Utah is home to many beautiful national parks. Many of these parks allow bicyclists to share the road with motor vehicles. Considering that most national parks have two-lane roads without shoulders or dedicated bike lanes this can get incredibly dangerous for cyclists in the summer months when tourists flock to the parks. Many tourists have large RVs or campers and take up a large amount of the road. There may even be shuttles operated by the park itself that have to share the road with bikes.
What Can I Do to Stay Safe?
There are a few steps you can take to ensure that you will not get hit by a motor vehicle, bus, or shuttle while biking in a national park. Here’s what you can do to remain safe on the road:
Ride as far to the right as possible
Since most park roads don’t have shoulders you will likely still have cars that need to pass you by driving in the oncoming lane. As long as you are as far right as you can get (and some of those mountain switchbacks can have sheer drop-offs immediately to the right) the car behind you will wait for a good time to pass.
Do not try to pass motor vehicles on the left
Unless a motor vehicle is completely stopped or deliberately going slow, try not pass a moving car, bus, or shuttle. You may be able to see around cars, but buses, shuttles, and RVs block a lot of your view of oncoming traffic.
Wear a helmet
This one should go without saying, but make sure you protect the most vulnerable part of your body if you do get hit by a motor vehicle.
Remain single file if traveling with a group
Unless you are overtaking another bicycle, always remain single file. Not only is it courteous to passing motor vehicles, but if two or three people ride side-by-side, the person closest to traffic will be at the most risk of injury.
Pull over and stop to let larger vehicles pass
This is especially true if you are biking on narrow roads with limited views. If a large vehicle tries to pass you and ends up hitting someone in an oncoming lane, you will likely be caught up in the accident as well. In addition, some shuttles are not allowed to pass bicycles and so pulling over and stopping would be a courtesy to the park service.
Try to ride in the early morning or evening
There’s less traffic at dawn and dusk. Not only will the day’s heat be nonexistent, you will have clear roads with little to no need for pulling over and stopping.
I’ve Been Injured While Bicycling in a National Park
If you’ve been hit by a motor vehicle while biking in a national park you will likely have multiple injuries that need tending to. You are also entitled to fair compensation for your injuries from the driver that hit you. The Advocates are experienced cycling accident attorneys who can help get you back to your pre-injury biking status. Your first consultation is always free with no obligation. Give us a call today!