In case you haven’t noticed, biking is incredibly popular right now. Whether it’s fitness, environmental friendliness, or the pursuit of adventure driving the pedals, the chances of encountering a bicycle as you drive are on the rise. That’s why it’s important to remember the following safety tips for sharing the road with bikes.
- First and most importantly, remember that a collision between a car and a bicycle will likely result in serious injury for the cyclist.
- Bicyclists are considered vehicle operators under the law. They are required to follow all of the same traffic laws as vehicles. While they are legally required to do so, you should be ready in case they don’t.
- Cyclists are allowed to take up an entire traffic lane if they choose. Two cyclists are legally permitted to ride side-by-side in a single lane. When making a left turn, cyclists will often move to the middle or left of the traffic lane.
- Pay attention to cyclists’ hand signals as pictured and explained below.
- Allow at least 3 feet of clearance between your vehicle and a cyclist when passing.
- When turning your vehicle, do not turn so close to a bike that the bike will run into you or you will run into the bike. If you aren’t sure how close the bike is, let the bike pass and then make the turn.
- When you’re getting out of a vehicle, look for bikes coming at you before you open your door.
- Look for cyclists both on the road and on the sidewalk before pulling out from a parking spot, parking lot, roadway, or driveway.
- Don’t honk at cyclists. It may startle them, which can cause an accident. According to a fellow SimpleTire team member who’s an avid cyclist, this is an important one.
- Be alert for debris, large potholes, or other hazards in the road when you see a bike. The bike rider will likely need to avoid the hazards, which means they may need to move very quickly into the center of the traffic lane.
- Watch for designated bike lanes. A designated bike lane means you are driving in an area with a high volume of bicycle traffic. These lanes might also create special traffic patterns. In that case, yield for cyclists according to the bike lanes.
- Be patient. Cyclists can see or sense you edging up close behind, starting to pass then delaying, and other impatient actions. This can make cyclists nervous, creating a hazardous situation.
- Overall, simply be courteous. Not only will this help you and bike riders stay safe, but you’ll also feel good about yourself.
Now that you’ve read these driving etiquette tips, you’re ready to make the road a safer place for yourself and all the cyclists out there pedaling around.
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