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Bicyclists, Motorist Share the Same Road, Same Responsibilities

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Summer is a great time to enjoy our community on a bicycle. Bicycling is not inherently dangerous, especially when everyone follows the rules of the road. What’s dangerous are the often-illegal interactions that occur between bicyclists and motorists every day, increasing the danger for everyone. More than 90 percent of bicyclist fatalities involve a collision with a motor vehicle. According to bicycle/motor vehicle crash statistics, when an adult bicyclist is injured, it is typically due to motorist error. When a child bicyclist is hit, it’s typically the child’s. Motorist-caused collisions with bicyclists occur most often when a motorist: (1) turns left (or right) into the path of a bicyclist at an intersection; (2) fails to stop for a stop sign or other traffic control device; or (3) exits a driveway or alley without first stopping and then looking.

To safely interact with bicyclists on the roadway, motorists must follow these laws:

  • Yield the right-of-way to oncoming vehicles, including bicycles, before turning left at intersections or driveways.
  • Stop for all traffic control devices (stop light/stop signs) and yield to all traffic before proceeding.
  • Leave at least three feet between you and a bicyclist (or any other vehicle) when passing.
  • Do not exceed posted speed limits, and reduce speeds when necessary (especially at night).
  • Do not drink and drive.

Bicyclists need to follow all the rules of the road – especially stopping for stop lights and signs. Parents can do a great deal to teach their kids to be safe bicyclists, and to help children develop habits to last a lifetime:

  • Don’t allow children to ride their bicycles unless wearing a properly fitted bike helmet. (A helmet should be parallel with the ground and fit snugly.)
  • Set a good example and wear a bicycle helmet too.
  • Only buy a helmet that has Snell, ASTM or CPSC approved labels. Hockey, football or other sports helmets are not bike helmet substitutes.
  •  Teach children to be safe bicyclists:
    • Look left, right and left again before entering the street.
    • Go to the edge of parked cars to search for traffic when crossing the street.
    • Look over your left shoulder before moving toward the center of the road.
    • Be alert for cars leaving or entering driveways or making turns across your path.
    • Obey the same signals and signs as motorists, e.g., stop signs, traffic signs, yield signs.
    • Warn pedestrians if you are riding on sidewalks and paths.
    • Be sure to use hand signals when biking.
  • Make sure children are visible. Use lights and reflectors at night. Wear bright-colored clothes by day.
(Information provided by Dean Health System, Madison Department of Transportation – Traffic Engineering, St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center)

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The partnerships built by Safe Communities have created a safer community, with more opportunities for education and awareness. We continue to envision a safer future for the people who live in Madison and Dane County, with instances of unnecessary deaths and serious injuries are infrequent, rather than a daily occurrence.

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Treatment Key

Safe communities has complied a list of abbreviation definitions for finding the right treatment for you.

MAT: Medication for Addiction Treatment.
OP: Outpatient Treatment – person lives at home or in the community, attends. individual and group therapy, these can include or not include MAT.
IOP: Intensive Outpatient Treatment – person lives at home or in the community, attends individual and extended groups, 9-12 hours a week.
Residential: person lives at the facility for a period of at least 14 days, some last as many as 45 days.
PHP: Partial Hospitalization Program is a structured mental health treatment program that runs for several hours each day, three to five days per week.
DBT: Dialectical behavior therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that integrates mindfulness techniques.