Car Advice

How cars and bikes can share the road

With more and more people getting onto bicycles, and more and more cars on the road trouble can occur. Here’s how cars and bikes can share the road.

THERE HAVE BEEN FAR too many altercations between cars and bikes where one or the other has come off the worse for wear. And while each tries to blame the other with ‘instances’ often spilling onto Facebook, the truth is that both cyclists and car drivers are equally responsible in sharing the road.

And that means both groups need to adhere to a few key rules to ensure they all get along. Sure, you can protect against moronic car drivers who don’t pay attention to the world around then when they’re driving, but then they’re often just as dangerous to other motorists and pedestrians as they are to cyclists. And, quite often cyclists do things on the road they shouldn’t, to the frustration of motorists.

So, is it a case of never the twain shall meet? Nope. And there are a few simple things cyclists and motorists can do to ensure everyone can share the road.

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TIPS FOR CYCLISTS

  1. Don’t try and charge past a car; be aware of the driver’s blind spot and, if in doubt, then hang back.
  2. Always keep an eye out to what’s going on around you on the road; constantly scan the road for potential problems; this will mean you can react quickly to what other road users might do.
  3. Where possible make sure you’ve made eye contact with a driver, this does two things, it means they’ve definitely seen you and thus they’ll be mindful of your presence when driving.
  4. Don’t ride up against the gutter, as it could cause drivers to push past you and endanger you. And, so, if the road is too narrow for a car to safely squeeze past you, then sit towards the middle of the lane to prevent dangerous overtaking.
  5. Don’t ride too close to parked cars, allowing a full doors width between you and the parked car in case a door is opened quickly by an inattentive driver.
  6. Don’t ride through a red traffic light. C’mon we’ve all seen cyclists do it.
  7. Wear bright clothing and use appropriate hand signals when turning to the left or right.
  8. Wear a helmet. That one’s a no brainer.
  9. Be wary on a roundabout and don’t hurtle into one at a million miles an hour. You’ll be a blur to most drivers and could increase your chance of being struck. As they say, plan for the worst and hope for the best.

TIPS FOR MOTORISTS

  1. It’s important to remember that cyclists have the same rights as motorists on the road and that you’re sharing the road with them.
  2. Cyclists only have thin layers of lycra between them and you, so be mindful of their vulnerability on the road and give them plenty of room at all times.
  3. Cyclists can easily disappear in your blind-spot, so always check for them particularly when turning or at roundabouts.
  4. Make sure you give a cyclist plenty of room when overtaking and, no, an inch or two isn’t sufficient. Generally you should allow at least one full car’s width as the cyclist may need to dodge something in the road as you’re overtaking them.
  5. Before opening your car door, when parked, check for a cyclist coming up behind you so as you don’t accidentally open your door into their path.
  6. Don’t ever turn in front of a cyclist, or overtake them and then turn in front of them. Allow the cyclist to clear the intersection before you turn.
  7. Bicycles can travel pretty quickly so always take a moment to judge their approach speed to avoid colliding with them when turning or pulling out at a junction.
  8. If a cyclist is turning right then wait for them in the same way you would a car, rather than try and force your way past them.

So, the next time you drive up behind a cyclist, give them a little extra room, because they deserve the same respect you would show to any other road user. Perhaps even a little more as cyclists are more vulnerable.


12 Comments

  1. Keith Peat
    March 6, 2015 at 7:54 pm — Reply

    But this piece is totally to the advantage of cyclists. Why? Well the definition of road cycling is unprotected humans, mixing, mingling, competing with and impeding large essential fast moving machinery which is operated by complete strangers of varying ability and mental capacity. Normally humans wouldn’t ever consider such an activity. Drivers, being human make lots of mistakes. But this piece is written to assume that it is deliberate or careless conduct by the driver. Mostly it’s the perception of the cyclist, from his self imposed insecure position, that most complaints against drivers stem when the drivers action has been endorsed by no collision or incident at all. From his perspective everything was fine.

    But what you fail to do is explain why, in 2015, we must have road cycling at all? Society must have walkers and drivers on the road to exist but cyclists? I don’t think so.

    So start the conversation there please? Why must we have cyclists risking their lives? Why must we have an unnecessary hazard on the road?

    Anti cyclist? No. Just being pragmatic.

    • Robert
      March 6, 2015 at 10:17 pm — Reply

      It would be to society’s advantage as a whole to promote cycling. The more people on bikes the better. Fitter society, less pollution, less cogestion.

    • March 8, 2015 at 7:43 am — Reply

      Hi Keith, the article was merely a reminder to both cyclists and motorists that a little bit of tolerance and awareness will go a long way on the road.

  2. panther063
    March 6, 2015 at 8:13 pm — Reply

    1st step is for the cyclist to realise they don’t own the road and it is filled with big, heavy vehicles that can and do kill or maim.
    Cyclists need to keep as far left as practical and give vehicles a safe passing distance of 1 meter, or 2 meters if in a 80Km/h or over zone, this rule is not just for us motorists.
    Failure to do so may result in death!
    I for one will not be crossing over any double white lines or crashing in a central barrier to avoid pig headed cyclists that fail to keep left, and I certainly hope they don’t expect me to suddenly slow down and follow them until it is deemed safe by them for me to pass!

    • irvinsky
      February 5, 2016 at 9:20 pm — Reply

      sounds like a passive aggressive threat to mow down cyclists that get in your way..note to thug;there are cycling cops that read these articles.

      • panther063
        February 6, 2016 at 9:51 am — Reply

        I’ve seen plenty of lycra thugs threaten motorists, yet never a motorist intentionally threaten a cyclist. They seem to be a sensitive mob, crying over any perceived infraction on their “rights” to ride all over the place with total disregard to road laws.

  3. Mr Snrub
    March 6, 2015 at 8:59 pm — Reply

    If cyclists have the same rights as motorists then they should pay registration with all other road users, this would help to increase bike lanes and perhaps lessen anger at them slowing traffic
    An exception being, like other road users with restrictions, they should be prohibited from some roads. On any busy street cyclists are a hazard to motorists and themselves, as much a motorist traveling at an absurdly low speed compared to that of the speed limit.
    Also, registration would help identify and fine cyclists who choose to use the road but disobey road laws (like the before mentioned traveling through red lights), particularly as many motorist have dash cams now.

    • irvinsky
      February 5, 2016 at 9:17 pm — Reply

      ah,the old chestnut anti-cyclists moan on about..bike rego to pay for roads and to identify all those norty bikers; rego is for motorised vehicles and doesn’t pay for roads..it’s mainly 3rd party insurance for the carnage motorised vehicles exact on society and just where would rego plates go on a bicycle? do they have to be lit at night like motorised vehicles?
      I’ll cut to the chase..there will never,ever,ever be bicycle rego in Australia..got it?

      • panther063
        February 6, 2016 at 9:48 am — Reply

        That’s where you are wrong, Identification laws are already being implemented making it illegal for cyclists to ride without photo I.D. it won’t be long until they pay for the privilege to use the roads which will cover insurance for them for the damage they cause.
        They are not above the law, nor exempt from paying for damage due to anonymity.

        • irvinsky
          February 6, 2016 at 12:44 pm — Reply

          carrying id,being responsible for damage and not breaking the law have nothing to do with bicycles being registered and having to display rego plates.

          • panther063
            February 7, 2016 at 11:20 am

            Now you are just trolling, of course registration and a means of identifying has to do with all of the above. No one said they need to wear plates on their precious bikes, just pay registration and carry I.D.

          • irvinsky
            February 7, 2016 at 1:42 pm

            you’re the troll..the whole point of registering vehicles is that those vehicles have to display plates with the registration number;pedestrians can break road laws and cause damage..are you suggesting pedestrians should be registered and forced to carry I.D.?

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.