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Bicycle Safety Tips From Northville Township Police

Tips include knowing and using hand signals, riding as far to the right as possible and yielding to pedestrians.

In the wake of a, which killed one bicyclist on Seven Mile Road last week, Northville Patch checked in with township police on safety tips for cyclists.

Here are some tips from township Public Safety Director John Werth to keep cyclists safe on the roads:

  • Obey traffic lights, stop signs, one-way streets and other basic traffic laws. A bicyclist has the same rights and duties on the road as drivers of other vehicles, and some additional responsibilities.
  • Ride as far "as practicable" to the right (or to the outside lanes on a one-way street), particularly when automobile traffic is moving faster than you are.
  • Be prepared to yield at all times.
  • Use hand signals when turning or moving from a lane.
  • Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Give audible warning when overtaking a pedestrian.
  • Keep at least one hand on handlebars. Keep control of the bicycle at all times.
  • Saddlebags, racks, baskets, and backpacks are all good ways to carry packages, freeing your hands for safe riding
  • Use a headlight with a white light visible from ahead, and a red reflector/light visible from behind, when riding from sunset to sunrise or whenever visibility is poor. Wear reflective clothing as well.
  • Keep brakes adjusted so that, when braked, your bicycle skids on clean dry pavement.
  • Ride astride a fixed seat. Riding "double" is discouraged.
  • Ride no more than two abreast.

Come back soon for information for motorists, regarding the rights of bicyclists sharing the road.

There's also a lot of safety tips and other information on the Michigan League of Bicyclists website, which advocates for the rights of cyclists on the roads.

Concerned Citizen September 13, 2011 at 08:08 PM
How about focusing on building some paths where there are no shoulders and limited visibility instead of in pet locations throughout the township? This might help make the township safer too, no? Has the safety director ever tried to ride a bike, walk or jog along Beck Road north of 7 Mile, for example? I see dozens of our residents brave this journey daily to get to Maybury. Has the township added one single foot of paths North of 7 Mile ever compared to the miles of trails added South of 7 Mile? Seems like our township officials have been too busy building new "Disney Land" developments with their cozy developer buddies instead of focusing on investing in the beautiful community they inherited.
Brian Babylon September 14, 2011 at 10:53 AM
I agree with the Concerned Citizen. Unfortunately, the Northville Township Board of Trustees or Planning Committee aren't bike riders. In my 11 years of riding extensively through the area, I have never seen one of them on a bike. So, they probably have no idea what the cyclist's true needs are. And I have never heard of them reaching out to find out what our needs are. I agree with you fully about the disaster waiting to happen on a daily basis trying to get to Maybury from Beck anywhere north of 6 mile. As I commented regarding the million dollar half mile path next to Sheldon article, a path on Beck between 6 and 8 mile is needed much more! However, I won't be totally negative, if anyone wants to utilize my extensive knowledge of just about ever section of Northville Township regarding cycling, I would be happy to help.
ecnalubma September 14, 2011 at 05:56 PM
With all due respect, not to be argumentative; a person’s safety begins with them. I have ridden bicycles for over 30 years, and I have been a devoted walker for approximately the same amount of time. I personally ride in parks and trails, I walk in my subdivision and in the parks year round, and I purposely avoided surface streets both for safeties sake and my health. I wear the appropriate safety equipment for the activity and season, and I especially avoid areas that are hazardous. Some areas are not practical to develop into bike/walking paths, so avoid them. I know that this is easy for me to say, but I work in a “Safety Profession” and I think along these lines. I would hope that my tax dollars go to pay for the greatest benefit for the greatest numbers, in no way do I feel that anyone’s safety is less than others, but we all have a responsibility to ourselves, like the politicians have a responsibility for the greater good.
Concerned Citizen September 14, 2011 at 07:57 PM
@ecnalubma Excellent points made. We each are responsible for our safety. Politicians have a responsibility for the greater good as well. Township officials also have a call to provide leadership into the future. To spend our $ based on a clear vision of what our community should become. It really is hard to see what sort of leadership has governed our small community these past 5-10 years (beside perhaps the tug of commercial developers). We have let developers come in here and build homes the citizens can't afford and the local roads can't support. The trails that have been put in often lead to nowhere or are held captive to an individual subdivision (not as part of a shared network). In a recent meeting to discuss this the leader of our township (the same one who curiously strongly supported and endorsed the purchase of contaminated land) actually argued that he should only be concerned about connecting township assets with trails, not state parks, county parks etc. Forward thinking communities are investing in making sure that folks have alternative ways to get where they need to be rather than cars. Who owns these assets isn't the material fact, rather what do our citizens need. A connected township not only makes our community safer but also enhances the well being of its citizens.
Concerned Citizen September 14, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Here is perhaps a more precise characterization of our Township Supervisor's position: "According to Northville Township Supervisor Mark Abbo, over a decade ago the township did have a 10-year non-motorized pathway plan, but it was sidetracked and now it needs to be rethought. He said Northville should concentrate “on their own assets first.” http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20110901/NEWS12/109010434
Brian Babylon September 14, 2011 at 08:50 PM
We need to get this on the Township's Planning Committee's Agenda. We really should start a Northville/Township cyclist organization.
Concerned Citizen September 14, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Brian, I agree, save for one modification: I think it should be non-motorized pathway organization. The need is for a coherent plan to provide safe options for bicyclists, walkers and runners, IMO.

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