Benefits of cycling, street safety the focus of Bike Month

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 7:02 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - The month of May was established as Bike Month in 1956. It’s time when active transportation activists highlight the benefits of biking and encourage everyone to get out and ride.

But bike laws can be confusing, and that can deter people from cycling. But the rules are there to keep everyone safe, so knowing them can keep bikers alive.

“Bowling Green is a very friendly community, it seems like every time I’m on my bike I run into somebody that I know,” says Bowling Green Mayor Mike Aspacher. “We have found that Bowling Green is a safe biking community.”

He works hard to keep make the city safe for cyclists. The city even has a bicycle safety commission, led by Stephen Langendorfer.

“Of the bicycle injuries we’ve had over the past 3-4 years, 90% of them resulted from a bike being on the sidewalk,” says Langendorfer.

In Ohio, bikes are classified as vehicles, and that means they belong in the street, and are not allowed on the sidewalk. Riding on the sidewalk turns every driveway into a potentially deadly intersection.

“Automobiles are not looking for bicycles on the sidewalk,” says Langendorfer.

“And while riding on the street, riders shouldn’t hug the curb. Junk tends to accumulate on the side of the street, and swerving to avoid every drain and pebble is dangerous.

Langendorfer says that drivers don’t want to hit bicyclists, so it’s important to be easy to avoid.

“You’re actually much, much safer, out in the lane because cars will see you and they will give you more room,” says Langendorfer.

Cars are required to give bikes three feet of clearance. Langendorfer likes to remind drivers with a pool noodle.

As vehicles, bicyclists have all the rights of the road, but also all the responsibilities.

”Bicycles became a craze in the late 1800′s for 10 or 15 years and almost all of the traffic laws that we have started out as controlling bicycles,” says Langendorfer.

Riders are required to use hand signals when stopping or turning, and must stop at all traffic lights and stop signs.

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