Whether it’s for leisure, commuting or exercise, people choose to ride bicycles daily across Lexington County. And much like drivers, bicyclists have a responsibility to stay alert while traveling. This choice could mean the difference between life, serious injury, or death for yourself or those around you.

As a cyclist, always ride distraction-free and pay attention to your surroundings. And as a driver, look for cyclists everywhere.

There are basic precautions cyclists can take to ensure safety, such as paying attention to their surroundings and to not be distracted by electronic devices. Distraction could lead to an unintentional swerve out of the bike lane, or a missed stop signal. Bicyclists should not use headphones that distract from the task at hand, and should keep their eyes – and ears – open for hazards, like vehicles or trains. All bicyclists should wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet every ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent a head injury in a bicycle crash.

As a motor vehicle driver, your first responsibility is to drive, which means your focus should be 100 percent on the road, and you should not be distracted. You could be tempted to pick up your cellphone or flip to a different radio station; however, those choices could cost someone their life.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than half of pedestrian fatalities occurred at non-intersections. Depending on the time of day or weather conditions, cyclists can be hard to see, and that’s especially true if you’re distracted and your focus isn’t totally on the road. Drivers should always keep customary safety habits in mind, too, like obeying the posted speed limit and driving sober.

As a community working together, we can adhere to these simple steps and strive to reduce the number of these tragedies each year. Keeping Lexington County’s roads safe is a shared responsibility.