Share the Road: Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety
By Village Manager Phil Kiraly
Days are growing longer, spring is here and summer is quickly approaching. While this winter was milder than most, Glencoe residents are just as eager to get outside on a normal basis – whether for a bike ride, a quick jog or to walk their four-legged friends. As more and more residents are taking advantage of spring weather, motorists are charged with being mindful of their “new” neighbors and vice versa.
Below you’ll find tips, for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, to help make sure that this transition back to sharing the road is as safe as possible.
- Put your cell phone away: Texting or making phone calls with a handheld device while driving are illegal because doing so is dangerous. The Illinois State Police reports that the use of a cell phone while driving increases your chance of getting into a crash by 400%. Your text or phone call can wait – the safety of you and those around you is always more important.
- Follow speed limits: Being a predominately residential community, almost every road in Glencoe includes residential properties and neighborhoods – areas where young Glencoe residents are playing, running and biking. Be mindful of your speed as you travel through town. Remember – unless otherwise marked, residential streets have a speed limit of 25 MPH.
- Pass with caution: All bicyclists should be afforded ample space, especially young and inexperienced bicyclists who may have less control of their bike. Keep a safe distance, both when following and passing.
- Double check cross-walks: State law requires drivers to stop whenever a pedestrian has entered a crosswalk. But don’t just check once—all too often a pedestrian or bicyclist will enter a cross-walk while a motorist is looking the other way, waiting for traffic to clear. Double check cross-walks in both directions before entering the intersection.
- Wear a helmet: As you gear up for bike rides, make sure that your helmet meets Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards. Helmets should fit snuggly, sit directly on your head (not on top of hats) and should be worn with the straps fastened at all times.
- Wear bright clothes: While daylight is extending, it’s best to wear bright clothes just in case your ride goes longer than expected. Being seen is being safe. Also avoid any clothing or backpacks with long straps or drawstrings that might get caught.
- Obey all traffic laws: When riding on the road, you must obey the same traffic laws, signs and signals that apply to motorists. When riding on a sidewalk (where permitted) you must obey all pedestrian signs and signals and yield to pedestrians.
- Ride single file: Local Glencoe ordinance requires that cyclists on roadways must ride single file.
- Check your shoes: Sandals and flip flops are for the beach, not bike rides. Heels and cleats also won’t help you grip pedals. Appropriate shoes will help keep you safe when cycling!
- Avoid headphones: While you’re favorite playlist may make your ride more entertaining, music is a distraction and may prevent you from hearing an approaching vehicle or another bicyclist trying to pass.
- Add lights and reflectors to your bike: Again, being seen is being safe. Illinois law requires that if riding in the dark, your bike have a front light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet and a rear red reflector visible for up to 600 feet.
- Get more tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and learn more about Illinois Bicycle Rules of the Road from the Illinois Secretary of State.
Distracted driving is a well-known problem, but distracted walking (listening to music, texting and other general smart phone use while walking in busy areas) is increasingly becoming more and more of an issue. According to the National Safety Council’s Injury Facts Report – distracted walking accounted for over 11,100 injuries between 2000 and 2011.
- Keep your head up and phone down.
- Only cross at designated crosswalks and proceed with caution, as vehicles have blind spots.
- When in doubt, make eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you.
- If your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic.
Stay tuned to the Village’s social media accounts and to the Village Manager’s Blog for more safety tips and information about what the Village is doing to make our roads safer throughout April as we recognize National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.