Union Township Police Department

 

Bicycles are legally considered "vehicles" on Pennsylvania's roadways.

That means bicyclists must obey the rules of the road like drivers of any other vehicle and must be treated as equal users by all other vehicles.

The best way to avoid collisions is to be prepared and be aware of other vehicles around you. Avoid common bicyclist errors and common motorist errors committed around bicyclists.



Here are some safety tips for biking in Pennsylvania:

 

1 - Obey traffic signs and signals - Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles.

2 - Never ride against traffic - Motorists aren't looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.

3 - Follow lane markings - Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.”

4 - Don’t pass on the right - Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.

5 - Scan the road behind you - Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.

6 - Keep both hands ready to brake - You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since brakes are less efficient when wet.

7 - Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones - Always wear a helmet. Never wear a headphone while riding a bike.

8 - Dress for the weather - In rain wear a poncho or waterproof suit. Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear bright colored clothing.

9 - Use hand signals - Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection.

10 - Ride in the middle of the lane in slower traffic - Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic.

11 - Choose the best way to turn left – There are two choices: (1) Like an auto: signal to move into the left turn lane and then turn left. (2) Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.

12 - Make eye contact with drivers - Assume that other drivers don't see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver which might pose a threat to your safety.

13 - Look out for road hazards - Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, sand or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.

14 - Use lights at night - The law requires a white headlight (visible from at least 500 feet ahead) and a rear reflector or taillight (visible up to 300 feet from behind).

15 - Keep your bike in good repair - Adjust your bike to fit you and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly. Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself.

 

Bicycle Theft Prevention

 

1.  Always, always, always, lock your bike, even if you're just leaving it for a moment   Lock it in a visible and well-lit area.
 
2.  Lock it in a location where there are other bikes. The chances are better that there will be a bike with a less secure lock than yours. Thieves will usually go for the easiest target
 
3.  Always lock your bike's frame and wheels with a high-quality, modern U-lock (with a disc/flat key). 
 
4.  Remove all detachable items like lights, bags and quick release parts and take them with you
 
5.  Lock to a bike rack, or firmly affixed (bolts covered in concrete) parking meter or sign pole - these are the most secure places.
Be careful that your bike cannot be lifted over the top of the object to which it is locked
 
6.  Record your bike's serial number. Take a photo of you and your unlocked bike. Keep the receipt. All will help you identify the bike.
7.  Always lock through the frame and a wheel. Add a cable, cable lock, or second U-lock to lock the second wheel. Don’t lock your bike to itself (i.e. put the lock through the wheel and frame only). Lock it to something. Otherwise, it can be easily lifted and carried away.
 
8.  When using a U-lock, position your bike frame and wheels so that you fill or take up as much of the open space within the U-portion of the lock as possible.
The tighter the lock up, the harder it is for a thief to use tools to attack your lock.
 
9.  Always position a U-lock so that the key way is facing down towards the ground. Don’t position the lock close to the ground. This makes it easier for a thief to attack it.
 
10.  Buy the most expensive lock you can afford. U-locks are strong and better ones come with theft warranties. Only buy a U-lock with a flat or disc key. Cylindrical keyed locks are more easily picked.
 
11.  Beware of locking your bike to defective poles that are loosely bolted down and can easily be removed.
Avoid locking to private property. Store your bike inside if space is available.
 
12.  Lock your bike when keeping it in a garage or on a porch.  Don't leave a bike on the front lawn overnight or at a school.  Take your bike home! 
 
13.  Learn about the lock manufacturer's warranty and product replacement policy.
 
14.  If your bike is stolen, look on Craigslist.  Many stolen bicycles are found days after the theft posted for sale on Craigslist.  If you do see your bike, call the Union Township Police at 724-652-5203. 
Don’t attempt to recover it yourself. 
 
15.  If your bike is stolen, call the Union Township Police as soon as possible. 
Have all of your information readily available.  
 
16.  You can also register your bike on the National Bike Registry before it is stolen for a small fee.  If your bike is stolen, even if not registered with NBR, you can still register the serial number of  your stolen bike for a .99 cent fee.  Click HERE for their website. 
 
If you see anyone stealing or attempting to steal a bike, call 911 right away.  If you see anyone acting suspicious around a bike, call the Union Township Police.