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Motorist Education about Bicycles (Proposed)

Project History

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Description

The Bicycle Coordinator should partner with local police enforcement, safety educators, and advocacy groups to produce an educational pamphlet for motorists about how to drive safely with bikes.  Many of the 'share the road' principals and concepts can be included, as well as technical legal requirements (like 3' passing laws) and helpful explanations, perhaps in a Q&A format.

Example laws to include:

  • Always give a bicycle at least 3 feet of room when passing. 
  • If you have to move into the lane for oncoming traffic, wait until it is safe to do so and move all the way over to give the cyclist enough room. 
  • Honking, yelling at bikes, throwing things from a moving vehicle, etc. can all be considered harassment and is illegal. 

Example driver tips to include:

  • Always check your rear view mirror and side mirror before opening your car door, especially when parked next to a bike lane. 
  • Do not honk at bicyclists, it can startle them and cause them to swerve by accident. 

Example Q&A to include: 

  • Why is that cyclist swerving? 
    • Because rocks, debris, and potholes on the road can be very dangerous for a bicyclist, and they may have to swerve to avoid these hazards.  Give cyclists extra space when passing, especially if you notice the road you're sharing with them is bumpy. 
  • Why is that cyclist in the middle of the lane!?
    • Because there may be hazards on the far right side of the road, such as ice, debris, potholes, storm drains, puddles, opening car doors, etc. Bikes are allowed to use the full lane in Illinois, and cars are required to wait until it is safe to pass, even if that means passing via the oncoming traffic lane. 
  • Why isn't that cyclist using the bike lane?
    • There may be debris, parked cars, or other hazards and obstructions in the bike lane that make it unsafe to attempt to ride only in the bike lane. Bikes are allowed to use the full lane in Illinois, even if there is a bike lane. Bikes are not required to use the bike lanes, and cars are required to wait until it is safe to pass, even if that means passing via the oncoming traffic lane. 
  • Why isn't that cyclist riding on the sidewalk?
    • Because riding on the sidewalk is actually more dangerous than on the road because bicycles are less visible to cars there, and there is a greater chance of bike-car conflicts at intersections and driveways. It is also more dangerous for pedestrians. Bikes are prohibited from riding on the sidewalks in downtown Urbana and Champaign and in the Campus town area. 

 

Conclusion

Charlie Smyth from Champaign County Bikes has expressed interest in partnering to develop this resource, and has some good examples of content that could be included based on his research of bike maps around the country. 

Content can also be pulled from the League of Illinois Bicyclists' online bike safety quiz for motorists (http://www.bikesafetyquiz.com/)

The motorist pamphlet should be available through the Parking Department and given to all parking permit holders on campus, as well as through the local police agencies in Champaign and Urbana. 

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