Tips for Sharing the Road with Cyclists

Accidents that occur between motor vehicles and bicycles can result in devastating injuries to the cyclists, who are quite unprotected compared to motorists. It is important for both drivers and cyclists alike to understand the rules of the road and how they can coexist on it.

Here are a few tips to help you watch out for cyclists’ safety while driving:

  • Look before you turn: You should be extra-cautious when turning, whether you’re going left or right. When turning left, make sure you’ve thoroughly checked that the way is clear and you have the right of way. When turning right, look in your blind spot and check your mirrors to make sure there aren’t any cyclists coming up alongside you, especially if you’re next to a bike lane.
  • Don’t drive in bike lanes: Whenever you’re driving, parking or pulling over, make sure you check that the way is clear and that you do not keep your vehicle in the bike lane for more than the second it takes to cross over. Otherwise, you pose a potential obstacle to cyclists who might need to ride into traffic to avoid you, where they put themselves at risk of injury.
  • Pass with caution: When sharing the road with cyclists, give plenty of room when passing, and do so slowly. This is to ensure the safety of the cyclist and to avoid frightening them.
  • Give plenty of space: Make sure you leave at least three feet between your vehicle and any cyclists ahead of you. And that’s just the bare minimum—you should not be tailgating cyclists or getting close enough where there is a risk of a collision with a sudden stop. Do not pass until you have a safe opportunity to do so.
  • Watch your doors: When your vehicle is parked, make sure you check that the way is clear before opening the driver’s side door, especially if you’re parked on the inside of a bike lane. People are likely to check for vehicle traffic before they open up their doors, but they might forget to check for cyclists, who aren’t quite as immediately obvious. Look in your blind spots and check your mirrors to make sure there are not any cyclists coming when you open your door.
  • Don’t assume you can predict cyclists’ movements: Not all riders are experienced or predictable. They might suddenly brake, they could swerve unpredictably or they could react differently to various roadway hazards. This is one of the main reasons why you must give them plenty of space on the road—you simply cannot predict a cyclist’s actions. Always be alert and watch their movements.

These are just a few of the steps you can take as a driver to share the road with cyclists and make the streets a little safer for everyone. Staying safe on the roadways doesn’t just prevent accidents and injuries—it also benefits your insurance, as it keeps your premiums low. For more information, contact us today at Harvey Sarles Insurance Agency.

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