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Safety tips for bicyclists and pedestrians

Washington State is a great place for people who enjoy being active outdoors or for utilizing bicycles as a means of transportation to and from work, school or other locations. However, it is important for anyone on a bike or on foot to always be aware of the potential risks around them so they can remain safe.

According to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the State of Washington experienced the death of 63 bicyclists in the five years spanning 2013 to 2017. In that same time period, 394 pedestrians lost their lives in accidents. King County was the location of 16 of those bicyclist deaths and 113 of the pedestrian deaths.

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center notes that for both cyclists and pedestrians, being visible is a primary way of improving their safety when on the roads or even on designated paths or trails. Some people may think that a head lamp or other illumination device is all about allowing the cyclist or pedestrian to see but it can be vital to others seeing - and avoiding - them. Wearing bright colors and reflective gear even during the daylight hours also provides enhanced visibility to motorists. 

Bicyclists should always travel with the flow of traffic in the street, in the bike lane or in a bike path. Pedestrians should use sidewalks or paths when present but, when not, they should walk opposite the flow of traffic. People on bikes should pay special attention to parked cars to watch for a potential door opening that may cause an obstruction for them.

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