AAA SAFETY ALERT:
COVID-19 Prompts Homebound Adults and Children to Turn to Biking and Walking
Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Vital
May is National Bicycle Safety Month; AAA reminds bicyclists and pedestrians of important safety tips
BIKE SAFETY VIDEO: AAA Bike Safety - What it Means to be a "Roll" Model
PEDESTRIAN SAFETY VIDEO: AAA Pedestrian Safety
HARTFORD, CT (April 28, 2020) – Corona virus concerns and the Governor’s Stay at Home order means many homebound residents, including parents and children, are dusting off bicycles and lacing up walking shoes in an effort to get some exercise - or just get outside - while maintaining proper social distancing.
With that in mind, AAA is reminding drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians alike to look out for one another and take all necessary precautions to ensure these outdoor activities are as safe as possible.
“While there are fewer vehicles on the road, bicyclists and pedestrians still need to take precautions,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “It is critical to ‘stay safe’, both indoors and out”.
According to UConn Crash Data, almost 500 bicyclists were injured in motor vehicle crashes last year – three of them fatally - and pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise in recent years as well.
“Although May is officially National Bicycle Safety Month, AAA felt it important to speak up today with this important reminder”, Parmenter added.
AAA Bike Safety Reminders
- Always wear a helmet. Connecticut law requires that anyone 15 years of age or under wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. This applies to anyone operating the bicycle, riding as a passenger, or riding in an attached restraining seat or trailer. For guidance on fitting a helmet, see the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fitting Your Bike Helmet.
- Maintain your bike. Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that the brakes work.
- Make yourself visible. No matter the time of day, make yourself visible to others. Wear neon, fluorescent or other bright colors when riding, to be most easily seen. Wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights. Remember, just because you can see a driver doesn’t mean the driver can see you.
- Look for hazards such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs. All these hazards can cause a crash.
- Obey traffic laws. A bicycle is a vehicle and you’re the driver. When you ride in the street, obey all traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
- Use verbal and non-verbal communication. This includes eye contact with drivers, turn signals, pointing to road hazards for bicyclists behind you, and stating “passing on your left,” or “on your left.” Your bike should be equipped with a bell or horn to alert other cyclists, pedestrians and motorists of your presence.
- Be predictable. Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars. Signal your moves to others.
- Look before turning. When turning left or right, always look behind you for a break in traffic, and then signal before making the turn. Watch for left- or right-turning traffic.
- Children should not ride alone. Children younger than 10 years old are not able to make necessary safely decisions and should ride with an adult. Utilize safer routes such as sidewalks when available.
Unfortunately pedestrian fatalities remain high. In 2018, there were 6,283 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes, a three percent increase from the previous year and the most since 1990, according to NHTSA.
According to UConn Crash Data, last year more than 50 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles.
AAA Pedestrian Safety Reminders
- Walk on sidewalks whenever possible.
- If no sidewalk is available, you must walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic (Pennsylvania law).
- Cross at crosswalks. Keep to the right in the crosswalk.
- Look both ways before crossing the street.
- At signalized intersections, cross only on the proper signal.
- Avoid crossing the street between parked cars.
- Watch for cars. Be sure that the way is clear before you start crossing. Continue looking and checking while crossing.
- Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to make sure you are seen.
- Motorists must yield to pedestrians crossing the street at marked and unmarked intersections BUT the pedestrian must either be within the crosswalk or affirmatively indicate an intent to cross (Pennsylvania law).
- Wear or carry retro-reflective material or carry a flashlight at night to help drivers see you.
- Avoid distractions. Limit phone use, loud music, and other distractions while walking.
AAA Mid-Atlantic offers bicycle roadside assistance as part of its legendary service. Members do not need to do anything - the bicycle coverage is now automatically embedded into each current level of membership.
About AAA bicycle coverage:
- Member roadside assistance calls can be used for bicycles or automobiles. A bicycle call will count as a service call.
- AAA will transport a bicycle (transportation not included for rider fatigue or physical inability to continue riding) to a safe location or home. Cyclists must remain with their bicycles
- Bicycle towing mileage mirrors vehicle towing mileage:
- 3 miles for Basic AAA membership
- 100 miles for Plus AAA membership*
- 200 miles for Premier AAA membership
- *Motorcycle coverage is provided with the AAA Plus / RV Rider Membership.
- Service will be provided if cyclists can safely move their bicycle to a normally traveled road.
- Just like with vehicle roadside assistance, cyclists should show a valid AAA membership card, either hard copy or on the AAA mobile app, as long as the cyclist has another form of identification.
- Because the ownership of the bicycle cannot be verified, AAA Mid-Atlantic will not service bicycles secured with a lock for which the member has no key or combination.
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