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Common myths about traffic laws everyone should know

Accidents continue to happen in Montana despite safety efforts to keep everyone on the road safe. Reports show that in addition to the risks of being in a car accident, pedestrians and bicyclists continue to have a difficult time travelling on Montana roads. 

Pedestrian and bicycle accidents can be very dangerous and often result in serious and fatal injuries to those walking or biking. To address the risks pedestrians and bicyclists face on the road, more communities are embracing safety programs to reduce accidents. 

One local community has launched a safety campaign called "Crash the Myth" that educates motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians about the rules of the road that everyone should be following. 

There are many myths the safety campaign is trying to raise awareness to but some of the most important and common myths are listed below: 

  • Vehicles have the right-of-way in roundabouts: this is not true. The law states that vehicles must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross. This means that motorists always need to be aware of pedestrians and stop for them regardless of what kind of road they are on. 
  • Jaywalking is safe: this is also not true. Did you know that pedestrians who don't cross at an intersection or in a crosswalk are four times more likely to be in an accident? Pedestrians need to follow traffic laws too and take steps to make sure motorists can see them at all times. 
  • It is safe to ride your bicycle against traffic: this is untrue and very dangerous. Bicyclists are four times more likely to be hit by a vehicle riding against traffic. Bicyclists should always ride with traffic and wear a helmet and bright colors to help vehicles see them.

Source: Billings Gazette, "Safety campaign works to reduce road accidents," Hannah Silveus, Sept. 17, 2013

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