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Seven Tips For Safely Sharing The Road With Bicyclists

share the roadIn 2015, a total of 677 bicyclists were killed from motor vehicle crashes, with an additional 38,000 bicyclists significantly injured in a traffic accident. These staggering statistics are mostly the result of drivers failing to obey rules for sharing the road with cyclists. Read and keep in mind the following seven tips in order to ensure that the two-way street is safe for all.

1. Pass with Care

When passing a bicyclist, motorists need to be patient and slow down. Before passing a bicyclist, drivers need to ensure that the road conditions in the opposite lane are free from traffic. Only when space permits should the driver pass the bicyclist. Never attempt to make it around a cyclist within the same lane, because this will squeeze the individual off the road and may result in injury. When drivers overtake a cyclist, they must leave a three feet safety cushion around them for adequate clearance.

2. Look Out for Children on Bicycles

A frighteningly large number of accidents between bikes and cars involve injury to children. Many children ride their bikes around schools, playgrounds, and parks, so be careful driving around these areas. Always follow the designated school speed limit, since slowing down will allow a faster response time. Provide an extra space cushion when passing them, since young bicyclists may not be aware of certain dangers and can act in unexpected ways. Ensure that the child reaches his or her destination safely by remaining alert and cautious.

3. Be Extra Cautious at Night

It is essential that drivers increase their attention at dusk, night, or dawn to be on the lookout for bicyclists. Although many riders make sure they are properly dressed for biking in the dark with bright colored attire, others may be more difficult to see. When approaching a bicyclist in the dark, be considerate by dipping the headlights to ensure the bicyclist retains their visibility. In addition, remain vigilant during wet weather conditions. The road tends to get oily when wet, which means there is a greater chance that either the vehicle or bicycle could slip and cause an accident.

4. Avoid Distractions While Driving

In the time that a driver’s eyes are off the road to respond to a text message or change the radio channel, they could cause a fatal accident. Motorists need to remember that they are operating a two-ton vehicle that has the capability of severely injuring or killing other people on the road. It is essential to take driving seriously and pay close attention to all surroundings at all times, especially when traveling at high speeds. Put the phone away, refrain from fiddling with the radio, and avoid eating while driving. Drivers should keep their hands glued to the wheel and eyes focused on scanning the road. With this tip, drivers can significantly reduce the risk of accidentally striking a bicyclist.

5. Take Turns Carefully

An estimated 38 percent of all cycling fatalities in 2015 occurred at an intersection. Before drivers start to turn either left or right in these danger zones, they need to check their rearview and side-view mirrors thoroughly. With the notorious blind spot, it is also recommended that drivers turn their heads completely to check behind the vehicle too. Drivers that are turning right need to be watchful for bicyclists that may be going straight.

6. Leave Space When Following

In order to figure out how closely to follow the bicycle ahead of the vehicle, the driver should follow the standard count to two rules. Vehicles should reach a selected landmark two seconds after the vehicle or bicycle ahead. Experts suggest that it takes approximately 0.75 seconds to comprehend the need to stop, and another 0.75 seconds to physically touch the brakes. Therefore, leaving this space will ensure that drivers can avoid collision by braking in time.

7. Be Courteous

Despite somewhat popular belief, bicyclists deserve to be on the road just as much as all motor vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicycles are considered vehicles by law and have the same rights to the roadways as other types of vehicles. Give way to the bicyclist when required and remember to travel at a safe distance. Drivers need to be respectful to bicyclist’s rights by treating them in a courteous manner and utilizing these seven helpful tips. Making the effort to share the road safely will not cause inconvenience, but it could save a bicyclist’s life.

Steve Roberts

Steve Roberts

Steve Roberts of the Law Office of Steve Roberts, LLC, is a bicycle accident lawyer in Denver. His practice can be found at www.coloradorobertslaw.com.

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