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.
TIPS FOR CYCLISTS
- Don’t try and charge past a car; be aware of the driver’s blind spot and, if in doubt, then hang back.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t ride through a red traffic light. C’mon we’ve all seen cyclists do it.
- Wear bright clothing and use appropriate hand signals when turning to the left or right.
- Wear a helmet. That one’s a no brainer.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Cyclists can easily disappear in your blind-spot, so always check for them particularly when turning or at roundabouts.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.