Beautiful spring weather is making its way towards Huntersville - and with it will come an increased number of bicycle riders. While bicycles can be aggravating to deal with as a driver, especially at the end of a long day, it’s important to remember this season that every driver is responsible for safely sharing the road with other commuters. Yes, including the commuters not riding in a car!
Safely driving alongside cyclists is especially important in light of these statistics presented by the CDC: “In 2013 in the U.S., over 900 bicyclists were killed and there were an estimated 494,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries.” This of course doesn’t excuse bike riders from upholding their responsibilities - but as we enter prime bike-riding season, now is a great time to review exactly how you as a driver can safely share the road with cyclists like a pro:
Image Courtesy of Pixabay
By respecting each other’s right to be on the road, cyclists and cars can coexist safely this season. With bicycle use on the rise, we truly hope that our Mazda family will do their best to be mindful of all types of “vehicles” on the road today - for your own safety as well as other drivers’ and cyclists’ safely!
- Respect cyclist’s right to bike. Even if you’re not always the biggest bicycle fan, the reality is that bikes have a right to use the road - and once they’re there, they’re often legally considered to be another vehicle. Not only does this mean that cyclists are expected to obey all traffic laws. It means other drivers are expected to treat them with caution and need to respect their right-of-way while they’re on the road - the same as you would do for any other driver.
- Consider their vulnerability. Bikes may have a right to be on the road, but it can still be a frightening experience. A 15-pound bike is no match for a 2-ton car should they meet and collide. With this in mind, drivers should always consider the power they’re wielding and use it carefully during their commute - because cyclists, like drivers, are just people trying to go about their day.
- Be careful turning. You’ve likely heard that drivers don’t see objects such as motorcycles very well when they’re driving a car. By that same principle, you may not always see a cyclist - especially if they’re coming up next to you near a busy intersection or turn lane. All drivers should keep this in mind, especially when turning. Using a turn signal will usually give cyclists ample warning about where you’re heading. Still, taking two seconds to double check your mirrors and to look over your shoulder is much better than the alternative! And on a final note related to turning, if it comes to it, be sure to yield to any opposing traffic as you make a left hand turn - after all, cyclists have the right of way in that scenario!
- Give them plenty of space. Giving other drivers and yourself plenty of space is an important part of driving. This is true of cyclists as well! Not only is this good practice, it’s the law: more than half of America’s states have laws in place that require motor vehicles to give bicycles at least 3 feet of space while driving. So respecting this need for space isn’t just courteous - it’s the law!
- Keep cyclists in mind after you park! After finally reaching your destination, the last thing you want to do is accidentally hit a cyclist with your opening door. Unfortunately this can happen. It’s called being “doored” - and, fortunately, it’s a painful situation that can easily be avoided with a quick in your mirrors, and up and down the street before you open your door.