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How to Safely Share the Road With Cyclists
By Lee Michael Katz
Pedal power is growing all over the country. Bike lanes are popping up everywhere and bike-riding has more than doubled in some cities. But the mismatch between a massive vehicle and a lightweight bicycle frame can have tragic consequences. Here are some ways to reduce the danger when sharing the road with cyclists:
- Defensive driving extends to bikes. You drive a safe length behind other motorists, so don’t ride the bumper of a bike. Leave adequate space for you to react—this is especially critical when passing a bicyclist.
- Yield—and watch out for bicyclists who don’t. Failure to yield by both motorists and bicyclists accounts for nearly 25% of collisions. Bicyclists can easily miss stop signs, so take extra care in bike-riding areas.
- Pay extra attention to hidden bicyclists. With their small profile, bikes won’t show up nearly as easily as a vehicle in your mirrors. For example, when turning right, check the curb lane and check over your right shoulder so you don’t cut off any cyclists.
- Open doors carefully. Your vehicle doors may open into a bike lane or travel path, so be careful when opening your doors. The last thing you want to do is knock over a passing cyclist.
- Return the favor when biking. When you’re pushing the bike pedals instead of the gas, don’t zigzag between cars – and be sure to use hand signals when turning or changing lanes. You have the same responsibility to obey traffic laws on your bike as you do in your car.