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Bike Safety

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BILLINGS -

You may have noticed more people out and about because of the warmer, spring-like weather. There are many great bike trails in our area.

It's great weather for outdoor activities like walking along the rims or biking. But bicyclists and drivers should be careful when sharing the road.

"Just being aware and just trying to be as predictable as possible on their bikes, so using those hand signals and merging into traffic when it's necessary,” said Kristi Drake, BikeNet’s executive director.

While there are bike lanes, motorists should be cautious while driving, like making turns or when a bike lane ends.

"A lot of times a motorist will not know that you're there because they may have other cars in front of them,” Drake said. “The best thing you can possibly do is when you're ending a bike lane and crossing an intersection, you need to merge into traffic early enough that you're not merging in the intersection but well beforehand."

Bicyclists also have to follow the same laws drivers have to follow.

"Going through red lights, things like that, just because you're riding a bicycle doesn't give you that authority to do that," said Lt. Kevin Iffland, Billings Police Department.

Children under 16 are required to wear helmets and police highly recommend everyone wear helmets for safety.

"In seeing some of the injuries, whether it is motorcycle or bicycle injuries, a lot of head trauma out there when bicyclists are involved in an accident,” Iffland said.

Most of all, biking isn't just fun. It’s a good way to get a work out in on your way to work.

"Commuting isn't that big of a deal,” Drake said. “All you need is a bike and a helmet and maybe a little bit of water and the desire to do it."

"Lot of bike lanes around the city, a lot of bike trails that are great places to get out and enjoy the nicer weather that we're starting to have here in Billings,” Iffland said.

If you would like more tips on bicyclist safety, BikeNet is holding a commuter workshop this Wednesday at HDR Engineering at noon.

For more information, click on connections.

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