By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
As spring begins and the number of outside activities increases, police are urging bicycle riders and motorists alike to heed state laws and city ordinances dealing with cycling safety.
Enid Police Department Capt. Jack Morris said with warmer weather more children likely will be out riding bikes, but adults also are taking to the streets more for exercise.
Morris said during this time of year there will be motorcyclists, cyclists, joggers and pedestrians taking to the streets and walking trails.
He 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 has been adopted by the city of Enid.
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, pedestrians or animals and parked vehicles.
Morris also said bicyclists must obey traffic laws, the same as motor vehicles.
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, Morris urges all bicyclists to use proper protective equipment when riding.
“Anytime you ride, you should wear a helmet,” Morris 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 on roadways, and to be aware of increased traffic, pedestrian or otherwise.
With the popularity of the Enid Trail System, Morris warned motorists to watch for pedestrians crossing major roadways while on the trail.
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,” Morris said.
He also said motorists and pedestrians need to be more aware downtown as the number of events increases, such as games at David Allen Memorial Ballpark or First Fridays festivities.
“You have to be careful when going downtown during events,” Morris said, noting there often is heavy foot traffic during such events.
However, Morris also said it was up to pedestrians to obey the law, too, by using crosswalks and not crossing from in between parked cars.
Morris said with nicer weather, motorist should be aware of increased motorcycle traffic.
“This is the time of the year when we start having poker runs and seeing more motorcycles,” he said. “The motorcycle riders who’ve been cooped up all winter are ready to get out on the roads.”
He said motorists, and motorcyclists, should drive defensively and pay attention to joggers and pedestrians that may be on the roads and also pay attention to one another.