SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Riding season is here, now that the weather is getting warmer.
Every year, the Springfield police department sees accidents from both cyclists and drivers, because people aren’t fully aware of what the city laws are for bicyclists.
KOLR10 spoke with the police department and the city of Springfield to clarify some of the confusion.
The police department and the city clarified whether or not bikers are allowed to use the main roads, if they can use cellphones, and some other rules people may not be aware of.
But the most important message they both want to get out… Is just to be mindful to each other on the road.
“It works best if we all treat each other with respect,” said officer Michael Walker with the Springfield Police Department, “always remember that the cars are bigger than you are, it’s more important to be alive than to be right sometimes.”
Walker said bikers do have the same rights as vehicles and they are considered a car when they’re on the roads, “the only difference is unless there’s a sign that says the bike can take the full lane, by city code and state law, the bicyclist has to be as far to the right as possible.”
“Bicyclists do have a right to be there on the roadway, so just making sure that they’re yielding to each other, making sure that automobiles are leaving space for bicyclists as they’re passing them,” said Derrick Estell, Engineer I at the public works traffic operations division at the city of Springfield.
Estell said now is the time to start watching out for bikers, “it’s nice and it starts to warm up and we see a lot more people out on the road, so this would be the prime time of the year that we really want to stress bicycle safety.”
If there is a bike lane, cyclists are expected to use it unless you’re making a lefthand turn.
“They can merge over just like a car would,” explained Walker, “signal and merge over.”
And even though helmets are not required by law, it’s highly recommended.
Walker said, “before I worked for the police department, I worked as a security guard at cox er, and it was amazing how many people came into the er whether it be from bicycles or ATVs or motorcycles, what have you, that would’ve gone home that night instead of going to the hospital if they had just been wearing a helmet.”
It’s also recommended that you stay off of your cellphone.
“Because it’s an activity that you have to be a little bit more aware of and aware of your surroundings, so we would certainly discourage people using their phones while riding a bicycle,” Estell said.
There is a map on the city’s website if you want to be more informed of what roads you should take.
For the map, click here.