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DMV encourages bicycle visibility

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) encourages bicyclists to make themselves — and their movements — visible to motorists, day or night.

Visibility is this month’s theme in DMV’s summer bicycle safety campaign. The campaign, dubbed “Show the World,” comes in anticipation of Richmond 2015, a nine-day cycling competition expected to bring 450,000 spectators and 1,000 athletes from all over the world to Central Virginia. The event, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Road World Championships, will take place from September 19-27.

Twelve bicyclists were killed in crashes in Virginia last year. Half of these deaths occurred as a result of crashes in the six-hour time span between 6 p.m. and midnight.

DMV invites bicyclists to help draw attention to this important safety topic by sharing photos on social media of how they make themselves visible when riding in their communities.

To be included on DMV social media (VirginiaDMV), use #SafetyLooksGoodOnYou on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

“Put on your brightest t-shirt and some bike reflectors and lights and help us ‘Show the World’ how Richmond values bicycle safety,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety representative.

“Being seen on a bicycle is a critical part of safe riding — the brighter the better.”

To increase visibility, DMV’s Virginia Highway Safety Office (VAHSO) encourages bicyclists to choose bright-colored, reflective clothing.

Headlights, taillights and reflectors are great ways to make a bicycle more noticeable, particularly at night. According to state code, every bicycle must be equipped with a white headlight and a red reflector when operated from sunset to sunrise. In addition, a bicycle or its rider must be equipped with a red taillight when traveling on a roadway with a speed limit of at least 35 mph during the same hours.

VAHSO also recommends using the concept of biomotion to increase visibility day or night. A bicyclist should affix reflective lights on moving parts of the body and the bike, like your knees or ankles and your bike’s spokes or pedals. Studies have shown that biomotion helps drivers more quickly distinguish an approaching object as a moving person rather than a stationary reflective sign or other road marker.