Bicyclists should obey the rules of the road, for everyone

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With the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy’s free bicycle sharing program and the town of Norway’s impending bike lane on lower Main Street, we are sure to see an increase in bicycle traffic in Oxford Hills.
We think that is a great thing.
Unlike driving a car or a truck, riding a bike is good for your health, your wallet and the environment.
However, with more bicycles on the road and cellphones in the hands of many motorized vehicle drivers, there are some things bicyclists should do to protect themselves.
Bicyclists are considered vehicle operators and must obey the rules of the road, including traffic signs, signals and lane markings. Bicyclists do not follow road rules often enough — they often veer in front of cars to travel through a red light, which could cause serious injury. Bike riders are supposed to ride with traffic on the right side of the road, though the Maine Department of Motor Vehicles says that they should not pass motorists on the right side.
“If you approach an intersection with a right turning lane and intend to continue straight, do not enter the right turn lane. Ride with the through traffic. When riding with others, ride single file,” its website reads.
Use hand signals when making turns and watch for road hazards such as pits, puddles and drain grates. If you hit something in the road, we hope you’ve got a helmet on.
A helmet is best way to prevent a head injury, Maine DOT’s website says, but it needs to fit properly.
“Worn correctly, a helmet should be set just above your eyebrows and is snug on your head so that it stays in place if you shake your head. If your helmet is loose or tilted back exposing your forehead, it cannot adequately protect your head. Visit www.nhtsa.gov for more info on how to properly fit your bicycle helmet,” its website reads.
Another way to protect yourself is to regularly inspect and maintain your bicycle. Maine DOT says they need to be cared for to perform correctly and suggests a professional inspection every six months. Check your air, brakes and chain every time your ride your bike, it suggests. Furthermore, make sure that you can be seen.
“When riding at dawn, dusk or right, remember to wear bright reflective clothing in order to make yourself as visible as possible. While most bicycles are equipped with reflectors, they are not sufficient and rely on the lights of other vehicles to work,” the Maine DOT website reads.
Safety isn’t all up to bicyclists. Because they are not motorized, they are quiet and hard for cars and trucks to hear or see. Thus, we hope other users of the road will watch out for bicyclists and keep those cellphones where they belong — in your pockets.

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