Anyone on a bicycle should remember to be considerate of nearby pedestrians and learn bike safety when traveling around others.

Anyone on a bicycle should remember to be considerate of nearby pedestrians and learn bike safety when traveling around others.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Troy officials warn bicyclists to be safe when traveling near pedestrians

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published May 11, 2023


TROY — The weather is getting warmer, and people are heading back outside.

Among the best ways to spend a sunny day in warm weather is bicycling, but that means knowing the proper etiquette and safety.

As Troy’s trail system has begun to grow in the last few years, that means more pedestrians and bikers have had to share space. That can lead to accidents.

“I am a resident living near the new walking/bike path at Jaycee Park in Troy,” said Troy resident Susan McCarty. “It is wonderfully enjoyed by pedestrians and bikers. However, bicyclers of all ages are at risk of mowing down pedestrians. They don’t appear concerned about warning of their approach, much less endangering walkers. There are protocols for alerting people to your approach without scaring the living daylights out of them. Hard-of-hearing people do not hear a feeble bell ring. Even able-bodied people don’t want to be mowed down.”

McCarty said that many seniors in the community are avoiding the paths and sidewalks altogether because they are afraid of being injured by someone on a bike. Fortunately, there are some basic safety measures people can take to ensure that they and those around them are safe while they venture out into the community on a bicycle.

“We encourage people to let others know you are there,” said Sgt. Brian Warzecha of the Traffic Safety Unit of the Troy Police Department. “If you are coming up on a passenger or someone moving slower, just announce, ‘on your left,’ or something similar. Let people know if you see some glass or other obstructions.”

There are some basic safety measures and etiquette all people should remember when riding a bike.

“When you’re traveling on paths and trails, the first thing to remember is to be courteous to others,” said Warzecha. “Be safe by wearing helmets and other gear. Stay to the right-hand side when you are riding. Give them as much space as possible. Ride single file so you aren’t taking up the whole trail. If pedestrians are nearby, they have the right of way. … Bikes are allowed on trails and sidewalks, but people do need to be careful.”

Warzecha said there have been few reported accidents on the trails, and most complaints he has heard regard the possibility of accidents or concern over what types of vehicles can and cannot go on trails.

“The only real issues we’ve heard on our trails so far are some bike enthusiasts worried about the e-bikes,” he said. “They are assisted bikes, which can help them up inclines and so forth, but they are bicycles, so they are allowed to be on the paths. Some bicyclists don’t like them, but they are allowed; it’s just some people not liking change. There’s nothing they need to do differently. The only other complaints we’ve had are some minor vandalism by minors.”

His hope is that people will take the time to be considerate of others while outdoors and to remember that a tiny bit of common sense and self-awareness can go a long way to making everyone feel safe while using trails and sidewalks.

“You can find a variety of resources online about hand signals and how to announce your presence and so forth,” Warzecha remarked. “Keep in mind that despite us not thinking of bikes being as dangerous as a car, you are larger and moving faster when on a bike, so you need to take that into account when around others.”