Play It Safe

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  • Play It Safe

  • When drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists don’t know the rules of the road, it can make commuting unsafe. Get up to speed on how to make our streets safe for everyone!

    • Bike Safety

      Bike Safety

      Ready to head out on your bike? Before you do, take a look at the following safety rules and tips. Even experienced riders will find useful information to help ensure safe and enjoyable cycling throughout Orange County. Safety rules and tips

      Know the law
      Cyclists have a legal right to share the road. That privilege comes with responsibilities. Understand the laws governing traffic safety, safe riding procedures, bike equipment, and more.

      Wear a helmet.
      Head injuries are the most serious type of injury and the most common cause of death for bicyclists. Bicycle helmets have been proven to reduce the risk of head and brain injury when a crash occurs by as much as 85 to 88 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. So even though helmets are required only for bike riders 18 and under, it’s clear that wearing one offers protection. Find more about helmets and how to properly fit yours here.

      Learn hand signals.
      Hand signals communicate changes in direction and speed and help others adjust their movements in relationship to yours. California law requires cyclists to use them when turning left or right or when stopping or slowing. Learn them here.

      Be visible.
      Wear bright colors. Equip your bike with a headlight and rear reflector. There are about 11,000 bicycle collisions a year in California that result in injuries or fatalities, many due to a lack of visibility, according to AAA.

      Pay attention.
      Don’t ride distracted. Keep the music and phone for another time. And don’t ride your bike if you’ve been drinking alcohol. Alcohol is a contributing factor in 1 out of 4 crashes involving bicycle-related fatalities.

      Ride with traffic
      Ride with traffic on the right side of the road; it’s the best way to share the road with motorists. If you’re traveling slower than the speed of traffic, California law requires you to use a bike lane if one is available.

      Take a bike class.
      Improve your skills and safety awareness with a local bike class. It’s a great way for both enthusiasts and commuters to learn about everything from riding in traffic to bike maintenance.

      Obey all traffic regulations
      Riding predictably and following the law are the keys to safe bicycling. Knowing and using hand signals, and following the rules, helps all road users properly anticipate and react to each other.

      Ride on sidewalks only if you can do so safely and carefully
      By law, bicyclists in Orange County must not ride on the sidewalk with a willful disregard for safety. Pedestrians have the right of way on walkways. If you must ride on sidewalks, please do so at a walking pace. Slow down and look very carefully for traffic at driveways or intersections.

      Ride in a straight line
      Avoid weaving between parked cars. Don’t hug the curb and ride in a straight line at least 4 feet away from parked cars to avoid opening and opened car doors.

      When necessary, use the entire lane
      Move toward the center when the lane is too narrow for motorists to pass safely or when you are moving at the same speed as traffic.

      To cross an intersection, use the lane farthest to the right in your direction of travel
      Follow lane markings to cross an intersection. If you can't turn left, ride across the street to the other side and align your bike with traffic.

      Stop at red lights and stop signs
      Drivers in cross traffic may not expect or see you if you run a red light or stop sign, especially if they are approaching the intersection with speed. Behave like a car and stop at all red lights and stop signs.

      Avoid the "door zone"
      This is the 3 to 4 feet along the left side of a parked car where an opening door can hit and seriously injure a bicyclist. STAY OUT OF IT!

      Use bicycle lanes, when available
      When riding in a bike lane, ride to the left side of the lane, at least 3 to 4 feet from parked cars.

      Look for a driver inside parked cars before passing
      If you can't see inside or you see a driver inside, move outside the "Door Zone," or slow down and pass carefully.

      Watch behind you
      Keep track of and listen for traffic behind you. A mirror may help you see traffic behind you as you pedal forward.

      Wear a Helmet
      A properly fitted helmet is one of the best and easiest ways to reduce the chance of brain injury or death in the event of a collision. Helmet use can help prevent 85 percent of all head and brain injuries when worn correctly, according to AAA. Even a low-speed crash can do major damage to your brain. Unfortunately, only 20 to 25 percent of cyclists wear helmets – even though 70 percent of all fatal bicycle crashes involve head injuries. Under California law, everyone under age 18 must wear a helmet while cycling. Don’t be a statistic. Be safe and invest in a helmet that fits properly and meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the SNELL Standards for Protective Headgear.

      Choosing a Helmet
      Helmets come in all different sizes, shapes and colors. You can choose one that’s simply functional or one that makes a fashion statement. Just choose one that fits. And if you’re in an accident, buy a new helmet. Even though you may not be able to tell by looking at it, your old helmet may be compromised and unsafe. Toss it.

      Tips for Fitting Your Helmet

      • Get the correct size.
        Your helmet size is based on the size of your head, not your age. Get someone to help you measure your head just above your eyebrows. Your helmet should cover your forehead. Don’t push it back – move it down so it’s no more than an inch above your eyebrows.
      • Adjust the pads.
        Adjust the foam pads inside the helmet for a snug fit.
      • Adjust the straps.
        Your ear straps should form a “V” just below each ear.
      • Test the fit.
        Rock your helmet back and forth. The straps should only move one inch.
    • Pedestrain Safety

      Pedestrian Safety

      Before you get your steps in, take a look at the following safety rules and tips to ensure safe and enjoyable walking throughout Orange County.

      Safety rules and tips

      Be visible.
      Wear light colored clothes with reflective clothing to make it easier to be seen.

      Always follow the law when crossing the street. Only cross the street at crosswalks. At a crosswalk with a signal, it is safe to cross when there is a picture of a person walking. If there is a flashing or solid red hand do not cross.

      Look both ways and make eye contact.
      Always pay attention to traffic and try to make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street. Always look both ways before you step off of the curb, even when the walk signal is on.

      Parking lots.
      When walking in a parking lot, you should watch out for cars back out of parking spaces.

      Pay attention.
      Always pay attention when walking. Beware of texting while walking as you may not be as in tune to your surroundings as you need to be. If walking with headphones make sure your music is low enough to allow you to hear what is happening around you.

    • Motorist Safety

      Bike Safety for Motorists

      Cycling and walking is becoming increasingly popular throughout Orange County and beyond. Understanding the rules and using caution and courtesy can help make travel safer for all who share the road. Remember that every time you see a cyclist or pedestrian that means there is one less car on the road.

      Safety rules and tips

      Know and obey the law.
      Did you know that you must allow a clearance of at least 3 feet when passing a cyclist? That a bike rider can use an entire traffic lane when the lane is too narrow to be shared? And that drivers do not have the right of way at intersections?

      Expect cyclists and pedestriands.
      People and bikes increasingly share the road with motorists. Expect them to be there and watch for them especially when turning, parking, backing up, and opening car doors.

      Understand cyclist behavior.
      Motorists may endanger bicyclists because they are unaware of common cyclist behavior. Cyclists frequently have to move to the left in a traffic lane to avoid hazards that may not be an issue for a car or truck. Be realistic about bike travel speeds. They often travel at 15-20 miles an hour on city streets, faster than many motorists realize. If turning in front of a cyclist, take this speed into account and adjust your timing accordingly. Do not pass a cyclist if you will be making a right turn immediately afterward.

      Be alert.
      Watch for cyclists and pedestrians at all times just as you would for other cars. Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and scan the road ahead for cyclists and pedestrians. Use particular caution when driving around cycling children because they may behave unpredictably.

      Be careful opening your car door and driving in parking lots.
      Look before opening the driver side door to avoid striking a cyclist. When driving in a parking lot, you should always watch out for pedestrians walking between parked cars and pedestrians behind your vehicle before you back out.

      Don’t drive distracted
      Alcohol, drugs, lack of sleep, and cell phones can impair judgment.

      Exercise patience.
      Think of a bicycle as a slow-moving car and approach and pass them with caution, courtesy and plenty of room. Remember, however, that cyclists and pedestrians are very vulnerable in a collision and drive with that thought in mind.

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