Making streets safer for non-drivers

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Bicyclists, walkers and runners all have a right to use Granby’s roads, and drivers are legally and morally obliged to exercise care. But accidents and near misses still occur and each side blames the other.

The focus here will be on what measures bikers, walkers and runners can take to improve their personal safety. The most important measure is to be alert and mindful of where you are in relation to traffic and potential hazards.

• Plan your road use for times of the day that roads are least trafficked, and there is good light. It’s no fun to bike or run along Route 20 during the morning commute!

• Use a rear mirror when biking, mounted on your handlebar or your helmet. Don’t be surprised by what is behind you.

• In low light, use lights on your bike, or carry a flashlight if walking or running. Make sure the lights are bright enough to be seen at some distance.

• Always walk or run facing traffic—on the left side of the road.

• Always bicycle with traffic—on the right side of the road.

• If listening to music, keep volume low enough that you can hear traffic or others calling warnings.

High-vis gear has become very popular with bicyclists, and for good reason. In fact, brighter, high visibility clothing for all non-drivers using the roads, such as walkers and runners, would improve their safety. Combine high-vis clothes with reflective strips, especially on lower limbs that are moving such as on pedals, running shoes and lower ankles. Drivers have a much better chance to see you and recognize what you are doing.

Expect that some drivers are distracted so watch for weaving vehicles, cars or trucks that aren’t moving over to pass you with an adequate margin, traffic entering from side roads that (more often than not) won’t grant you the right of way. Sure, those drivers are in the wrong but let the police deal with the bad drivers.

Your personal safety is your top priority. Stay alert and stay alive.