Be Visible Bicycle

Michelle Avola
Ex Director of NPC

Every day I see more and more people out enjoying Naples on the back of their bikes. Most cyclists know to stay aware of the traffic laws wherever they are riding, and to always stay alert. But the most important safety tip is to be visible. Visibility is key to avoiding a collision. Here are practical tips for increasing your visibility while riding your bicycle:

  • Wear fluorescent colors. Choose a neon yellow, bright orange, lime green, or hot pink shirt and socks. Wearing bright colors helps you stand out rather than blend with the landscape. Neon colored socks are smart because our eyes tend to notice things that move. If you wear white, brown, blue, green, or black, you are much more likely to blend in and not be noticed.
  • Be sure your bike has a functioning headlight and taillight, and both are visible for several hundred feet. Use your front and rear lights in blinking mode during the day to increase visibility, and only your taillight should be blinking at night with the headlight a constant beam. Make sure your bike has plenty of reflectors too – on the fenders, spokes, pedals, and body.
  • Ride in a prominent spot in the lane. Don’t ride next to the curb. That sets you up for a sideswipe by a car that gets too close. When you ride closer to the center of the lane, cars will need to change lanes to pass as they would any other vehicle, and that is additional protection for you.
  • Adhere to traffic laws. Bicycles on the road are considered vehicles and must stop at stop signs and red lights. Be sure drivers at intersections see you by making eye contact with them, especially if you plan to ride across the intersection in front of them. Without eye contact, assume they do not see you.
  • When you are changing lanes, merging, or turning, always signal your intentions. Use your left hand to point when going left and use your right hand to point when you are going right. Ride predictably so drivers will understand where you want to go. Don’t cut in and out of traffic, change lanes quickly, or ride between cars.
  • Don’t get too close to parked cars. When passing by parked cars, listen for locks opening, watch for doors opening, and watch for traffic. You could get “doored” by someone entering or exiting a vehicle who doesn’t see you.
  • Don’t stop on the right side of vehicles because you will be in the blind spot. Even if you are riding in a bike lane, don’t pull up in that lane to the right of a car at an intersection. Always stop behind the vehicle. Otherwise, you could be run over by a vehicle that turns as they may not see you.
  • Always assume that drivers don’t see you. To make sure you are as safe as possible, always ride with the assumption that drivers don’t notice you. Stay alert and be prepared to ride defensively.
  • Always wear a helmet, and get one that’s neon colored, or maybe even one of those mohawk helmets to be super eye-catching!
  • One last important reminder: never ride with earbuds or headphones. It is illegal, but it is also very unsafe. The only one looking out for you is you. You need all of your senses to do that effectively.

For more information on pedestrian and bicycle safety, please visit www.naplespathways.org. If you have any specific question, email me at Michelle@NaplesPathways.org.

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