In addition to working with the city on bicycle specific infrastructure and planning fun, community building rides, IndyCog is dedicated to making Indianapolis a safer environment for cyclists and motorists alike. Brought to you by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, IndyCog's Riders in the Know program provides our community with safety education, to ensure a harmonious relationship between cyclists and motorists. Our mission through the Riders in the Know program is educate our community on bicycle safety, creating a stress-free, healthy, enjoyable and most of all safe experience for cyclists in the Circle City.
The easiest way to help spread our message is to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. By simply liking, sharing and retweeting messages with the hashtag #RitK_IN, you are helping us increase the reach of our safety messaging. A more hands on way to help IndyCog and bicycle safety in our city is to participate in our Riders in the Know Ambassador Training Program.
Our goal is to train 15 Ambassadors who can represent IndyCog and Riders in the Know at various events around the city. If you are interested in this opportunity,please send an email to email@example.com.
The Riders in the Know education efforts are focused around four concepts we found that caused a high rate of incidents involving bicyclists in Indianapolis. By educating the community on these problems, we hope to decrease the amount of bicyclists involved in incidents. The four focus areas are:
Riding against traffic
Riding at night without lights
Riding on sidewalks
Not obeying stop signs or signals at intersections
1) Riding Against Traffic
You see this all the time in Indianapolis--people riding bikes against the flow of traffic. People often mix up pedestrian and cyclist rules. Yes, if you are a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk, it is best practice to walk on that side of the street where you are facing traffic. This helps keep pedestrians aware of oncoming traffic. What most people forget to understand is that bicyclists are not pedestrians! According to Indiana law, bicyclists are considered to be vehicles--cars do not drive on the wrong side of the road, so neither should bicyclists.
Aside from it being the law, riding against traffic poses a much more dangerous situation if a cyclist were to get into an incident with a car--a head on collision.
Motorists approaching wrong-way cyclists head-on often cannot react in time to avoid a collision. Even if a cyclist is wearing a helmet, a head on collision can produce fatal results.
2) Riding at Night Without Lights
According to Indiana State Law, Section 9, when operated at night, a bicycle must be equipped with "a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front" and "a lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet to the rear or a red reflector." Lights are crucial in making sure you are visible to others on the road. Motorists, pedestrians and other cyclists need to be aware of your presence in the road from at least 500 feet away so there is enough time to adjust their position and behavior to avoid incident. The white front light and red back light are the only legal lighting requirements; however, we highly suggest you deck your bike and helmet out with reflective sticker to ensure optimal visibility while riding at night. As part of our grant funding, IndyCog has created bright, reflective stickers in a variety of sizes that are FREE to you.
3) Riding on Sidewalks
This is one of the most debated topics of riding a bicycles in Indianapolis. While riding on the sidewalk IS NOT illegal, there are numerous reasons why it is safer to ride in the street. By riding on the sidewalk, cyclists decrease their visibility to motorists making an incident more likely. Motorists are not expecting to see cyclists on the sidewalks, often pulling out of driveways without looking to the right. In addition, by riding on the sidewalk, cyclists increase their risk of coming in contact with pedestrians. If riding on a street still seems nerve-racking, stay tuned for Bike Skills 101 courses IndyCog plans on hosting with a Licensed Certified Instructor in the summer. If you are interested in taking this future course, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4) Not Obeying Stop Signs/Signals at Intersections
According to the a 2010 US DOT report, 33% of all bicycle-related fatalities in the United States happened at intersections. While riding, it is a cyclist's biggest priority to communicate with motorists and act in a predictable manner. In our city, bicycles are considered vehicles. If you were driving in a car, you would not run a stop sign because this would be extremely dangerous with regards to cross traffic. The same goes for bicycles, and perhaps to a higher degree. Obey the rules of the road.
If you are a local business and would like to distribute our FREE safety collateral to your clients, employees, or friends, click here.
If you would like a Riders in the Know ambassador to come to your business (ex. Health fair, Lunch & Learn, etc), click here.
Do you want to be a Rider in the Know? Help spread INDYCOG's safety messaging by downloading one of these email banners.