Amid an appalling spate of vehicle vs. bicycle crashes, the city will host its biggest annual bike ride on Sunday. This is from Scott Bricker, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh:
Drivers are to be advised that Pennsylvania's largest bicycle ride, PedalPGH, will be taking place on Sunday, August 5th from 6am to 2pm. The event is a "shared road" type of event, which means that motorists should be hyper-aware of many more bicyclists on the streets. BikeFest will be taking place until August 19, so drivers should also be aware that they may come upon more "group rides" than usual. Please be patient and pass when it is safe to do so. Pennsylvania law requires a four foot buffer when passing a bicyclist, as well as disallowing a turn in front of the path of a bicyclist proceeding straight.
The responsibility of avoiding crashes lies especially with drivers given that they are the ones operating 4-5,000 lbs. of steel that can go faster and cause more damage than people riding 25 lb. bikes. Drivers must respect the rights of other road users, including bicyclists. Here are some tips on how to be a "bicycle-aware" driver.
1. Obey the law (including the speed limit) and don't drive aggressively.
2. Eliminate distractions - don't talk or text on your cell phone. Texting and driving is illegal.
3. Slow down and pass with care. PA law requires a minimum passing buffer of four feet.
4. Look in your side mirror before getting out of your car. There could be a cyclist coming!
5. Stay calm and treat cyclists and walkers with the same respect that you expect.
Even the most experienced bicyclists can get into a crash. Remember, there are many levels of experience for drivers as well. Be sure to check out our Ride Safe section to see the most common car and bicycle crashes and some tips on how to avoid them.
1. Ride predictably and obey the law.
2. Stay out of the door zone and scan ahead for opening doors - especially in bike lanes.
3. Stay vigilant. Many drivers are distracted and aren't looking out for bicyclists.
4. If riding at night, the law requires that you must have a front headlight and rear reflector. BikePGH recommends you also have a red blinking tail light!
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl issued a statement today urging drivers to be more aware of bicyclists. Here's an excerpt:
“Pittsburgh has come a long way in the last five years in improving bicycle safety and infrastructure to create a more flourishing urban environment. Our City’s pedestrian and bicycle friendliness are key components to residents’ quality of life and help us grow our City’s population. More than ever, residents and visitors seek walkable neighborhoods and bicycle access to enjoy the City’s cultural opportunities, recreation amenities or merely to get to work, school or the grocery store. As the City encourages walking and biking, we remind everyone that when driving, biking or walking, safety not only for yourself, but for your fellow street users, is paramount.
"In recent months there have been several serious crashes involving drivers hitting bicyclists and pedestrians resulting in severe injuries and even death after James Price was killed in a hit and run.
“My thoughts and deepest sympathies go to the victims, families and friends affected by these recent incidents. Hit and runs will not be tolerated on Pittsburgh’s streets. Our neighborhood camera system is up and running throughout our City and our police officers are ever more on the lookout for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. As a driver, you never want to be put in a position where you have tragically injured a bicyclist or pedestrian, so drive safe and be cautious.”
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