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Drivers need to be aware of bicycles during the summer months

The pleasant summer weather in Hartford means that more people are likely to choose alternative forms of transportation or outdoor exercise. For some, this means pulling the bicycle out of the garage and getting it ready for a few months of biking around town. Bicycling is an environmentally clean way of transportation, as well as great exercise. However, cyclists face numerous dangers while sharing the road with motor vehicle traffic.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three bicyclists lost their lives in Connecticut in 2014 due to traffic accidents. Drivers have a responsibility to be aware of what is going on around them in traffic, especially when it comes to bicycles and pedestrians. Aside from causing devastating injuries that may haunt them for life, drivers could face legal ramifications for hitting a bicyclist.

The State of Connecticut Department of Transportation points out that bicycles are considered vehicles. They have the right to use the road, as well as the responsibility to obey traffic laws. However, drivers should understand that not all cyclists understand how they should interact with motor vehicle traffic. Bicycles should ride in the direction of traffic, whether they are on the sidewalk or sharing a lane. However, some cyclists ride against traffic. Children, especially, may behave unpredictably while riding their bikes. Therefore, drivers should always look for bicycles in every direction before pulling out from a driveway or turning in an intersection, and never assume that a bike will not be coming from an unexpected direction.

When passing a cyclist, motor vehicles should move over as much as possible to give the rider room. If the bike is in a motor vehicle lane, drivers should not attempt to pass it unless the adjacent lane is clear. They should also not use their horn near a bicyclist, as this may frighten the rider and cause an accident.

When drivers are courteous, use common sense and obey traffic rules, they may help keep others sharing the road safer.

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