Thursday, July 2, 2009

New Bike Info in Idaho Driver's Ed Manual

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 4:26 PM

UPDATE: ITD spokesman Steve Grant reports that this new info will NOT appear on the Idaho Driver's Test, just in the manual.

HONKING — Never honk when close to a bicyclist, it is startling.

That's one of the new recommendations that will appear in the new Idaho Driver's Manual to be published later this summer.

"Significant effort was placed in garnering input from bicycling advocates from around the state," stated Idaho Transportation Department's Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Mark McNeese in a press release. "We appreciated the contribution from these individuals and the manual will be greatly improved because of their commitment to improving safety on Idaho's roadways."

Boise Sen. Elliot Werk and "statewide bike advocates" helped put together the info for new drivers about sharing the road with bikes.

Here is the important part:

Bicyclists are legally allowed to ride on all Idaho roadways, have the same rights as motorists, and are required to ride with the flow of traffic. They must ride as close to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway as safety allows, except when passing, turning left, avoiding an obstacle, or when the roadway does not allow a bicycle and motor vehicle to travel safely side by side.

We don't have time to look at it right now, but this ITD Web site on mobility might have some other good information on it.

From the soon-to-be-republished Idaho Driver's Manual:

Bicyclists
Every year the number of bicycles increases on Idaho roadways. Cycling has become an important means of transportation and recreation.

Bicyclists are legally allowed to ride on all Idaho roadways, have the same rights as motorists, and are required to ride with the flow of traffic. They must ride as close to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway as safety allows, except when passing, turning left, avoiding an obstacle, or when the roadway does not allow a bicycle and motor vehicle to travel safely side by side.

In Idaho, cyclists do not need to come to a complete stop at stop signs. They must, however, yield the right-of-way to other vehicles in or already at the intersection, and then proceed with caution through the intersection.

Bicyclists may proceed with caution through a red light after stopping and yielding the right of way to other vehicles already in the intersection. They do not need to come to a complete stop when turning right on a red light. However, they must yield the right of way to other vehicles already in the intersection.

Cyclists are relatively unprotected compared to motor vehicle operators and most collisions result in injury to the cyclist. Therefore, motor vehicle operators should be alert and use caution when encountering them.

The wide variety of road users requires drivers to always be alert. Taking your eyes off the road for just a second or briefly ignoring safe driving practices can result in a tragedy. Safely “sharing the road” with bicyclists requires cooperation, patience, and understanding.

RIGHT TURNS WHEN STOPPED — When stopped always look both left and right, checking the right first. A cyclist riding against traffic or on the sidewalk may be approaching on your right. Also, a cyclist may be pulled up alongside to turn right. A crash is easily preventable if you look both directions before turning.

RIGHT TURNS WHEN MOVING — A common crash caused by motorists is called a “right hook.” A motorist will pass a bicyclist then immediately slow down and turn right, crashing into the bicyclist. Don’t assume you can beat them to the turn. Avoid these crashes by slowing and not passing bicyclists until they have ridden past where you want to turn. On streets with bike lanes you are turning across a dedicated travel lane so always look for and expect bicyclists.

INTERSECTIONS — When proceeding through or turning at an intersection, always scan the corners of the intersection more than once. An approaching cyclist can easily travel 50 to 100 feet in a few seconds, so what you saw on your first look may change. Looking one last time before proceeding is a good safety practice.

DASHED BIKE LANE LINES — Dashed lines indicate a merging movement is allowed and expected. Check for bicyclists first. When turning right at an intersection it is OK to occupy the bike lane in the dashed line area. This prevents cyclists from approaching along your right side and forces them to blend into the lane of traffic that will best suit their intentions when going through the intersection.

SIDEWALKS — Bicyclists can legally ride on sidewalks in most communities although there is no legal requirement to use them. Young children usually ride on the sidewalk, so be extremely cautious when pulling in or out of a driveway.

CHILDREN —Be aware that children riding along the street often change direction unexpectedly, so pass them with extra caution and distance.

BEING IN A HURRY — Never rush a turn or squeeze past a bicyclist just to beat traffic or a traffic light. The few seconds you are trying to save may cost a life.

EXPECT BICYCLISTS — Bicyclists are not as noticeable as motor vehicles. Their position on the road, smaller size, and slower speed requires drivers to consciously look for them. Always drive with the expectation that bicyclists are on the road.

PASSING DISTANCE — A typical 12-foot-wide travel lane is not wide enough to safely share with a bicyclist. Cycling instructors and riding manuals teach bicyclists to ride at least 3 feet from the edge of pavement to avoid accumulated edge debris and have enough space to the right, away from traffic, for an emergency maneuver. Three feet is the minimum passing space that motorists should leave when passing a bicyclist. Higher speeds require more passing space. Always wait until you can see oncoming traffic and then safely pass by moving partially or fully into the other lane. This delay is usually brief.

BE PATIENT — The design of some streets and highways requires that for safety bicyclists must occupy the travel lane by riding in the center, not to the right. Do not tailgate the bicyclist. These are usually brief stretches of narrow roadway where it is unsafe for a motorist to pass a bicyclist.

COMMUNICATION — If you want to make sure a bicyclist sees you, wave a hand or nod your head, and wait for the bicyclist’s reaction. Do not depend on making “eye contact.”

HONKING — Never honk when close to a bicyclist, it is startling.

PARALLEL PARKING — Always look behind you for approaching bicyclists before opening the driver’s door.

BE PREDICTABLE — Road safety depends upon predictability. Always use your turn signal. Bicyclists and other motorists will appreciate knowing your intent to turn or change lanes.

BIKE LANES — Parking in bike lanes is not allowed. These are designated travel lanes for bicyclists and should not be blocked.

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