You may notice a few extra cyclists on the road in the upcoming weeks, because May is National Bike Month! While sharing the road with cyclists may cause the driver to slow down temporarily, the street is likely the safest place for cyclists. In fact, in many states it is illegal to ride bikes on the sidewalk and bicycles must follow the rules as other motor vehicles would. Here are a few tips on how to drive safely around cyclists in order to keep yourself and cyclists safe:
- When passing, keep your car at least 3 feet from any cyclist. This is the law in every state, although some states require more than 3 feet of room.
- Avoid honking at cyclists when passing. This can be more startling to bikers rather than helpful. Chances are, the rider is aware of the cars around them and will be thankful if a driver passes quietly with room to spare!
- Have patience. While it can be frustrating to wait behind a cyclist moving slowly up a hill on a narrow, one way street, remember that they have much less protection than a car. Performing dangerous maneuvers to get in front are not worth risking a life, especially where vision is limited on a hill or around a blind turn. Cyclists will appreciate your tolerance and let you pass when it is safe.
- Don’t park in a bike lane. These lanes are there to keep the flow of traffic moving safely for everyone using the roads. However, when cars or trucks park or are idle in the bike lane, it puts cyclists in a compromising position.
- Look before opening doors. In cities, it is common for those who park on the street to swing open a car door without looking out for oncoming cyclists. This can cause a nasty accident!
- Look before you turn. When turning right, take an extra second to look behind you for a cyclist continuing straight. This is often neglected and cyclists often end up getting “hooked”.
- Don’t drive distracted. Texting, fiddling with radios, or trying to multitask while driving leaves drivers with less time to react to the unexpected. Focus on the road!
At the end of the day, it is all of our jobs to look out for one another. Implementing these tips can save drivers from life-altering accidents. To learn more or chat with an agent about life insurance, click here!