Spring officially is here, and as the weather becomes nicer, many people will pull their bikes (and hopefully their helmets!) out of storage. Families may go on rides together on neighborhood streets, older children and adults may go on longer outings on the weekends, and some people may bike to work.
To avoid accidents, it is important for drivers to look out for bikers, and to share the road with them. Bikers also need to be aware of their responsibilities when sharing the road. Virginia has put many rules in place that aim to protect bikers and allow car drivers and bikers to share the road successfully. Below are some of those rules:
- When riding in the street, except in very limited situations, bikers must comply with all traffic signs and lights.
- When riding on the sidewalk, bikers have the same duties as pedestrians, including crossing the street at designated cross-walks.
- Bikers must ride with the flow of traffic.
- When riding on the street, bikers should ride as close to the right curb as possible or in a bike lane if one is present.
- In some cities and counties, bikers under a certain age (usually 14) may be required by law to wear helmets. But regardless of your age or any requirement under the law, it is a good idea to wear a helmet.
- When passing a biker, car drivers must leave at least three feet between their car and the biker, and may not go back to the right side of the road until they have completely and safely passed the biker.
- When opening a car door, drivers first must look for bikers, and make sure it is safe to open the door before doing so.
- If car drivers and bikers understand and follow these important rules, hopefully they will be able to share the road and avoid accidents. If you are hurt in a biking accident, you should contact a lawyer who can explain your rights under the law.