By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
As summer begins and the number of outside activities increase, police are urging bicycle riders and motorists alike to heed state laws and city ordinances dealing with cycling safety.
Enid Police Department Sgt. Dustin Albright said with school out, more children likely will be out riding bikes, but adults also are taking to the streets more for exercise, economic or environmental reasons.
Albright reminded drivers Oklahoma law requires vehicles passing a bicycle in the same direction to leave a distance of no less than 3 feet. A similar ordinance was adopted by the city of Enid and went into effect Nov. 1.
Bicyclists also must follow Oklahoma laws and city ordinances. Law requires bicyclists to “ride as close as is safe to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.” The law allows for exceptions, such as debris or surface hazards, pedestrian or animals and parked vehicles.
Albright also said bicyclists must obey traffic laws, the same as a motor vehicle.
Enid city ordinances prohibit the riding of bicycles on sidewalks, passing other vehicles between lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction and riding more than two abreast. Bicyclists are required to only use bicycle paths when provided and not the roadway. City ordinance also prohibits bicyclists from carrying packages that prevent the rider from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars.
Ordinance also requires bicycles to be equipped with a front lamp when in use at any time from one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise. The same rules also require a back lamp on bicycles.
Bicycles also must be equipped with a red reflector and a brake or brakes. The ordinance also prohibits bicycles from being equipped with a siren, or any person riding a bike from using a siren.
Although helmets are not required, Albright urges all bicyclist to use proper protective equipment when riding.
“Anytime you ride, you should wear a helmet,” Albright said. “Kids should always be in a helmet, even if they’re just riding in the neighborhood.”
Motorists also are urged to exercise caution in neighborhoods and be aware of children riding nearby.
“With school out, there will be a lot more kids,” Albright said.
With the Enid Trail System open, Albright warned more people will use the crosswalks that intersect with major roadways in the coming months.
City ordinance prohibits pedestrians from entering roadways at areas other than controlled and marked crosswalks. Ordinances also require motorists to yield to pedestrians using the crosswalks.
The ordinance states, “... the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as be in danger.”
Vehicles must yield to vehicles stopped for pedestrians in crosswalks.
“Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle,” the ordinance states.
By city ordinance, pedestrians are required to always walk on a sidewalk, and not on the roadway, if a sidewalk is available. If a pedestrian must walk in the roadway, he or she is required to walk facing traffic and at the edge of the road.
“We need to be very alert for trail crossings on Van Buren, Johnson and wherever the trail crosses a major street,” Albright said. “Sometimes we forget we have those features in Enid.”
In relation to the Trail System, crosswalk signs and markings have been placed in the 1900 block of West Rupe and 1300 block of South Cleveland. There also are crosswalks in the 1300 and 2000 blocks of South Van Buren, where motorists are required to stop for pedestrians.
The Indian Hills area also has roads that meet with or cross the trail. Those roads are Parkway, Cheyenne, Johnson and Hayes and signs and markers have been placed in those areas as well.
He also said motorists and pedestrians need to be more aware downtown as summertime events increase in number, with First Fridays and games at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
“You have to be careful when going downtown during events,” Albright said, noting there often is heavy foot traffic during such events.
However, Albright also noted it was up to pedestrians to obey the law too, by using crosswalks and not crossing from in between parked cars.