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Safety tips for walking and biking
by Article courtesy of the Marion Fire Department and the City of Marion · July 13th, 2017

As a Blue ZonesŪ Community, Marion residents enjoy an active lifestyle. The Marion Fire Department and Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center offer the following tips to help prevent injuries while walking or biking.

Pedestrian Safety

Wear bright or light colored clothing with reflective material.

Carry a flashlight if you are walking at night.

Cross the street in a well-lit area if it is dark out.

Stay clear of buses, hedges, parked cars or any other obstruction when crossing the street. Sadly, children have been killed because they ran out in the street between two parked cars and the driver of the car never saw them.

Walk on a sidewalk or trail whenever possible. If you must walk in the street, face traffic so you can see what is coming at you.

Stay sober. Walking while impaired increases your chances of an accident.

Don't assume drivers see you. There are many things that distract drivers these days. Make eye contact with the driver before you cross the street in front of them, even if you are in a crosswalk.

Be alert for engines running, brake lights or reverse lights if you are walking in a parking lot or near on-street parking.

Cross streets at marked intersections or at a crosswalk. Cross only with the "walk/don't walk" signs. Pay attention for turning vehicles. Look left, right, and then left again before proceeding.

If you have to cross a street with several lanes, be cautious of vehicles stopping for you. The cars in the other lanes may not be able to see you.

Don't be distracted yourself. Walking with headphones on, or trying to talk or text on a cell phone leaves you not paying attention to your surroundings!

Bicycle Safety

You are required to obey all of the same traffic laws as everyone else on the road.

Always wear a helmet!

Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it. Crash data tells us that getting hit from behind is less likely. You are more visible and predictable to motorists, especially at intersections.

Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars.

Use hand signals to indicate turns or that you are stopping.

If children are riding on sidewalks, they need to be alert for cars backing out of driveways. This is true for anyone riding on the street as well, because sometimes a driver simply isn't watching for a bike.

Make sure everyone can see you by wearing bright colors or reflective clothing. If riding at night, make sure all of your reflectors are clean and visible. Using headlights and tail lights increases your safety because cars can see you from farther away. Legally, the white light facing the front must illuminate for 300 feet and the red light facing backwards must illuminate for 50 feet.

Don't be distracted yourself. Riding a bike with headphones on, or trying to talk or text on a cell phone leaves you not paying attention to your surroundings!

Watch out for rocks, trash, storm grates, wet leaves, potholes, gravel, railroad tracks and even wet pavement markings. All of these things can cause you to lose control of your bike.

Watch out for parked cars. Drivers may suddenly open a door or pull out in front of you.

Most car/bike accidents happen at intersections. Make eye contact with drivers so you know that they see you.

Be cautious of drivers trying to turn left in front of you, especially on a multi-lane road. They are looking for a break in traffic and may not see you before they turn.

Consider venturing out on one of the many great trails in Marion and Linn County. They are a perfect place to get exercise without having to worry about vehicle traffic. Maps of Marion trails can be found at under Parks and Recreation. A list/map of Linn County trails can be found at

Make it a safe and active summer!
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