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101 Critical Days: Visibility, predictability key to bicycle safety

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- When an automobile and a bicyclist are involved in an accident, it seldom matters who has the right of way--the bicyclist, more often than not, loses. 

The 21st Space Wing Safety Office at Peterson Air Force Base provided worthy tips for automobile drivers in the June 1 Space Observer. Here are a few: 

Bicyclists have the same rights as drivers on the road. 

Watch for bicyclists riding improperly—bicyclists are required to ride on the side of the road with the flow of traffic, not sidewalks, but that doesn’t always mean they do. 

Don’t assume you will be able to predict what a bicyclist is going to do; be patient and wait. 

With that said, bicyclists, let me share some advice with you that hopefully will keep you in one piece. 

• Wear a helmet. If you have any question as to how important a helmet is to your well-being, ask Lt. Col. Gary Henry, the 50th Mission Support Group Commander, to share his story of how a helmet saved his life. In addition, bicyclists are required to wear a helmet when on base. 

• Be visible. When riding at night, wear something reflective and have both a headlight and taillight on your bike. Not only is this a requirement under Colorado state law, it also makes sure drivers will have more than a hundredth of a second to avoid you. 

• Be predictable. Hand signals on bicycles are just as important as turn signals on automobiles. Additionally, follow the rules and the flow of traffic. You’re operating a vehicle according to state law, so traffic lights and stop signs apply to you, too. 

For additional safety tips contact your base safety office.