Letter: Two observations concerning bicycle safety

Posted 8/10/22

As we look ahead to the fall, I have two major concerns about student safety while riding bicycles to school based on my observations this summer.

1. I have seen many young bicycle riders (and …

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Letter: Two observations concerning bicycle safety


As we look ahead to the fall, I have two major concerns about student safety while riding bicycles to school based on my observations this summer.

1. I have seen many young bicycle riders (and adults) riding on local streets on the wrong side — facing oncoming traffic instead of riding in the same direction as traffic.

While some may adopt this practice because it is common for walkers and runners, this is extremely dangerous for bicycle riders. For one, the speed of the bicycle rider is ADDED to the speed of the oncoming car should there be a head-on or glancing contact, greatly increasing the potential for serious injury or death. The idea of advantage to be able to move aside in time because one can see oncoming traffic is negated by this increase of speed.

The other reason this practice is dangerous, is drivers pulling out of driveways often do not look to the right because they are assuming no traffic coming from their right in the right lane. I have seen runners and walkers almost get hit by cars, and cyclists that have been hit, because they cannot stop fast enough and/or are traveling fast enough the driver does not see them even when they happened to look right.

Please instruct your children to ride on the right side of the road in the direction of traffic. It is in fact, safer for them.

RI state law on where to ride: Rhode Island requires that every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction except where official traffic control devices (signs or pavement markings) specifically direct bicyclists to do otherwise. Source: R.I. Gen. Laws §31-19-6

2. The other observation this summer I have had while riding my bicycle in Barrington, are young people and children not wearing bicycle helmets. Not only is it R.I. state law that anyone under 15 years old wear a helmet while bicycle riding, but the availability of affordable and protective helmets makes this easy to comply with and the most critically important measure of safety in a fall.

Please provide an approved bicycle helmet and reinforce the necessity for your children to wear it whenever riding their bicycles. I know of bicyclists who have fallen in slow speed mishaps where the helmet made the difference between getting up and riding home or being taken to the hospital. I myself have had several accidents where my helmet kept me from serious head injuries. I never ride without a helmet.

RI state law on wearing bicycle helmets: Rhode Island requires that any person under the age of 15 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet. Source: R.I. Gen. Laws §31-19-2.

Ken Horii

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