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Staying safe while using New York's Bike Share program

A great deal of controversy has colored the first few months of New York's Citi Bike operation. On the one hand, an increase in cyclists is good for the city's green transportation agenda and the program allows more New Yorkers to experience the city in unique ways. On the other hand, the already crowded and perilous streets and sidewalks of New York are adjusting a bit too slowly to the new influx of cyclists for safety-minded individuals.

In order to avoid an increased number of devastating bicycle accidents, cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike must take precautions while continuing to adjust to the presence of the Citi Bike program on NYC streets. Each of these populations must be held accountable for its contribution to increased safety risks currently leading to various related accidents.

First, it is important for each population to understand the rules of the road in regards to contact with other populations. For example, if pedestrians wait to cross the street on the street itself, bikes cannot safely pass and collisions result. If cyclists decide to ride on the sidewalks, pedestrians cannot travel safely and collisions result. If motorists fail to yield to pedestrians and cyclists alike when required to, collisions result. It is important for everyone to understand the law's expectations of them in order to promote safety overall.

Second, it is important for cyclists in particular to take proper precautions while riding. Not all New Yorkers traveling by foot, vehicle or bike will have a solid understanding of how to avoid accidents. Therefore, cyclists need to be proactive in keeping themselves safe. Cyclists should wear helmets, reflective clothing or tape when riding at night and proper footwear. Failure to outfit yourself properly can result in far more significant injuries in the event of a collision.

Source: CBS New York, "Medical Experts Weigh In With Their Citi Bike Safety Tips," July 11, 2013

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