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With cycling season starting, Billings police offer road-safety advice

Posted at 10:50 PM, Apr 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 14:49:38-04

BILLINGS- Police say they see accidents almost every year at this time when more cyclists are sharing the roads.

Law enforcement and biking enthusiasts have some timely reminders.

With bike crashes, police say often, drivers did not see the bike rider, according to Officer Tom Keightley.

“Recognize that a vehicle may not see (bicyclists),” Keightley said. “Even though you think they should be able to, they may not be aware that you’re there. So you have to be very defensive when you’re riding.”

Kristi Drake, Billings TrailNet executive director, says not to ride too close to the curb because a car could crowd a bike.

Keightley also advises bikers to give themselves room.

“You want to give yourself a buffer, an escape path if you will, so that if something goes wrong, if some motorist doesn’t see you, you’ve got somewhere to go,” he said.

Visibility and predictabilty can keep bicyclists safe, according to Drake.

Bicyclists can wear more visible clothing that is bright and reflective, and use lights at night.

Keightley said ear buds make hearing traffic difficult and hoodies don’t allow bikers to see everything.

He says a helmet can save a life.

Drake reminds that hand signals during turns can also help.

Bikers and drivers share the responsibilty for safety.

“Light up, be predictable, communicate with traffic,” Drake said.  “Don’t go at the highest peak times of traffic.  Don’t bike where it’s really high traffic. Don’t bike on Grand (Avenue). Having to meander through neighborhoods isn’t always the easiest thing, but it’s also the safest thing.”

Keightley added, “If the motorists would simply give them a little bit more room. recognize that they can’t get out of the way as fast. They don’t stop as fast. they need to basically give them a little bit more of a break.”

Keightley says at this time of year, watch out for more pedestrians and motorcyclists and soon, for children when the school year ends.

Related: Traffic stalled on King Avenue after vehicle and bicyclist collide Thursday morning