As Vail continues to grow, we also see a growing number of cyclists sharing our scenic roadways. While welcoming the growth to our community, we should recognize the importance of traffic safety. In 2015, more than 1,000 deaths and nearly 500,000 injuries due to car-bicycle collisions occurred in the U.S. Tucson has already reported 206 car-bicycle collisions this year, and some of those were in Vail.
As a community, let’s take responsible precautions to keep both drivers and cyclists safe. Safety tips for drivers:
- Look to the right and behind, before turning right on red.
- Drive defensively when approaching a bicyclist. They may make a quick movement to avoid a road hazard.
- Allow bicyclists at least 3 feet when passing to avoid creating a draft that causes a cyclist to swerve.
- Avoid passing a bicyclist to turn right on a quickly approaching turn. Passing and then slowing down can cause the bicyclist to T-bone your vehicle.
- No texting or distracted driving.
Safety tips for cyclists:
- Wear a helmet. Eighty-five percent of brain injuries can be avoided by wearing a helmet.
- Share the road. Arizona state law only allows two riders side-by-side.
- Stay alert. Use your eyes and ears to observe road hazards.
- Ride with the flow of traffic. Only pedestrians should face oncoming traffic.
- Be visible. Wear reflective clothing, use a white headlight and red taillight, and avoid vehicle blind spots at stoplights.
- Signal. It is acceptable to extend the left arm to signal a left turn and the right arm for a right-hand turn.
Arvie Webster, MSN, FNP-C, CEN, is a certified, family nurse practitioner, providing care at the TMCOne office of the TMC Rincon Health Campus.