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Bethany urges cyclist safety

The Daily Times: Bethany urges cyclist safety

With information effort in place since 2007, police begin to issue warnings

Jul 26, 2011 |

BETHANY BEACH -- In an effort to educate cyclists of bicycle laws and reduce the number of bike-related accidents, the Bethany Beach Police Department has started to issue warnings to violators.

Since 2007, the department has been involved with the state's bicycle safety initiative, in which checkpoints are set up to inform cyclists about laws and bicycle safety and to make sure bikes are in working order.

This year, the department has added an enforcement component and has handed out more than 200 warnings of infractions, according to Town Manager Cliff Graviet.

"Not everyone realizes that bicyclists are bound by the same motor vehicle laws that are applied to (drivers)," he said. "The warnings are processed and if the same cyclist is stopped again, then they are actually cited for the offense."

With more people using bicycles as their primary mode of transportation, it's important to educate, said Police Chief Michael Redmon. Along with the warnings, his officers are distributing brochures about bike safety, he said.

The most common violations have been for not riding with the flow of traffic, not stopping at stop signs and not using hand signals, he said.

"We take a proactive approach to pedestrian and bicycle safety," Redmon said. "We want to reduce bicycle-related crashes and make sure cyclists are aware they have to follow state and local bicycle laws."

In 2010, there were two fatal bicycle crashes in Sussex County and 40 injuries due to collisions, said Allison Kirk, spokeswoman for the Office of Highway Safety.

While there haven't been any fatalities within the town limits, Redmon said, there has been a decrease in bicycle-related crashes throughout the years, with six in 2008, five in 2009 and three last year.

"In all that we do, for bicycle safety, if we just save one life, then we've done our jobs," he said.

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