Bike Anchorage believes that education for both motorists and bicyclists is key to making Anchorage a safer place for everyone. Our Strategic Plan has identified two key campaigns. The first is to establish a vibrant Safe Routes to Schools program in Anchorage, which would include bike education for students. This work has two core elements: (1) establishing a curriculum for PE teachers; and (2) establishing a ASD-wide SRTS coordinator. Our second campaign is focused on educating motorists and bicyclists about how to safely share the road through PSAs, tabling, outreach, and improvements to the DMV Manual.
Some general tips for motorists and bicyclists include:
- Recognize that it may be difficult for motorists to see you. Assume cars cannot see you when riding.
- Wear bright reflective gear. Even during the day bright clothing can bring greater attention to your presence.
- Always make eye contact with the driver of the car before crossing in front.
- Always travel in the same direction as traffic.
- Use hand signals when turning or changing lanes.
- Stay in your lane unless passing or turning; avoid swerving and lane hopping.
- Keep an eye out for upcoming hazards.
- Constantly scan around you.
- Wear a helmet.
SHARE THE ROAD AND BE AWARE OF BICYCLISTS
- Expect to see bicyclists and pedestrians in intersections. There are more bicyclists on the road in the summer.
- Slow down and watch for bicyclists at every intersection.
- When making a turn at an intersection, look in the direction of traffic you intend to go before pulling out to ensure no pedestrians or bicyclists are in a crosswalk.
- When making a turn from a driveway, parking lot or street where you must cross a multi-use path, look in the direction of the traffic you intend to merge into (in the opposite direction of the cars) before pulling out to ensure no pedestrians or bicyclists are on the multi-use path heading in your direction.
- Give them space: Give at least 3 feet of space between you and a bicyclist when passing.
- Respect their speed: Do not underestimate how fast cyclists may be traveling. In many circumstances, a bike can travel at the same speed as cars. Never turn in front of a bicyclist, even if you think they are traveling slowly.
- Be patient: Do not honk or yell at bicyclists. You could startle them or cause them to veer.
- Be mindful when opening your door: When parked along roadways, look for bicyclists before opening your door, as a cyclist may be on the far right side of the road, right in the line of your open car door. Opening your door into a bicyclist’s path can seriously injure the bicyclist or unsafely force them into vehicle traffic.
Crashes are no accident. With stepped-up enforcement, improved street and road design and increased education for bicyclists and motorists, we can all reduce the frequency of bicycle/pedestrian-vehicle collisions.