NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP)- Riding a bike is a great way to get outside and get some exercise, but just like driving, it can be dangerous.
According to MassDOT, 1 in 4 deaths in motor vehicles crashes involves pedestrians or bicyclists. The most recent accident was in Springfield on Page Boulevard near Brookdale Drive, where a bicyclist was killed after being hit by a tractor trailer around 4:00 Saturday morning.
“Drivers aren’t as aware of bikers on the street and there’s not enough infrastructure to support biking,” said Monica Roy of Northampton.
MassDOT recently launched their “Scan the Street for Wheels and Feet Campaign”, to bring down the number of these accidents.
“I make sure to use hand signals and always wear a helmet and I ride in the bike lanes, unless its not safe,” said Emma Tosch of Northampton. “I try to keep between 3 feet between me and car doors.”
According to state law, bicyclists must ride in the right lane, use hand signals when stopping or turning, and give pedestrians the right away. If you’re riding at night, you must also have a white headlight and red taillight.
Before you hit the road, you want to make sure your bike is safe enough to ride. You can do this by checking the tires’ air pressure and making sure the brakes are functioning properly. It’s also advised to wear a helmet which can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries.
When riding, you want to make sure you’re always visible.
“Unfortunately some drivers don’t pay attention to that and we have close calls and accidents,” said Jim Kennedy, Co-Owner of Competitive Edge Ski & Bike in Easthampton. “You want to be seen to avoid any issue like that.”
Kennedy recommends having a flashing reflector light and a reflective shirt when riding, both day and night.