Drivers beware: Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure cyclists bike into Hamilton

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

Some 1,200 cyclists with the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure pedaled their way into Hamilton today and will be staying in the area until Friday.

The city of Hamilton is reminding motorists to drive smart as they’ll be sharing the road with people on bicycles and other self-powered velocipedes.

In Ohio, bicycles are considered vehicles, meaning all traffic laws that apply to cars also apply to bikes. City officials said Hamilton’s roads are meant to be shared and wearing a helmet is mandatory.

Prior to taking the road, cyclists must ensure their bikes are road-ready, including having the required white light on the front and a red light on the rear. If the rear light does not double as a reflector, a red reflector is required.

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Cyclists should also equip bikes with a bell or another audible device, and they should make sure their brakes are in working order.

In commercial districts, bikes are not permitted on the sidewalks, except for parking at one of the city’s sculptural bike racks. In residential areas, bikes and e-bikes (with the motor off) are permitted to be on the sidewalks and shared-use paths. But cyclists on sidewalks and paths must yield to pedestrians.

City officials also advise that sidewalks are usually for the younger crowd so adult cyclists may want to keep on the streets or bike lanes.

When riding on Hamilton’s streets, cyclists are advised to ride with the traffic on the right half of the roads. While bike lanes are provided in some areas, cyclists are not required to use them. Two bikes can ride side-by-side in a single lane. And if the road is narrow or filled with hazards, cyclists can take the middle of the lane for safety.

Remember the signals when changing lanes or turning:

  • extend your left hand out to the side for a left turn,
  • left hand up or right hand out to the side for a right turn, and
  • left hand down for stopping or slowing down.

Drivers must be alert and patient, keeping an eye out for cyclists, especially at intersections and in bike lanes. Motorists must pass giving cyclists at least 3 feet of clearance, and only pass when it’s safe.

Other safety protocols motorists should be advised of include:

  • Check blind spots and mirrors before turning or changing lanes, as cyclists can be hard to see;
  • Yield to cyclists at intersections and give them the right of way when they have it;
  • Be cautious when opening your car door to prevent “dooring” accidents;
  • Respect bike lanes by never driving or parking in them;
  • Use turn signals early so cyclists can anticipate your moves;
  • In poor weather conditions, slow down and give cyclists extra space;
  • E-bikes might travel faster than traditional bikes and motorists should adjust their driving accordingly;
  • Stay calm and courteous, as road rage and aggressive driving endanger everyone.

Biking is not just a mode of transportation, city officials said, it’s a fun, healthy, and eco-friendly way to explore Hamilton.

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