An accident involving a bicyclist and a motorist Friday at the Meadows Road crossing on the Saucon Rail Trail in Lower Saucon Township has renewed concerns about safety at the crossings, as evidenced by residents’ comments on Facebook.
“I am on the trail running at least four times a week and am continually amazed at how many drivers blow through the crossways when they clearly should yield to pedestrians,” wrote Brenda King Clowser. “And if cyclists should stop and dismount before they proceed, cars should stop, look and proceed with caution too.”
Kristy Katz, meanwhile, criticized bicyclists who fail to follow the rules.
“Good post! I never see bicyclists dismount their bikes OR look,” she said. “I’m not saying ALL of them are like this, but the majority that I’ve seen don’t follow these rules.”
In a news release issued Monday, township police said both the cyclist–Gerardo Mendez, 41, of Center Valley–and the motorist–Thomas Bedics, 63, of Lower Saucon–were charged with stop sign violations based upon witness statements following the 5:34 p.m. crash.
The crossing is a four-way stop-signed intersection, and cyclists are required to dismount their bikes and walk across it.
Mendez was treated with first aid at the scene and later for minor injuries at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill, police said.
In a post on the department’s Facebook page Sunday, township police issued the following safety tips for educational purposes:
When riding, always:
- Go With the Traffic Flow. Ride on the right in the same direction as other vehicles. Go with the flow–not against it.
- Obey All Traffic Laws. A bicycle is a vehicle and you’re a driver. When you ride in the street, obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings.
- Yield to Traffic When Appropriate. Almost always, drivers on a smaller road must yield (wait) for traffic on a major or larger road. If there is no stop sign or traffic signal and you are coming from a smaller roadway (out of a driveway, from a sidewalk, a bike path, etc.), you must slow down and look to see if the way is clear before proceeding. This also means yielding to pedestrians who have already entered a crosswalk.
- Be Predictable. Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars. Signal your moves to others.
- Stay Alert at All Times. Use your eyes AND ears. Watch out for potholes, cracks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks or anything that could make you lose control of your bike. You need your ears to hear traffic and avoid dangerous situations; don’t wear a headset when you ride.
- Look Before Turning. When turning left or right, always look behind you for a break in traffic, then signal before making the turn. Watch for left- or right-turning traffic.
- Watch for Parked Cars. Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected from parked cars (like doors opening, or cars pulling out).
“Bicycles in many states are considered vehicles, and cyclists have the same rights and the same responsibilities to follow the rules of the road as motorists,” police said. “Riders should follow the posted signs at the crossings to dismount their bikes and walk across the intersection after looking both ways.”
More information about the Saucon Rail Trail is available at www.sauconrailtrail.org.