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DMV: Bicycle-related accidents on the rise across commonwealth

'Both cyclists and drivers should practice defensive driving by staying focused and alert'

With bicycle-involved crashes on the rise across Virginia, the Department of Motor Vehicles is encouraging those on two wheels – and those on four or more – to look out for each other as they cohabitate on the road.

“Cyclists are some of our most vulnerable road users. We all share the responsibility of keeping them safe,” said DMV Commissioner Gerald Lackey. “Looking out for each other is key. Be visible and predictable as a cyclist, and respect bike lanes and pass with care as a motorist.” 

So far this year, there have been 160 bicycle-involved crashes on Virginia’s roadways, resulting in the deaths of nine bicyclists and injuries to 156 others, DMV officials said on May 30. This is a 125-percent increase in bicyclist-related fatalities compared to four last year at this time, they said.

“Both cyclists and drivers should practice defensive driving by staying focused and alert to the road and all surrounding traffic,” DMV officials said. “Anticipating what others may do, before they do it, allows you to better avoid a potential crash.”

Tips for bicyclists: 

·  Always wear a properly-fitted helmet. 

· Check your bike equipment before heading out. 

· Ride in the same direction as traffic. 

· Obey traffic signs, signals, and lane markings. 

· Wear equipment to protect you and make you more visible to others. 

  Tips for motorists: 

· Pass bicyclists on the road with care; allow at least three feet clearance.  

· Look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space. 

· Yield to bicyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals. 

· Look for bicyclists before making turns, either left or right. 

· Respect designated bicycle lanes; don’t use them for parking, passing or turning.