How bicyclists and drivers can keep each other safe - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How bicyclists and drivers can keep each other safe

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50% of car vs bike crashes are caused by cyclists. 50% of car vs bike crashes are caused by cyclists.

TRI-CITIES, WA-  Mike Watkins, with the League of American Bicyclists explained what bicyclists can do to avoid accidents and injuries. 

The weather has warmed up and more people may be headed outdoors, but with that, comes safety concerns.  It may seem like common sense, but often times a reminder about things both drivers and cyclists should do to avoid accidents, is needed.  

Mike Watkins, a certified cyclist instructor, talked about the five layers of safety for riders.  He said nationwide only about 17% of crashes occur between a car and a bike, and the line is right down the middle for who is at fault.  Here are the five layers of safety: 1. have bike control  2. follow the rules  3. lane position or discouraging others' mistakes  4. avoidance  5. passive safety, for example wearing a helmet and other protective gear.

"Cyclists fair best when they behave and are treated like a motor vehicle," said Watkins.

If they do that, he said everyone can be on the same page. Watkins also suggests to make yourself noticeable.

"When you're visible, you don't tend to get hit by cyclists, run into pedestrians, and/or hit vehicles," said Watkins.

That includes wearing the proper clothing and even using reflective gear such as lights.  There are also things cars can do.

"The big thing is, using your turn signals to let the bicyclists know what you're doing.  Also, make sure you're checking your side mirrors as well before you make turns.  Just make sure there's no bike or pedestrian traffic coming up," said Officer Aaron Hamel, Kennewick Police Department.

Watkins said cyclists should not only watch for cars.

"If you're constantly only worried about cars, then you could ignore or not be aware of a threat that's more likely to cause you to fall or more likely to cause you injury," said Watkins.

Another thing to know is the "ABC Quick Check" for your bike.  A- for air, B- for brakes, C- for chain and crank, Quick to make sure the wheel is secure, and overall just checking out the bike.

"We have a very vibrant cycling community in the Tri-Cities.  It turns out that the more people who are cycling and the better prepared they are to cycle, the more enjoyment they'll get out of it, and it's a great sport and something you can do for a lifetime," said Watkins.

For more information on local classes for cyclists, go to