In the age of increasing difficulties in moving around the city, terrific traffic jams and crowded city buses, it is the best time to think about your personal vehicle – a bicycle. Riding a bicycle helps you to save your money as it costs less than travelling by bus. It saves your time as it is one of the fastest means of vehicle to move around the city. Increasing the number of people cycling in a city proves the fact that those arguments are widespread among growing number of citizens. However, deciding to use a bicycle in the public space, you must follow the traffic rules for bicycles.
Every time you ride, your bicycle must have the mandatory equipment. In this regard the traffic policies for bicycles indicates the need for equipments such as:
- a white light (flashing or steady) that can be clearly seen at the front of the bicycle;
- a red light (flashing or steady) that can be clearly seen at the back of the bicycle;
- a red reflector that can be clearly seen behind the bicycle—when a vehicle’s headlights shine on it;
- at least one working brake;
- a working bell, horn or a similar warning device.
However, the use of a reflector during the day is not necessary. But a cyclist should switch the lights on in poor condition of visibility, for example, at night or when visibility is limited due to atmospheric conditions such as fog. The light should also be switched on while cycling in the tunnel.
The traffic rules do not require wearing a helmet or reflective vest when cycling, but you should consider using these accessories that significantly increase safety while riding. The head is the most vulnerable part of our body, so we protect it by wearing a helmet. A reflective vest and reflective stripes allow the driver of other vehicles see the cyclist, especially in difficult weather conditions.
If you already have a bike that meets the standards, then you should know what roads you may ride. The rules of traffic policies clearly state that a cyclist must move on a bike lanes or bikeways. If there is no specific road, the cyclist should ride along the street next to the cars. In three exceptional cases, the traffic rules allow you to cycle on the sidewalk. Those exceptions are:
1) if the cyclist accompanies a child under 10 years who independently rides the bicycle;
2) if the road has a maximum permissible speed of more than 50 km/h and the sidewalk is wider than 2 m (both conditions must be combined);
3) if the weather conditions such as snow, wind, heavy rain, fog, etc. may threaten the cyclist’s safety.
While driving on the sidewalk, a cyclist should keep in mind that pedestrians always have priorities. A cyclist should not fully trust pedestrians, especially children. A cyclist should reduce the speed of the bike while passing by pedestrians. It is necessary to do maneuvers at the maximum distance from the pedestrian.
The cyclist’s movements and maneuvers should be foreseeable by drivers of other vehicle and should not create any danger on the road. It should also be noted that violations of traffic rules are punishable by fines. It is prohibited for cyclists:
1) to drive very close to another vehicle (unless it does not obstruct the movement of other vehicles);
2) to ride a bike without holding on to the handlebars;
3) to remove the feet from the pedals;
4) to tow the bike to other vehicles;
5) to use communication tools while riding a bicycle.
Complying with the rules and requirements that are described above will ensure a smooth, enjoyable and safe trip around the city.
Have a nice trip!