Right on Red: Heads up, Cyclists! This Red-Light Death Trap Is Looking for You
Red lights are never good news, are they? It seems as though you only hit them when you are late for work or a meeting, and you always seem to be in the back of the line. You tap your steering wheel anxiously, and silently will the light to turn green. Once it changes, you are off to the next light without a care in the world.
Red Lights Can Become Deadly for Many Bicyclists
If you are a bicyclist at a red light, however, a light turning green is where most of your trouble starts. Many bicyclists are hurt or killed at stop lights where cars turn right and hit them. Whether the car is making a right on red or turning with the green light, a simple precaution can help prevent a tragic accident.
Picture yourself on your bike approaching an intersection where the light is red. A few cars are already stopped, and you pull up to the white line next to the first vehicle in line. You assume that you are safe since you are in the bike lane, so when the light turns green, you start pedaling. The car that you pulled up next to starts rolling, as well—and makes a right turn directly into you.
A Simple Precaution Can Help Prevent an Accident
While it is true that the car should never have hit you, this is a common accident with an easy fix. If you are riding and approach a red light, stop when you are aligned just behind the first car in line. This allows you to keep an eye on the first car, while giving the second car in line a clear view of you. If the car in front of you turns right, you have enough room to react while remaining visible to other cars. Do not accelerate faster than the first car in line; that would put you back in harm’s way if they start their turn later than you expect.
Do you have friends that plan on biking this winter? Share this article with them on social media to help keep bicyclists safe on Sarasota roads!
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