The weather is warming up and gas prices are high so there may be more bicyclists on the streets than usual.
Time for an annual reminder about safety issues, for both bicyclists and motorists, according to Marshall Police Chief Jim Simmerman.
As the Freedom of the Road Riders motorcycle group recently reminded everyone, motorists can do their part by paying attention so they notice cyclists, whether on motorcycles or bicycles.
Simmerman suggested that bicyclists always observe basic safety precautions, beginning with using the right equipment, including bright clothing, helmet and gloves.
Some bicyclists may avoid wearing protective clothing and equipment because it is uncomfortable or unfashionable, but Simmerman reminds bike riders that the consequences of an accident may be much less comfortable -- even painful -- and much less stylish than simply taking the proper precautions.
Several other basic habits worth making or keeping include:
-- keep both hands on the handlebars at all times;
-- look before changing lanes or cross a road;
-- use hand turn signals;
-- ride single file when in groups;
-- never ride at night without a headlight and reflector; and
-- do not wear headphones when riding.
Bicycle riders also should remember that they are required to obey all traffic laws, Simmerman said, including stopping at stop signs and traffic lights.
Bicycles, skateboards and roller skates are not allowed on the streets and sidewalks around the Marshall square and within a one-block radius of the square, according to Simmerman.
For more information on bicycle safety, "Be an Expert Bike Driver" booklets and "Bicycle Safety" coloring books are available free at the Marshall Police Department.
The police department offers bicycle safety presentations. Anyone who is interested can contact Sgt. Mike Donnell, bicycle patrol coordinator or Simmerman at (660) 886-7411.
In addition to safety precautions, both cyclists and motorists can increase safety by using common courtesy, according to Brent Hugh, chairman of the Missouri Bicycle Federation.
"A little courtesy on the road goes a long way for both bicyclists and motorists," Hugh said in an article on the Kansas City InfoZine Web site. "It's easy for both cyclists and motorists to forget that waiting a few seconds or missing a light isn't the end of the world."
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