We all love to get on our beach cruisers and toodle around town…beats the heck out of traffic on the weekends! And we’ve got all the folks who love biking as a form of exercise and get in a 20 – 50 (or more) mile ride in a day, exploring our beautiful town and surrounding communities. However, long gone are the days of riding around on our bikes without a care in the world - it’s all about safety, consideration and awareness. We’ve had way too many accidents, some resulting in death, because cyclists and motorists aren’t paying attention to what’s going on around them or the laws involving them. There are actual rules for cyclists and motorists alike when it comes to toodling around our awesome Delaware beach town…and they are quite simple:
Bicyclists must obey all traffic laws.
Motorists must treat bikes as all other vehicles.
Also, under Delaware law, parents are held accountable for their kids’ actions when it comes to the laws of the 10-speed road, and ignorance does not mean you’ll get a pass on breaking those laws. So be sure to read on and when you’re finished, check out this article about bike safety for kids.
Let’s break things down for both cyclists and motorists…
AS A CYCLIST
When riding a bicycle you must be on or astride a permanent seat.
You may not carry a passenger unless your bicycle is designed for carrying extra passengers…kinda like the one below if you’ve got $20k laying around:
You can’t cling to any vehicle on the roadway – a.k.a. skitching (also applies to skaters, coasters, sledders and riders of toy vehicles).
You can’t ride on the road facing traffic…ride in the same direction as the traffic.
You must keep at least one hand on the handle bars at all times.
Light up your ride! When biking at night you must have a white front headlight (visible for 500 feet) and a red taillight (visible for 600 feet). Also, you need to wear either reflective material or a lighted head lamp (visible for 600 feet) – check out the best reviewed options below if you need to get them:
You only have to yield at stop signs now (thanks to the new Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act). You must also yield to pedestrians on sidewalks and in crosswalks AND give an audible signal before overtaking (“…on your left!”)
You must not wear headphones covering both ears…’course we wouldn’t wear those shoes either 😉
Kids under the age of 16 must wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet.
Use hand signals to communicate your intentions to other vehicles:
BTW, drinking and driving laws apply to cyclists too (you can check out section 4198J here)!
AS A MOTORIST
When passing a cyclist you must change lanes – even when there is a double yellow line – when travel lanes are too narrow for side-by-side sharing.
You are forbidden to honk at cyclists when passing except when there is imminent danger.
If you didn’t read this above, be aware that the yield law has been modified to allow bicyclists to yield at stop signs when the coast is clear at minor road intersections instead of requiring a complete stop.
Also note that cyclists can legally ride two abreast, even on narrow-lane roads.
Now that we’ve got that all cleared up, just be aware of what’s going on around you…especially the younger folks who use their bikes to get to and from work (day and night)! And, hey, it’s summertime…take it easy, give yourself a bit of extra time and enjoy the gorgeousness that is Bethany Beach.