Kentucky Says Roads Are for Cars, Cyclists and Pedestrians

A Kentucky Department of Transportation fact sheet has a little fun with the serious topic of cyclist and pedestrian safety while giving drivers tips for keeping pedestrians safe.

Note the tips use two definitions of “pedestrian” lurking in state statutes. In our insurance laws, a pedestrian is anyone “not actually operating, riding in or upon, entering, or alighting from a ‘kind of motor vehicle’.”  In our motor vehicle laws, pedestrian means “any person afoot or in a wheelchair.”

DOT recommends respect and etiquette

The state reminds drivers that much as cars have a right to be on the road and in the right-of-way, so do pedestrians and cyclists. Naturally, pedestrians and cyclists only have that right in certain limited circumstances, but the same goes for cars.

For example, according to statute, if a cyclist finds they do not have enough room to ride to the right of traffic, Kentucky allows them to ride closer to or even in the traffic lane.

The DOT fact sheet calls for respect for human-powered travelers due to the positive impact the Department of Transportation says they have “with each revolution of their wheels or each step.”

The last step in parallel parking is alertness

A common source of serious injuries among bicyclists is being “doored” by drivers as they exit a car after parallel parking. The DOT warns drivers to use the rear-view mirrors and turn around to look before opening the car door.

A cyclist cannot easily tell if a driver is about to intrude into their path, but a driver stands a good chance of seeing cyclists before injuring them.

Rights and wrongs of turning and honking

Injuries and deaths among bicyclists and pedestrians often involve motorists making right-hand turns.

Trying to race a cyclist to an intersection in time for a right turn before they arrive may cause a collision with the cyclist and distract the driver from noticing pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Finally, the DOT warns not to honk at cyclists or pedestrians without a good reason. Car horns are louder outside than inside a car and in the chaotic and dangerous atmosphere of a city street, a horn can distract cyclists and pedestrians from managing their safety among multiple threats.