Bicycles are legally considered "vehicles" on Washington’s roadways. That means bicyclists must obey the rules of the road like drivers of any other vehicle and must be treated as equal users by all other vehicles. The best way to avoid accidents is to be prepared and be aware of other vehicles around you.
Here are some safety tips to think about as a rider in the Chelan Century Challenge or Chelan Cycle de Vine:
- Obey the directions of the guides’ positioned along the course. They are there to help insure your safety.
- Obey traffic signs and signals - Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles.
- Never ride against traffic - Washington State law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.
- Follow lane markings - Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.”
- Don’t pass on the right - Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
- Scan the road behind you - Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving.
- Keep both hands ready to brake - You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since brakes are less efficient when wet.
- Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones – All riders must wear a helmet. Never wear headphones while riding a bicycle.
- Use hand signals - Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection.
- All riders must wear an ANSI or Snell approved helmet
- Ride in the middle of the lane in slower traffic - Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic.
- Choose the best way to turn left – signal to move into the left turn lane and then turn left. Or alternatively ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
- Make eye contact with drivers - Assume that other drivers don't see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver which might pose a threat to your safety.
- Look out for road hazards - Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, sand, rocks, pot holes or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.