Parking Lot Safety
by John Allen
Most CRW members arrive at the ride start in a car. Bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians flow around the parking lot at the same time. On our century rides, which have a start time spanning a few hours (people arrive, sign in, and leave when ready), motorists enter the lot as cyclists leave. All this creates the potential for collisions.
There are several things we can do to keep the parking lot safe during ride starts:
- Arrive early. Latecomers can interfere with crowds gathered for the pre-ride talk and with departing bicyclists.
- Drive slowly, whether in your car or on your bike! (Did I have to say this?) Motor vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians travel in various directions in a parking lot. The traffic flow is far more complicated than on the road you just left.
- When setting up your bicycle, stay out of travel aisles.
- Follow the markings in the aisles when riding to the sign-up spot or to where the ride leader is making announcements. Avoid cutting between parked vehicles. It may be tempting to take shortcuts, but they can lead to a motorist or another bicyclist not seeing you as you arrive from an unexpected direction.
- Ride in the middle of the aisles between rows of parked cars. This gives you more time to avoid a car that backs out, or someone who walks or rides out. Also, you’ll be more visible.
- When exiting the parking lot, take the lane position appropriate for where you are going. For example, at the exit from the Bolton parking lot on Climb to the Clouds (a left turn), line up on the left side of the parking lot exit lane. A bicyclist making this turn from the right side of the driveway can force others out into the middle of the street after they have turned left.
- Ride leaders: Choose a location for your pre-ride talk that is near the exit from the parking lot, but that does not block motor traffic entering the lot. The best location will depend on the layout of the lot, and is a matter of judgment.
Have a safe parking lot experience and enjoy your ride!
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