How to Safely Share the Road with Bicyclists

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Defensive Driving Tips

How do you feel when you see bicyclists on the road? Do you get nervous because they are unpredictable? Maybe you get angry because they are bound to slow you down? On the other hand, maybe you can appreciate their commitment to saving the planet and keep their body healthy. However you feel when you see a bicyclist, their safety should always be a concern. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2010, 618 traffic accident deaths were bicyclists. The majority of these took place in urban areas, but not at intersections. That means these accidents are happening on the roads you are driving on every day.

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What can I do to lower this number?

Bicycle safety is a two-way street. That being said, as a driver, there are certain things you should be doing to make sure that you are doing your part to keep bicyclists safe.

  1. Treat a bicyclist as if they were in a car. This one rule may help you save a bicycle rider’s life. What this means is that if there is not enough room to pass a bicyclist, don’t pass him. If a bicyclist is stopped at a red light, stop behind him, not next to him. Pay attention to where the bicyclist is and always check your blind spot before turning.
  2. Expect the unexpected. Since bicycles only have two very narrow wheels, it is very easy for them to unexpectedly swerve. Additionally, not all bicycle riders follow the laws like they should. You should always be prepared for a bicycle to suddenly cut in front of you or cross the street unexpectedly. Drive as defensively as possible to ensure that you are prepared should a bicyclist cut you off (check out DefensiveDriving.com for tips on how to do this).
  3. Be patient. Yes, driving around bicyclists can be frustrating. Okay, it can be really frustrating, especially if you are on a very narrow road and there is no way to pass them. But they have every right to be on the road as you do, and they should be treated that way. The LADOT believes that this is one of the main things drivers need to keep in mind when sharing the road with bicyclists. Take a few deep breaths, and remember the rider is somebody’s child. Perhaps he even has children of his own
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