Cycling can be an enjoyable and beneficial pastime. There’s a certain freedom and freewheeling feeling about strapping on your helmet and pumping the pedals. However, cycling is not without its dangers. On average, over 700 cyclists are killed and over 45,000 cyclists are injured each and every year in incidents involving motor vehicles. Here are 5 tips that can help keep both cyclists and motorists safe and happy.
1. Equal Partners
All 50 states consider cyclists to be under the same laws and restrictions on the road as motorists. You’re all drivers out there, whether it’s your own two feet or 8 cylinders providing the power for your vehicle. That means that cyclists must follow the same rules of the road as motorists, and motorists must remember that cyclists should be afforded the same courtesy and respect as those driving any motor vehicle.
2. Patience is a Virtue
Motorists must have a certain amount of patience when dealing with cyclists. Allow them extra time to cross intersections. Give them more room on the road without tailgating them. Pass them only when it is safe and appropriate to do so. Don’t engage in excessive horn honking or shouting, either. Give them time to get out of your way. Remember, they’ve only got their two legs to propel them. Cyclists: some patience with your fellow drivers is due on your part, too. Don’t weave in and out of stopped traffic, trying to gain position and distance while stopped for the light.
3. On the Lookout
Cyclists need to be aware of motorists even when they are not moving. A door of a parked car opening into the bike lane can spell disaster. Drivers backing out of parking spaces and driveways need to be cautious as well, making sure that there are no bicycles, especially those ridden by small children, in their vicinity. Motorists should also be extra careful when making turns. Cyclists may be moving alongside your car, intending to go straight, or coming from the opposite direction through the intersection. Cyclists can’t predict your movements, but by being aware of where they are in relation to your car, you can avoid many collisions and accidents with cyclists.
4. A Passing Fancy
Never pass a cyclist unless it is safe and appropriate to do so. Allow plenty of space (at least 3 feet) between you and the cyclist when passing. Your car creates air drag, and that force of air can actually pull a rider off course or off balance if you pass too quickly or too closely. Cyclists need to be aware that motorists can’t always see you or predict how fast you are going. If you intend on passing a car at the bottom of the hill, when you’ve reached the apex of your downhill speed, you’ll want to do so safely and appropriately. Do not pass on the right. Signal with your hand before passing, and keep a safe distance both along side and in front of the vehicle.
5. Mutual Respect
Motorists have to deal with cyclists with a certain amount of care and respect, but cyclists have to do so, too. Rather than resent each other’s presence on the road, learning to live and travel together can result in an enjoyable experience for all.
And then there’s the law. Always remember that both cyclists and motorists are considered drivers under the same rules of the road. The law expects you to remember this. Drive and ride responsibly and respectfully, and everyone can hit the road in relaxed freedom.
If you have been injured by a motorist while riding your bicycle, contact the Law Offices of Philip Cohen in San Diego, as soon as possible. We have successfully resolved bodily injury claims for cyclists against careless drivers.