Drivers Can Coexist With Cyclists on the Road
In an urban city, cyclists and drivers fill the streets daily making their commutes. Often, a lack of knowledge in street laws and cyclist and driver rights can cause frustration between road users as actions conflict. Although they travel the same streets, the commuting experience varies drastically between cyclists and drivers. To learn how to share the road with cyclists, it's important for car drivers to understand what the road is like for cyclists. Learning about common hazards to cyclists can help drivers practice safe, defensive driving. Seeing the streets from a cyclist's perspective can help drivers make small precautionary adjustments needed for everyone to share and enjoy the commuting experience.
Dodge Road Dangers
Don't use bike lanes for parking, leave the lanes for bikers. Cyclists are often forced out of their designated lanes due to dangers like debris and construction—things that drivers may not be concerned about but can become very hazardous to cyclists. Cities like Portland block bike lanes off by painting lines and symbols on the streets or with physical cement dividers and steel security bollards. This is all for the safety of every commuter-- be it on a bike, on foot, or at the wheel of an SUV.
Cyclist Basics: What Every Driver Should Know
Share the street with cyclists and respect their right of the road. Driver or rider, no one has more authority over the road. At night, in the rain, storms or other weather conditions that may cause vision impairment, it's important to be extra cautious of cyclists. When it comes to interacting with others on the road, never assume. You can't be too sure that a cyclist is aware of you or guess what you are going to do. Make room for cyclists and give them space to maneuver. Learn the rules of the road in your city by visiting your city's website, you might be surprised with what you find!
On the Defensive
It's always best to approach cyclists cautiously and to drive defensively. Whenever you are in doubt always take the safe route. Understand that cyclists are part of the traffic flow, not separate from it. Competing with cyclists is dangerous, be patient and understand the the basic rules of the road: don't make right turns in front of them, don't make a left turn in front of an oncoming cyclist and never gun it at an intersection to avoid overlooking a cyclist racing to make it across the street before the light change. One bad move can be fatal to a cyclist, practice the patience you would give a pedestrian and give them a few extra seconds to pass and make moves.
When a cyclist and a driver are in an accident, the driver will more than likely be be at fault and can risk license suspension and loss of auto insurance coverage. Surprisingly, car doors are a common and major hazard to cyclists. They can get "doored" when an unsuspecting cyclist collides with a an open car door. As a driver parking street side, beware of cyclists passing by before opening your car door.