Once someone learns to ride a bike, they never forget; what they do forget is how to ride it safely. After a while riding a bike becomes second nature, but even the most experienced riders should still be careful because face it, accidents happen.
If that was not convincing enough just ask Brennan Adams, the younger brother of a fellow Blue Devil. He was riding his bike to school when he was hit by a car. Luckily, he was wearing a helmet and the accident was not fatal however, his injuries included puncture wounds from gravel, severe road rash, and a sprained ankle which require the aid of crutches. “There was nothing I could have done,” he said, having not seen the car coming.
According to the Washington State Department of Transportation to stay safe while riding your bike you should:
- Obey traffic signs and signals.
- Never ride against traffic.
- Follow lane markings.
- Don’t pass on the right.
- Scan the road behind you.
- Keep both hands ready to brake.
- Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones.
- Dress for the weather.
- Use hand signals.
- Ride in the middle of the lane in slower traffic.
- Choose the best way to turn left.
- Make eye contact with drivers.
- Look out for road hazards.
- Use lights at night.
- Keep your bike in good repair.
However, bicyclists cannot do all the work; drivers should do what they can to ensure the safety of those they share the road with. To help make bicycling safe drivers should:
- Always do a head check, especially at night, even when bike lanes are not present.
- Be patient with bicyclists, honking or yelling at them diverts their concentration from the road and will not make them go any faster.
- Obey traffic laws.
To further ensure the safety of local bicyclists like Adams, a meeting was held by the Safe Travels Alliance, an organization started by Kathryn Southwick Hess and Katie Christianson, at the Walla Walla Public Schools Administration Building on Oct. 6. Their mission is “to create and maintain a safe environment for children and their families traveling to and from school.”
Many people attended the meeting including school administration, the State Patrol, and concerned parents. Applying for grants to get crossing lights at schools, teachers informing students about non-motorized transportation, and the lack of crossing guards at both Edison Elementary and Garrison Middle School were just a few of the items discussed. At the moment no future meetings are planned.