Sharing the road with bicyclists at Fermilab

Two wheels or four, let’s all reach the door, safely. Share the road. Image courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation

The warm weather brings many cyclists to Fermilab, increasing the chances of collisions with motorists. To minimize this risk, Fermilab’s ESH&Q Section and the Traffic Safety Subcommittee (TSS) urge everyone to be aware of this issue and follow the Illinois Rules of the Road. These rules apply to motorists and cyclists, and they are enforced at Fermilab.

Fermilab stresses to employees that they must watch for bicyclists and respect bicyclists’ rights to share the road. Fermilab has turned its attention to bicyclists because of complaints that some of them ride through stop signs without stopping or looking for oncoming traffic. There have also been complaints that some cyclists ride more than two abreast, taking up a full lane or more. The Illinois vehicle code (625ILCS 5/11-1505.1) states that “persons riding two abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.” Although riding two abreast is legal, the Illinois Vehicle Code also recommends riding single-file if possible. This is safer because it presents less chance of bicycles impeding traffic flow.

Impeding traffic can frustrate some motorists. But motorists should remember that driving a little slower for a few minutes beats taking a chance you may regret for life.

The Fermilab Community Advisory Board has said that cyclists impeding traffic has been an issue in the Fox Valley area as well as across the nation. Batavia and Kane County Forest Preserve police have ticketed bicyclists whose behavior puts others at risk, and Fermilab has issued tickets to bicyclists as well.

Many of the Community Advisory Board members say they bicycle through Fermilab recreationally or as part of racing clubs and would not find a safety campaign or increased enforcement offensive.

Fermilab promotes education and awareness through TSS Awareness Training, Fermilab Today, The Porcelain Press, Site Entry Safety Slogan signs, and the Take 5 posters and website. The Fermilab gate guards also come out periodically and stop bicyclists to advise them of the Illinois bicycle rules of the road.

If bicyclists and motorists comply with state laws, it will help keep the roadways safer for all.

For more information, visit the Traffic Safety Subcommittee Web page or Fermilab Security’s Traffic Safety page.

J.B. Dawson