Be Safe, Be Seen - Reflective Wear
Winter is the season when bicyclists, pedestrians, and pets are most at risk of vehicle collisions because the sun sets earlier in the evening while more drivers are still on the roads.
During the winter months (January, February, and the following December), 30 percent of pedalcyclist fatalities occurred from 6 to 8:59 p.m., followed by 18 percent from 3 to 5:59 p.m., and 11 percent from 9 to 11:59 a.m. in the United States in 2016, the latest figures available from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In 2016, about one-third (34%) of wintertime pedestrian fatalities occurred from 6 to 8:59 p.m., followed by 17 percent from 9 to 11:59 p.m., and 14 percent from 3 to 5:59 p.m.
Items that increase visibility to drivers include, but are not limited to:
- Reflective clothing and shoes
- Reflective accessories, such as spoke clips, wristbands, and belts
- Reflective strips to attach to clothing, backpacks, etc.
- Bicycle light on the front and a red reflector or red light on the back of bikes
- Headlamps and clip-on lights
- Reflective dog leashes and collars
Please watch the video below to learn the best combination of the above materials with motion to increase your visibility.
- In 2016, there were 840 bicyclists killed in traffic crashes in the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports.
- It's not enough to simply use lights, reflective clothing, or accessories, according to researchers at Clemson University. Studies show that a combination of reflective material and motion is most effective at increasing visibility. Reflective spoke clips or pedal lights that are in motion draw drivers' attention more than a static fluorescent jersey by itself does.
- Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers, according to TxDOT, and should use a light on the front and a red reflector or red light on the back of their bikes while riding at night.
- When a crash occurs between motor vehicle and a bike, it’s the cyclist who is most likely to be injured. A large percentage of crashes can be avoided if motorists and cyclists follow the rules of the road and watch out for each other.
RIDE DEFENSIVELY - FOCUSED AND ALERT
- As a cyclist, you should be focused and alert to the road and all traffic around you; anticipate what others may do, before they do it. This is defensive driving — the quicker you notice a potential conflict, the quicker you can act to avoid a potential crash:
- Drive with the flow, in the same direction as traffic.
- Obey street signs, signals, and road markings, just like a car.
- Assume the other person doesn’t see you; look ahead for hazards or situations to avoid that may cause you to fall, like toys, pebbles, potholes, grates, train tracks.
- No texting, listening to music or using anything that distracts you by taking your eyes and ears or your mind off the road and traffic.
- In 2016 there were 5,987 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes, a 9-percent increase from the 5,495 pedestrian fatalities in 2015, according to the NHTSA.
- Follow these 10 Walking Safety Tips:
- Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
- Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
- Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
- If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
- Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
- Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.