ST. MARYS — As spring sets in, a local police chief says motorists should be cognizant of the fact more vehicles will soon be hitting the road.
“It’s that time of year when we all have to be mindful and on the look out for more bikes, motorcycles and mopeds,” St. Marys Police Chief Greg Foxhoven said. “We all have to remind ourselves we share the road with these vehicles.”
Regarding bicyclists, Foxhoven said he has noticed a common misconception that could result in crashes.
“I think people confuse the rules for bikes and pedestrians,” Foxhoven said. “Pedestrians walk against the traffic but bikes are to ride with the traffic. That’s something we see all the time in the young and old. If you are on a bike, you have to follow the same rules as cars and travel in the same lane as the motoring public would do.”
Cyclists also must follow all traffic signals, which include stop signs and traffic lights. Failing to do so could lead to a crash, Foxhoven noted.
“We also encourage them to wear helmets,” Foxhoven said. “They also should make sure their bikes are in proper, working order and we encourage them to get a bike license so if it’s lost or stolen, it can help us in the recovery effort.”
Starting young riders out with good habits can help keep them safe while riding, Foxhoven said. In addition to encouraging parents to talk with their children, Foxhoven said the department’s bike patrol also helps spread the word about bike safety.
“The education starts in the home and parents should take the time to train them and educate them on safe riding habits,” Foxhoven said. “We still see kids riding double or pulling a skateboard behind them. We hope the bike patrol sets a good example for the kids.”
To further cement safe riding habits, members of the four-person bike patrol will soon head into classrooms to give presentations to students. Foxhoven said the programs are a fun and effective way to teach bike safety.
“We do bike safety classes and the Optimists will hold their annual bike rodeo and we will give out helmets,” Foxhoven said. “We also work with McDonald’s to hand out free ice cream cone certificates if we see kids wearing a helmet while riding. So we want to encourage them to use their helmets.”
Foxhoven also encouraged motorists to keep an eye out for younger riders who may not always be paying attention to the road.
“When they are 10 and 12-years-old, they are just out having fun with their friends and may not always be mindful of other vehicles,” Foxhoven said. “It’s just that time of year where we have to remind ourselves that we are not the only ones out there.”