Bicyclists are everywhere! For some it’s an exercise thing, for others it’s a primary mode of transport. Regardless, they are part of the commute in cities and towns all across Massachusetts. As motorists, we need to learn share the road with them. According to a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, 722 cyclists were killed in auto-bicycle accidents nationwide in 2012, which was a 16% increase since 2010 (621)! Everyone can do their part to help to turn these statistics around.
Here are a few things that are good to be aware of:
Appreciate Bicyclist Vulnerability
Your average car weighs around 2 tons, while your average bicycle weighs 20 pounds. It doesn’t take a math whiz to see that in the event of a collision, the bicyclist will be the one to come away with severe, sometimes life threatening injuries.
Know Bicyclists’ Rights
Bicycles on the roadway are considered vehicles, and have the same rights and responsibilities as motorist, and are subject to many of the same rules and regulations. It’s a good idea as a bicyclist or motorist to be educated on Massachusetts Bicycle Laws.
Watch That Right Turn
Drivers making right turns, especially, should watch out for cyclists. A cyclist may be a little behind and to the right of you, and may be planning to ride straight ahead. If you don’t signal your right turn, you could wind up hitting each other, with the point of contact somewhere on your car’s right side. If you are trying to figure out if a nearby cyclist is planning to turn right, look for his raised left hand in a squared position, or an extended right hand.
Careful With That Door
Cyclists are terrified of being “doored.” Imagine a rider pedaling along next to a row of parked cars. Suddenly, a driver flings her door open. The impact can send the cyclist flying, and riders have died when they’ve been thrown into traffic.
If everyone does their part, lives can be saved. We all have loved ones who ride bicycles occasionally. Let’s keep them safe!