Police promoting bicycle safety

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There's a constant battle for space on the roadways between drivers and bicyclists. Now there's a new effort by local police to get both sides to share the road.

Drivers usually think they have the right of way and bicyclists think they're the ones with the right of way. Richmond and VCU Police are teaming up to set the record straight. Both bicycles and motor vehicles have to follow the same rules.

Mike Feduniewicz is like a lot of VCU students - he rides his bike to class every day.

"I don't have a car," Feduniewicz said. "This is my only way to get around."

He knows firsthand how tricky it can be to get around the busy streets in the Fan.

"I've seen a lot of instances where if I didn't look out for myself and I didn't take that second look, I might have been in some trouble," he said.

It's people like Mike VCU and Richmond Police are trying to help. Lt. Robert Marland is one of several police officers that spent Friday afternoon handing out safety flyers.

"It's a matter of sharing the road," Marland said. "Bicycles on the road have every right to be on the road and motorists need to yield to them."

By law, drivers must give bicyclists at least two feet of space when passing. But bicyclists need to do more too. Bicyclists should yield to pedestrians, stop at traffic lights and ride with the flow of traffic.

Bicyclists need to pay more attention too. You've probably heard of distracted driving but distracted riding is also a problem.

"They're talking on the phone," Marland said. "They're listening to music, they're not paying attention and they just walk straight out into the middle of the intersection without paying attention."

Many bicyclists admit there's more they could be doing to keep themselves safe on the road.

"Sometimes there's a lot of traffic and it can be congested so you definitely have to be safe," Feduniewicz said. "(Then again I'm not wearing a) helmet, so I should probably read the rules."

Nearly 90 pedestrians and bicyclists died and more than 600 bicyclists were injured on Virginia roadways last year.

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