Rules of the Road and Trail keep us all safe! See below for tips for both cyclists and motorists.
Cyclist’s Rules of the Road
- Follow the law
Your safety and the image of Bentonville bicyclists and trail users depend on you. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Most of us can’t do track stands so, at every stop, place one foot on the ground. Ride with traffic and use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.
- Be predictable
Make your intentions clear to motorists and other road and trail users. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve. Use hand signals and signal your turns, and check behind you before turning or changing lanes. Many of our rides, runs and walks begin at the Bentonville square and this is the perfect place to demonstrate your respect for the law and others. Smile and interact with people and motorists around the square by allowing plenty of room when you go around them and by signaling your presence when coming from behind or the side. Having a biker or runner go past you from behind without warning can scare the socks off you.
- Be conspicuous
When cycling, walking or running never assume you are visible to drivers. Pretend you are the invisible man. Ride where drivers can see you, wear bright colored clothing, and always wear a helmet. Use a front white light and red rear light and reflectors at night or when visibility is poor. Make eye contact with drivers. Dawn and dusk are two of the most dangerous times to ride. Also on hilly and twisting routes it’s hard for motorists to see you on the other side.
- Think ahead
Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other bicyclists will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes, and utility covers. Cross railroad tracks at right angles and remember, even a small curb can cause a cyclist problems.
- Ride Ready
ABC’s – Check your tire pressure, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release wheel levers are closed. Carry repair and emergency supplies appropriate for your ride. Buy and use a quality helmet. Sunglasses are a must to keep out the sun, dirt and bugs.
- Keep your cool
Road rage benefits no-one and always makes a bad situation worse. When cycling in a group on busy roads its best to ride single file. Nothing aggravates a driver worse than riders taking up the entire road even if it is our road too and we don’t have bike lanes to ride on. I am always surprised that many drivers think it’s ‘their’ road. It’s our roads, family and friends out there. Obey the laws, respect each other’s space and do the safest thing.
Motorist’s Rules of the Road
- Be aware
The right side of the road is often full of trash, rocks and very y rough. Also there is usually drops off on many of our roads so don’t be surprised if people are not riding all the way to the roads edge. Remember cyclist have a right to use the road just like a car does. They are not trying to annoy motorists. The right side of a road is often a rough and dangerous place with loose chips and a bone-jarring surface that a cyclist is not required to ride. You just have to hope that they can and will.
- Not many bike lanes in Benton County
The white line on the right side of the road does not designate a bike lane. There are only a few designated bike lanes in Benton County.
- Be considerate
Look ahead and when you see a cyclist or runner please slow down for a second and give them a chance to give you some room. Zooming by a side view mirrors width away, lying on the horn or revving your engine isn’t going to help anyone get along better.
- Three feet when passing
The law requires an overtaking vehicle to give at least 3 feet to pass. On our county roads, this means that you will have to look ahead to make sure you can see that oncoming traffic is clear before passing. When you are overtaking a cyclist, please be patient and use this as a rule instead of trying to squeeze by with oncoming traffic present. Forcing a cyclist into the gravel or the ditch on the side of the road could land someone in the hospital — or worse.
- It’s OK to cross the yellow line to pass
If it is safe to pass, the law allows you to cross the yellow line in the middle of the road to pass a cyclist. It is more important to give 3 feet or more (I think it should be more like six feet) than to squeeze by in a tight unsafe passing situation.
- It’s fun, healthy, cheap, greener and it’s about a better you, community and family
Here’s to a safe, fun Bentonville in Motion!