Studies show most accidents result from lack of attention
Buses and cars congest streets during rush hour, and skateboard wheels and pedestrian shoes trample crosswalks and sidewalks.
But, in Boulder, the transportation king is the bicycle.
>> General Bicycle Safety Tips
-Always wear a helmet. Bicycle helmets can reduce head injuries by 85 percent.
-Use hand signals to indicate which direction you want to turn.
-Be aware and alert at all busy intersections. Make yourself known to motorists.
-Have reflectors or lights when riding at night.
-Pass on the left, and be ready to hit the brakes. Keep a good passing distance.
-Be aware and leave room for motorists trying to make right-hand turns.
-The paths in Boulder have 15 mph speed limits; follow the speed guidelines.
-Don’t wear headphones when riding, and yield to traffic when entering roadways.
Everyday, cyclists conquer the foothills, businessmen and women cruise the bike lanes to work, students race to their classes, and kids pop wheelies around the neighborhoods.
While bicycle riding is a popular sport and transportation method in Boulder, not everyone knows the right safety precautions to take.
When a motor vehicle collides with a bicyclist, the consequences are dangerous.
According to Boulder Police Department Spokesperson Julie Brooks, many accidents happen when motorists don’t pay attention, and bicyclists fail to make their presence on the roads noticeable.
“It’s doesn’t matter who’s at fault,” Brooks said. “Unfortunately, bikes usually get the wrong end due to (their) size.”
Accidents are avoidable in most circumstances. Statistics from the city of Boulder show that 60 percent of motor vehicle/bicyclist accidents occur because motorists don’t pay enough attention to bicyclists. Motor vehicle/bicycle accidents happen for various reasons, but more than 23 percent of these accidents take place when a vehicle makes a right-hand turn and unexpectedly hits a bicyclist passing on a sidewalk.
Boulder has many high-traffic areas and intersections, but one of the high-risk intersections is at Broadway and University. This area is high-risk because of the poor right-turn visibility, said CU Transportation Program Manager Peter Roper.
Vehicle traffic always poses dangerous risks for bicyclists in Boulder, but on campus, so does pedestrian traffic.
“Safety for a person on campus is centered more on preventing bicycle and pedestrian accidents,” Roper said.
Junior anthropology major David Summers regularly rides to campus and agreed that cars aren’t his main concern.
“My near-accidents are never with cars, but mostly with students walking with cell phones or skateboards,” Summers said.
Roper said CU has recently improved campus traffic between the MCD Biology building and Balch Fieldhouse. Bicyclists frequently cruise down the narrow gap to and from the Folsom Plaza, so CU Transportation widened the path to create more room for bikes and pedestrians.
Another project Roper said is set for the future is at the crosswalk across from Regent Drive near Fiske Planetarium. Similar to the underpass that connects the Hill with campus, the future project on Regent Drive will decrease vehicle traffic tension and increase safety.
As CU continues to improve transportation, it is still necessary for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings. Information about bicycle safety can be found on campus at the bike station located just east of the UMC. For safety violations or close-call encounters, contact the city of Boulder’s close-call hotline at (303) 441-4272.