Biking and walking safety stressed even with fewer cars on the road | Delaware First Media
Delaware Public Media

Biking and walking safety stressed even with fewer cars on the road

Apr 30, 2020

With driving down during the COVID-19 pandemic, those staying at home are biking and walking more to get exercise and keep busy.

 

But bicyclists and pedestrians are reminded to use common sense and follow the rules.

Gov. Carney’s stay-at-home order has kept most adults and kids at home since mid-March and with the weather getting nicer, they’re taking to trails, sidewalks, local roads to walk and bike around.

Bike Delaware Executive Director James Wilson says trail monitors report more people on bikes than usual at this time of year. He adds bike shops are seeing increased demand for sales and repairs.

Wilson urges those riding to do so safely.

“Don't bike at night, don't bike on DuPont Highway, Kirkwood Highway, Pulaski Highway, Coastal Highway, or Concord Pike," said Wilson. "Beyond that use common sense, if you're on a trail you know you're going to be safe but every once awhile that trail is going to cross the road well you know stop with both ways and you know make sure that it's safe to cross."

Other safety measures include wearing a helmet, making yourself visible, looking for hazards, using verbal and non-verbal communication.  And children should not ride alone.

DelDOT reports auto traffic is down statewide 40-to-50 percent on weekdays and 70-to-75 percent on weekends since the start of the pandemic, but AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Ken Grant says bicyclists and pedestrians can’t be complacent.

"We always encourage safety for bicyclists and pedestrians and anybody that's going out on a public roadway, but right now there could be a sense of the streets are much empty or so it should safer, but  this is actually the time to pay closer attention to your surroundings," said Grant.

Grant adds that drivers need to be aware of recent rule changes for bicyclists.

"Bicyclists can treat that stop sign more as a yield sign and so it's just something to be aware of both as a bicyclist and a motorist to not assume that a bicycle is going to necessarily come to a complete stop at an intersection," Grant said.

Delaware State Police say so far this year there have been no fatal accidents involving bicyclists - compared to one at this time last year. Nine pedestrians have died in accidents this year - while eight had died statewide at this time last year.