MAINE, USA — Amid Maine's stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic, activities for outdoor exercise are limited. Many are taking to walking and biking to get outdoors. There are important things to remember though before leaving your house.
Experts from the Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Bicycle Coalition say one of the most important things for cyclists and pedestrians is to be visible.
"We’ve all been in that situation where we’ve been driving down the road and all of the sudden you see a pedestrian or someone along the side of the road at the last minute that you didn’t see far enough ahead of time," said Patrick Adams, the Bike and Pedestrian Program Manager for the Maine DOT. "Wearing the reflective clothing, having that flashlight helps you be seen, and helps you reduce your risk.”
When walking at night, it's important to have reflective clothing that allows cars to see you, but also carry a flashlight with you. If you're walking in the day time in an area that's not walker-friendly, be sure to wear brighter clothes to allow cars to see you.
It's also important to remember to walk on the left side of the road. That allows pedestrians and cars the chance to make eye contact, so both can pass safely.
And of course, the simple things; be alert. Look both ways when crossing roads, and always use sidewalks and crosswalks when they're available to you.
Similar guidance is also recommended when you're riding a bicycle. Reflective and bright gear are essential for allowing motorists to see you. All bikers should be riding on the right side of the road, with traffic. Cyclists follow the same rules of the roads cars do. You can find more by visiting the Bicycle Coalition of Maine website.
"Visibility is certainly a big issue. People aren't trying to, and don't want to hit you in a motor vehicle, so if they can see you, often that makes a big difference," said Charley LeFlamme, the founder of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.
Staying visible is just one of the things you should be doing, however. Check your gears, tires, chain, and breaks before leaving for your rides.
Also, it's always important to wear your helmet and wear it correctly. That means it should be buckled, resting on the top of your head with straps meeting below your ear lobes and the buckle to be tight enough to only fit two fingers between your chin and the strap.
At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.newscentermaine.com/coronavirus.