(NEWS CENTER) -- Warm weather is upon us which means there will be more cyclists on the road -- here are some tips for cyclists and drivers to stay safe this year from the Bike Coalition of Maine.
- Choose the right bicycle
- Wear a helmet
- Dress bright and tight
- Do a quick air brakes and chain test
- Follow the rules of the road
Police officers do keep a close eye on riders -- if the situation warrants it, even a cyclist can be pulled over. Sergeant Daniel Merrill with Orono Police Department said he uses it as an opportunity for education. "We have every right to stop a car as we do a cyclist" Merrill said. "I would rather use the situation as an educational opportunity rather than issuing a fine for that".
FInes for cyclists can range from $71-$136 depending on the violation. Fines for drivers range from $70-$610.
Below is what the Bike Coalition of Maine's website says about following the rules of the road.
Maine state law gives bicycles the same rights and responsibilities as any other vehicle operator, and expects riders to follow the standard and legal rules of the road. Doing so also provides a measure of legal protection in the event of crashes. These critical rules to follow are these:
- Ride on the right, with traffic. Always ride with traffic, and keep as far to the right as is safe. You have the right to take possession of a travel lane to set up for a left turn, to pass another vehicle, or to avoid an “unsafe situation”. Experienced riders often “take the lane” (move towards the center of the lane) to help drivers see them sooner or when approaching hazards. Leave plenty of room when passing parked cars to avoid opening doors.
- Be Predictable Always ride in a straight line and be predictable. Do not weave from side to side, or suddenly move out into traffic. Be alert and plan ahead to avoid obstacles. If the road is narrow for a bicycle and a car to travel side by side, the bicyclist should occupy the lane until it is safe to move back to the right. Always check over your shoulder before changing your lane position. Never weave between parked cars.
- Obey traffic signs and signals. Stop for stop signs, lights and yields. Never make someone give up their right of way because you are violating a rule.
- Use hand signals to communicate. It can be as simple as pointing in the direction you plan to go at an intersection. The standard hand signals are left hand straight out for “left turn”, up for “right turn”, and down for “stop”.
- Yield to pedestrians in all situations. It is your responsibility to exercise extra caution around walkers, and to alert them that you’re approaching before passing with a bell or call. Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. And be extra careful on multi-use paths and sidewalks. If you’re over twelve years old, we recommend you stay off sidewalks. Sidewalks are not designed for vehicle traffic. Riding on the sidewalk puts bikes where traffic doesn’t expect them, jeopardizes walkers, and is statistically a dangerous place to ride. It is also illegal in some places in Maine and across the country.
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