Bicyclists are everywhere. It’s a healthy, environmentally-conscious mode of transportation, which is maybe not for everyone. However, as drivers we need to do our best to respect their rights to the road and to keep them out of harm’s way. Here are some tips for drivers to help to avoid Auto-Bicycle Accidents.
Appreciate Bicyclist Vulnerability: A car weighs 2 tons or so, while the average bike is a mere 20 pounds. In a collision, any physical interaction between car and bike, the bike will most likely lose. The results can be serious, even deadly.
Know Bicyclists’ Rights: Drivers sometimes have little idea of the traffic laws that apply to bicyclists.
Bicycles in the roadway are considered vehicles. NHTSA says cyclists 10 years and older should behave as though they were vehicles on the street, riding in the same direction as other traffic that’s going their way and following the same traffic rules.
Adjust That Attitude: Think bicyclists as equals, just as entitled to the roadway as drivers are. Drivers who get impatient with bicyclists should stop for a moment and realize that the person on the bike has every right to be there.
Spare Them the Right Hook: Intersections are venues for serious car-cycle collisions. 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.
Beware the Left Turn: A driver trying to make a left turn sees an oncoming bicyclist, but the driver figures he has plenty of time to complete the turn. Sometimes, that’s not true. A bike can easily get to 15- or 20- mph speeds. Exercise the same caution as you would for an approaching vehicle.
Give Cyclists 3 Feet of Clearance: More than 20 states have passed laws requiring motorists to give bicycles on the roadway about 3 feet of space. This helps to prevent unnecessary collisions.
Avoid Distracted Driving If drivers only expect other cars on the road, they’re setting themselves up for dangerous interactions. Never drive distracted. Always keep an eye on all of your surroundings.
Look Before You Exit Your Car: 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.