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Why Is It Important to Be Safe While Biking?

Each year in the United States, about 800 people die in bicycle-related accidents.

A key aspect of avoiding accidents is to be predictable. Make it easy for motorists and other cyclists to know what you are going to do. Cyclists are required to obey the same rules as drivers. Failure to obey these rules is a major contributing factor for accidents. In particular, riding the wrong way, ignoring stop signs, running red lights, and failure to observe right-of-way rules for lane changes are major contributing factors in those accidents in which cyclists are injured.

Finally, ride defensively. When riding a bicycle, you will always come out second best in any conflict with a motor vehicle, even if you have the right-of-way.

Protect Yourself

bicycle helmetWhether you cycle around the site for business or pleasure, the BNL bicycle-safety policy states that you must wear a bicycle helmet when cycling at BNL and that the helmet must conform to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standard.

For those using BNL-issued bicycles, helmets meeting the CPSC standard can be ordered from inventory. The stock number for helmets is K70310.

Even adult cyclists who maintain they only cycle on paths or quiet streets should not underestimate the importance of wearing a helmet. Accidents can happen anywhere.

Cyclists are also encouraged to wear high-visibility outerwear, such as a reflective vest. BNL inventory provides a lightweight mesh vest with reflective safety stripes (stock #K61245), as well as a heavier, more durable version (stock #K61247). LED bike lights are also available in stock for BNL-purchased bicycles.

For assistance in ordering, contact your Department/Division Environment, Safety and Health (ESH) Coordinator.

Bicycle Safety Guidelines

  • Wear a bicycle helmet. It is NYS law for persons less than 14 years of age and BNL policy for all cyclists on site.
  • Obey all traffic signals.
  • Do not ride your bicycle on the sidewalks.
  • Ride in the same direction as the flow of traffic.
  • Ride in a straight line and single file.
  • Ride to the right if you are moving slower than other traffic, unless you are turning left, passing another bicycle or vehicle, or avoiding hazards.
  • Be alert for road hazards, such as rocks, grating, and slippery or uneven surfaces.
  • Watch for cars at cross streets and driveways. Ride defensively.
  • Be aware of parked cars and watch for car doors that may open.
  • Bring a cell phone with you if riding alone in remote areas (in case of injury).
  • Give pedestrians the right of way.
  • Use proper hand signals when turning, stopping, or changing lanes.
  • Do not wear headphones on both ears while riding.
  • Do not talk or text on a cell phone while riding.
  • Do not drink and ride.
  • Use a light, reflectors and reflective clothing during low-light conditions.
  • Wear bright clothing during the daytime.
  • Use extra caution when it is raining, and allow extra time to stop.
  • Keep your bike properly maintained.
  • Before crossing railroad tracks, slow down and turn wheel as perpendicular as possible. Avoid turning and leaning your bike while crossing the tracks. Continue to pedal as you cross the tracks.