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Bike lane safety tips can help you ride smart

As the weather warms up and you find that you want to get out of the house, you may be eager to get on your bicycle and ride. Before you do, remember that cyclists can be in danger when they're on the roads. Cyclists may want to learn more about the rules of the road and bike lanes before they head out.

Bicycle lanes are helpful lanes where cyclists are expected to ride out of the way of faster-moving traffic. These lanes are totally reserved for cyclists, and they will have markings and arrows to show the direction of travel.

It's important to note that bike lanes are restricted to use by cyclists. Drivers should not enter into them at any point unless they are exiting or entering a driveway. So, as a cyclist, make sure you're paying close attention if you are in a bike lane and are crossing driveways where vehicles could be present. Those drivers may still end up in your path, so you need to be prepared to stop.

Did you know that drivers are required to keep a safe distance away from cyclists?

According to Conn. Gen. Stat. ยง14-232, drivers need to maintain a safe distance of at least three feet when passing a cyclist. This distance is designed to give enough space for a vehicle to pass without sideswiping the cyclist or their handlebars. It's also encouraged because of giving a cyclist enough room not to weave or overcorrect out of fear of being hit.

Drivers also need to be cautious when they make right-hand turns across bike lanes. Cyclists have the right-of-way in these lanes, and a vehicle that is turning right should not cross into the bike lane. Instead, the driver should stay in their own lane and make a wider turn.

Cyclists need to keep in mind that being cut off in a right-hand turn is possible. They should stay out of the driver's blind spot and maintain their lane as they turn as well. If you're concerned that a driver has not seen you, it may be smart to use a horn, bell or lights to try to get the driver's attention. If the driver is headed toward you, you should try to make eye contact, so you know that they've seen you and acknowledged your presence.

Riding a bike can be dangerous, but by knowing these rules and tips, you can be safer on the roads and avoid a bike crash.

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