Editorial: Be alert with walkers, bikers

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, April 22, 2015


With warmer weather slowly inching its way back into the area, we ask motorists to be aware of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists who may be out on the road.

In the last week alone, five motorcyclists died throughout the state, bringing the total motorcycle fatalities for the year to six. Four of the five riders were not wearing a helmet.

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As a group, pedestrians and bicyclists comprise nearly 10 percent of all traffic fatalities each year — 71 percent of which occur in urban areas.

Every spring it is an adjustment to get used to seeing more people outdoors, but we hope people take extra precaution.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety offers the following tips for motorists:

• Watch for motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians and look twice before entering a roadway or changing lanes.

• Give bicycles and motorcycles room on the road. Check blind spots, pay attention and drive at safe speeds.

In return, there are several tips for motorcyclists:

• Be prepared for inattentive drivers by staying focused on riding and keeping speed in check.

• Wear a DOT-approved helmet and brightly-colored clothing for visibility and protection.

• Don’t drink and ride. One-third of all motorcycle fatalities involve impaired drivers.

• Take a training course. Training is available for both novice and experienced riders.

Pedestrians should make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you and will stop, cross streets at marked intersections or crosswalks, be alert and use sidewalks where provided.

Bicyclists should obey all traffic control signs and signals and signal their turns. When it’s dark, they should use a headlight and rear reflectors.

Practice these tips and educate your children as well.