RICHMOND, Va. -- As the Richmond region works to integrate cycling and pedestrians into urban design, drivers and cyclists alike emphasize on knowing the law.
"Better education, flat-out better education," said Louis Scheer, the owner of Molly's Bicycle Shop in Chesterfield County.
Scheer said knowing the law when it comes to bicycles is key for everyone, especially as Central Virginia works to become more bike friendly.
"I think this area is great for biking and I think it would take very little to increase the safety of it,"he said.
Between 2010 and 2014, Richmond ranked third in the state for bicycle injuries, and second in bicyclists killed. That's why some said they choose to only ride trails and never on the road.
With the Virginia Capital Trail's official opening on Oct. 2 this week, riders will have unprecedented access to bike-dedicated lanes running between Jamestown and Richmond.
There are plenty of cyclists in the area who use bikes for daily transportation.
Kevin Carroll, President Fraternal Order of Police of Virginia, urged drivers to remember that cyclists have the same rights as any other driver on the road, and they also have to obey the same rules as drivers.
That includes using hand signals when turning, stopping at stop signs and light, riding without headphones on, and having front and rear lights for nightime riding when required by law.
Info from VDOT's website details safe biking instructions.
Bicyclists and other users on sidewalks, shared use paths, and crosswalks have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian under the same circumstance.
Bicyclists must signal their intentions to stop or turn. The proper signals are made with the left arm as follows:
A right turn may be signaled with the right arm. The signals do not have to be given continuously if both hands are needed to control the bicycle.
Bicyclists may make left turns as either motorists or pedestrians do. To make a pedestrian left turn, the bicyclist should continue straight across the intersecting road, obey the traffic signals, turn left at the corner, and proceed as usual. Bicyclists have the option of either riding or dismounting and walking in the crosswalks of the two intersecting roads. If traffic control devices specify the method of crossings, these directions must be followed.
Carroll also said drivers need to learn patience.
"If there's a bike on the road, it's going to require you to be a little more careful when you are passing it," he said. "And if you need to, make sure you're putting your bike in the right position that you're at."
Effective July 1, 2014, motorists must approach and pass a bicyclist at a reasonable speed at least three feet to the left of the bicyclist.
- Bicyclists must not carry articles which prevent them from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars.
- Bicyclists must not carry more people than the bicycle is designed to accommodate, except for adult bicyclists carrying a child, under six years of age, securely attached to the bicycle in a seat or trailer designed to carry children.
- Bicyclists must not attach themselves or their bicycles to any other vehicle on the roadway.
- Bicyclists are not permitted to wear earphones in both ears while riding a bicycle.
- Tips for Safe Bicycling
- Be a responsible bicyclist - obey all traffic control devices and use proper hand signals.
- Always ride with the flow of traffic.
- Dress safely - wear a helmet, wear bright colored clothing, and secure loose pant legs.
- Ride defensively - anticipate the actions of other road users and watch for road hazards.
- Pass vehicles with extreme care - turning vehicles may not see you.
- Be aware of motor vehicle blind spots whether while riding or when stopped at an intersection.
- Maximize your visibility at night - wear reflective clothing and apply reflective tape to your bicycle.
- Walk your bicycle when you get into traffic situations beyond your cycling abilities.
- Exercise great caution when riding in bus traffic - watch out for buses pulling to and from curbs and passengers getting on and off buses.
- Park your bicycle so you do not block sidewalks, handicap and building accesses, or emergency drives.
- Lock your bicycle - secure both wheels and the frame to a stationary object using a sturdy lock.
- Register or license your bicycle if required or provided by your community.
In Richmond cyclists are not required to wear helmets, but they are in James City County -- part of which is along the Capital trail.