The tragic death of Hailey Ratliff, the 12 year old Novato girl struck and killed while riding her bicycle in October, has local police pleading Bay Area residents to educate themselves on the rules of the road. Here are some basic precautions that EVERY cyclist needs to take:
- All cyclists, minors included, must learn and follow the rules of the road. For those riders without a driver’s license (and subsequently without the mandatory training) this means familiarizing yourself with California and local laws.
- It may seem counterintuitive, but it is safer to bike on the street than on the sidewalk. Streets are generally flatter, the visibility is better and there is less risk of a collision with cars exiting their driveways.
- Stay at least 3 feet from parked cars. The distance will allow for more reaction time if a car begins to pull onto the street.
- Wear a helmet.
- Use bike lights and reflectors, especially at night and during the winter when cloud cover can lower visibility.
- Always signal your moves and make your intentions obvious. If you are going to turn, make sure all the cars around you know you are going to turn.
- Drunk cycling is drunk driving.
It’s not fair, but it is true that it lands on cyclists to take extra precautions when sharing the road with cars. Winter in San Francisco and the Bay Area means heavy fog and wet roads. Please be safe!