By Major Rodney W. Campbell
(Oneida – April 24, 2013) I would like to remind motorists, bicyclists and other users of New York’s roadways to use caution when driving and riding this spring and summer. Motorists should be alert for other users of the roadway including bicyclists, in-line skaters, pedestrians, motorcycles, farm equipment, animal-drawn vehicles and construction work zones.
As better weather approaches, roadways will become busy with these and other types of non-motorized traffic. At intersections, be alert for pedestrians, particularly children. Watch for motorcycles and yield to them by not turning quickly in front of them.
* Always cross at a crosswalk or corner. If there isn’t a crosswalk, sign or signal, a pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.
* Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the side of the road facing traffic.
* Pedestrians should wear light-colored or reflective clothing.
* Don’t walk or run into the path of a vehicle so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.
Bicyclists and In-line Skaters:
* Obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings.
* Use hand signals for turns whether riding on a roadway, bike lane or bike path.
* Always wear a helmet, no matter what your age. Those under the age of 14 are required by law to wear an approved safety helmet.
* When riding at night, bicyclists are required to have a white front light visible at least 500 feet and a red or amber light visible to the rear for 300 feet.
* Always ride in the same direction as motorized traffic.
* Wear light-colored or reflective clothing.
Parents can be held responsible for traffic safety violations committed by their minor children.
* Always wear a helmet.
* Keep lights on at all times for greater safety.
* Don’t drive in a reckless manner and never ride impaired by alcohol or drugs.
* Don’t operate an ATV on public land or a highway unless it is specifically designated for ATV use, and allowed by a posted sign.
* Speeding is the number one contributing factor in motorcycle crashes. Please slow down and ride responsibly.
* Make sure your motorcycle is in safe operating condition.
* Always wear appropriate gear including a DOT-approved helmet.
* Never ride more than two abreast in a single lane.
* Always ride sober, as alcohol and drugs negatively affect an operator’s judgment.
* Enroll in a motorcycle rider education course to develop good basic rider techniques.
It’s tragic and unnecessary, but someone we know will likely die or be unnecessarily injured because they did not follow these safety tips. All users of the roadway should be alert and watch out for each other. It really is a matter of life and death.
For more information on the rules of the road, contact the New York State Police at 315.366.6032. Information is also available on the state police website at troopers.ny.gov and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee website at safeny.ny.gov.
Major Rodney W. Campbell is New York State Police Troop D Commander.