As cycling continues to increase in popularity, more and more people are choosing to hit the roads on two wheels rather than four. However, this also means there’s a higher chance for collision. According to the Arizona law, bicycles on the roadway are considered to be “vehicles”, with the same rights and duties as motorized vehicles.
Whether on a bicycle or in a motorized vehicle, everyone must be cautious while driving the roads.
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance has provided some tips for all types of drivers to help you avoid collision and protect yourself and others on the road.
DRIVING AROUND CYCLISTS
1. Check the bike lane. Always be cautious when driving around bike lanes. When turning right or crossing a bike lane, always look behind you for a cyclist. If someone is there, be sure to yield and allow them to cross. It’s not a race to beat the cyclists.
2. Allow extra space when passing cyclists. Just as you would when passing someone in a car, you should always allow extra room between you and a cyclist when passing. To be extra cautions, try to make sure that you have at least 3 to 4 feet of space between you and a cyclist.
3. Slow down. Always reduce your speed when approaching and passing a cyclist. Some roadways can be very narrow and may make it difficult for other drivers to see in front of you. By reducing your speed, it lets drivers behind you know there’s a reason to slow down ahead. Also, don’t follow them too closely. It’s very intimidating.
4. Be cautious in residential neighborhoods. Cyclists use residential neighborhood roads to easily get around and stay out of heavy traffic. There are also more children biking in these neighborhoods. Always drive slow and make a complete stop at stop signs, because you are at risk of hitting someone if not.
5. Use good manners. Don’t honk to communicate with cyclists, unless it’s an emergency. Also, apologize it you make a mistake. Try to make eye contact or give a wave.
BICYCLING AROUND CARS
1. Be visible. This is the number one safety issue among cyclists. Always use front and back lights, wear light colored or reflective gear. It’s also a good idea to have some sort of reflector on your helmet too.
2. Learn to look over your left shoulder. Motorists are being cautious of their right side, you should also be cautious of your left side. Always look before leaving the bike lane to pass another cyclist. This helps with changing lanes, making eye contact with motorists and your safety as you pass.
3. Always signal. It’s important that you always signal when you’re changing lanes, turning or stopping suddenly. If you make your intentions clear, motorists and other cyclists will generally give you more space and allow more time for you as you changing lanes.
4. Use good manners. This not only goes for motorists, this also goes for cyclists on the road. If you make a mistake, give the “my bad” wave, if someone does something nice, give them a “thank you” wave. It’s also important to give pedestrians a lot of space. Don’t run them off the road or sidewalk.
With millions of people on the roads, cyclists and motorists must always be considerate of each other and share the roads safely.
But remember: Bike vs Car accident? Injury-wise, the car always wins. Be careful.