club. It was asked of me to start sending out safety articles and reminders through the list serve, as well as the E-Tailwind so we all can benefit and keep safety at the forefront of our minds while we are out there riding. I have asked Dwight Siers if he would be interested in being on the Safety & Education committee to help me get the “safety” word out there. He did a great job with the article; “Safe Group Riding”. Dwight will be sharing information with us more frequently than just articles in the E-Tailwind. Also, if you or someone you know would like to be on this committee please contact me.
The other night I decided since I didn’t have anyone in my group I would observe what the riders in the other groups were doing. We had a rider that was new to riding with us and this was where I noticed the first infraction and all he did was follow someone else. And this for me is the big one; riding along the right side of a car, when we do not have a lane, at a stop light to get up front. I think since I started riding this one has been the most confusing positioning that I have found.

Delaware law states § 4196. Position on roadway:

Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances: when overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction. That pretty much says it for me that passing a car on the right when we don’t have a lane is not legal. However, when proceeding straight in a right-turn-only lane; AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 21, CHAPTER 41 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO BICYCLES.  This Bill would confirm that bicycles may legally operate when proceeding straight in right-turn-only lanes, as well as when operated upon the paved shoulders of the state’s roads and highways. Because many of these shoulders are also used as parts of entrances and turning lanes, the bicyclists are required to use due regard for those conditions in traversing these pavement segments.  Riding straight through an intersection in the “right-turn-only lane” is now legal with the signing of SB-120 on January 26, 2012. Now legal and safe can have two different meanings. Another rider and I were talking about where and how we should place ourselves when we come to a light. At the time of our discussion we were in a bike lane coming upon an intersection in which the light was red. The group was pretty sprawled out yet because of the light we were starting to catch up to them. We were about four cars back when the light changed. No sooner than we said staying in the bike lane was where we were supposed to be, one of the drivers, two cars in front of us, wanted to make a right turn and did not have his signal on. Fortunately for us we were going slowly enough to navigate ourselves if there was going to be any altercation. The driver saw us in his mirror and stopped to let us pass. We were very grateful and thanked him as we passed.

I found this web site that gave “Ten Ways to Not Get Hit“. (Reprint permission: I hope you find it as informative as I did.