Fort Knox Safety Office officials say many bicyclist accidents are due to the inattentiveness by either automobile drivers or riders and might be avoided by being fully engaged when conducting their chosen mode of transportation."Most accidents result from a driver's inattention or failure to yield the right-of-way to the cyclist … [at times] a purposeful failure to yield to the cyclist," said Wendy Steinhoff, a certified safety and health official with the Garrison Safety Office. "It is all about sharing the road. Drivers need to remember that bicycles have as much right to the road as cars."While drivers are the cause of more accidents, Steinhoff said bicyclists are by far the worst off from the exchange, and owe it to themselves to look out for the other guy.
"Both [motorists and bicyclists] need to know the rules of the road, but bicyclists need to be aware of [everything] and make sure they're noticed, too," said Steinhoff. "Ride with the flow in the same direction of traffic, and obey street signs, signals and road markings, just like the cars have to.Assume the other person doesn't see you, and [anticipate] hazards and situations to avoid."Directorate of Emergency Services Deputy Director Kevin Kusak agreed that distracted driving is a problem but he said regulations are in place to keep those bicycling or using roads and sidewalks safe."One of the biggest contributors to accidents are distractors," Kusak said.According to Army Regulation 385-10, "headphones, earphones, ear or other listening devices while walking, jogging, running, skating, skateboarding and bicycling … are prohibited on DOD installations."Kusak and Steinhoff remind bicyclists they have all the responsibilities of automobile drivers and suggest that bicyclists ride predictively by:
• Using hand signals
• Checking state law for legality before sidewalk riding
• Announcing to pedestrians when they intend to pass them by saying, "Passing on your left!" or using a bike bell
• Riding with traffic, so that if the sidewalk ends, you may join traffic flow
• Signaling your direction and looking over your shoulder before changing lanes or turning
• Slowing down at intersections and anticipating drivers' turning,especially turning right, and making your presence knownAutomobile drivers are reminded that bicyclists have all the same rights as automobile drivers, and suggest drivers anticipate bicyclists by:
• Not underestimating bicyclists' speed, and yielding to them the right of way
• Anticipating them at intersections, looking to your right and behind, and avoiding turning in front of them, especially when turning right
• Anticipating bicyclists when backing out of driveways or parking spots
• Obeying the speed limit, reducing speed when behind a bicyclist, and only passing them as you would any other vehicle when it is safe to move over into an adjacent lane
• Driving defensively and giving cyclists room to avoid a crashWith the warmer weather on the way, Steinhoff encouraged parents to attend Fort Knox's Bicycle Safety Day at the Exchange parking lot May 8 from 5 to 7 p.m., for an opportunity to win a boy or girl bike complete with helmet.Children ages five to 14 years old will learn the importance of wearing a helmet, hand and arm signals and age-appropriate laws of the road.