National Bike to Work Day: Tips for Sharing the Road

bicycle safety

The Burgh now has many bike-friendly spaces thanks largely to the work of nonprofit Bike Pittsburgh. Over the years, the city has seen a more than 400 percent increase in the number of people choosing bicycles as a form of transportation, with scores of folks ditching cars and public transportation and pedaling to work.

That may be especially true this Friday, which happens to be National Bike to Work Day. This day was established in 1956 to showcase the benefits of bicycling.

Since motorists and bicyclists may be mingling more on the roads today, Edgar Snyder & Associates wanted to take an opportunity to remind everyone about the proper (legal) way to share the road. Our attorneys have seen first-hand the devastation that bicycle accidents cause, and we don't want you to be one of the statistics.

Biking to Work?

If you're one of the thousands of people who will ride their way to work in Pittsburgh this National Bike to Work Day, make sure you brush up on the rules of the road. Consider these safety reminders from our friends at Bike Pittsburgh:

  • Be decisive. Decide if you want to share the lane you're riding in, or take it. Here's a rule of thumb: Take the lane if you're traveling at the same speed as traffic and there isn't enough space for a vehicle to pass you. Share the lane if you're traveling slower than the speed of traffic.
  • Communication is key. Pittsburgh has anything but a typical traffic grid, and bicyclists should take special care to make sure they communicate their intent to turn when approaching an intersection. Use hand signals. Make eye contact.
  • Be aware. Since 2007, some Pittsburgh throughways now have bike lanes that allocate space to riders. But just because the lines are drawn on the road doesn't mean motorists always heed them. It should go without saying: Be aware of the traffic around you.

Driving to Work?

If you'll be driving to work today, it might be best to brush up on what to do (and in some cases, what not to do) when you encounter a bicyclist on the road. Here are some things to remember on National Bike to Work Day:

  • DO leave a 4-foot clearance when passing bicyclists (and slow down a bit, too).
  • DO consider bikers the same as you would other motorists. Understand that while they have to adhere to the same traffic laws, they are permitted to travel more slowly than the posted speed limit without being cited for impeding the flow of traffic.
  • DON'T run a bicyclist off the road. If you do, you could be cited by police. Bikers are permitted to ride on the shoulder or berm of the road, but that is not required.

If you have been injured in a bike accident, call the personal injury attorneys at Edgar Snyder & Associates today for a free consultation of your claim.

PennDOT website The League of American Bicyclists website Bike Pittsburgh's "Urban Biking Companion."