In Bicycling, Public Health, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Walking

Fall is here and we already had a taste of the nice, crisp mornings and evenings, maybe a little too cool for some of us who like it a little warmer. We are now looking forward to seeing the beautiful fall foliage and enjoy the fresh fall fruits and veggies. What we are not really looking forward to are the shorter days and earlier and earlier sunsets. Whether you are working from home and trying to take a walk or bike ride at the end of the day, or commuting to work, we will all need to adjust a little. Driving, walking, and biking in the dark bring about a few challenges, but with a few safety reminders, hopefully you will be safe and enjoy the crisp fall evenings. Here are some tips to stay safe: 

When walking or biking: 

  1. Make sure you have bright/light clothing, reflective gear, a glow stick, or a reflective band. 
  2. Cyclists must have lights on the front and rear of their bike. It’s safer and the law! 
  3. Pedestrians can also carry a flashlight and should always use the sidewalk when available. 
  4. Remember – pedestrians walk against traffic, bicyclists in the same direction with traffic.  
  5. Stay alert when walking and biking, do not assume a driver can see you.  
  6. Do not walk and bike distracted.  
  7. Remember to social distance and wear a mask when social distancing is not possible. 

When driving: 

  1. Be careful when the road is covered in wet leaves, they may cause your car to slip. 
  2. Watch for deer, they are very active between dawn and dusk this time of year. October through January is deer breeding season which can mean more deer encounters on the road. To avoid collision be aware of your surroundings, especially during dusk and dawn, pay attention to “deer crossings” signs. Look well down the road and far off to each side. At night, use your high-beam lights if possible to illuminate the road’s edges. Be especially watchful in areas near woods and water. If you see one deer, there may be several others nearby. If you see a deer on or near the roadway and think you have time to avoid hitting it, reduce your speed, tap your brakes to warn other drivers, and sound your horn. Deer tend to fixate on headlights, so flashing them may cause the animal to move. If there’s no vehicle close behind you, brake hard.  And if the encounter does lead to collision, don’t swerve to avoid the deer; your risk of injury may be greater if you do. Hit it, but control the vehicle. Report the accident to the police. 
  3. Pay particular care for bicyclists and pedestrians who can be more difficult to see during low light hours. More people than ever are out, taking a walk or going for a bike ride, so pay attention, respect speed limits, and do not drive distracted.  
  4. Adjust your lights to low beam when driving through fog. 
  5. Always wear your seatbelt and do not use electronic devices while driving. 

Have a Safe and Happy Fall! 

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