By Utah Department of Public Safety – Utah is a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors, especially on a bike. Now that summer is in full swing plenty of cyclists are out regularly enjoying all the beauty Utah has to offer. One of the greatest challenges faced by cyclists is being seen and recognized by drivers. So here are a few tips and tricks to get drivers to notice you and share the road.
Tip 1: At Dawn, dusk, and dark, Use reflective gear – especially below the waist
If you want drivers to see you wear reflective gear. And make sure you wear enough reflective gear. The small reflective piping found on most athletic garments is not enough to make a difference. The more reflective you can become the better.
If you want drivers to recognize you as a cyclist, wear reflective gear on your shoes, around your ankles or wear full reflective leg coverings. By incorporating reflective gear below the knee you highlight the movement of cycling or the up-down motion of cycling. This motion is much more likely to grab the attention of the driver, alerting that driver to your presence. The road is full of lights: street lights, reflective signs, other cars, motorcycles. Too often drivers see a light in the distance but can’t recognize what that light means until the object is quite close. By utilizing both light and motion you actually communicate, “cyclist here, please share the road.”
Tip 2: Wear fluorescents in the daytime
Research has shown that drivers consistently recognize fluorescent colors faster, more consistently and from farther away than standard colors. So when picking cycling gear go for fluorescents. There isn’t any research pointing to which fluorescent color is best, so you’re on your own there. However, fluorescent orange is always a good pick because drivers already associate that color with caution.
Tip 3: Use lights always
Utah law states that any cyclist riding during dawn, dusk or dark is required to have a white headlight, red tail light or reflector, and side reflectors (41-6a-1114). But remember these are the minimum requirements. You can use lights both day and night. You can also get creative with lights. For example, putting small lights on the back or front of your shoe will, like the reflective gear, highlight the motion of cycling.
Tip 4: Use bike boxes when available
The concept of Bike Boxes is being used nationally as well as right here in Utah. Bike Boxes can be found in downtown Salt Lake City and this summer UDOT has adapted them to improve safety in Utah County. Bike Boxes provide a safe and visible way for cyclists to stay ahead of queuing traffic at a red light. The newest Bike Boxes in the state are located in Utah County on Redwood Road at the Pioneer Crossing and 2100 North intersections. To learn how they work visit udot.utah.gov/go/bikebox.
Tip 5: Educate others
A large percentage of crashes can be avoided if motorists and cyclists look out for each other. When riding in groups or with friends encourage others to ride safely. Also teach other riders how to make themselves more visible to drivers. If you see unsafe behavior among fellow cyclists make sure to address it and educate friends and family, especially those who may not ride, on how to share the road with cyclists.