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Advice for Safely Sharing the Road with Bicyclists

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people riding bicycles on road safety tips

One of the first principles you learn as a beginning driver–and people need to be reminded of on a regular basis–is that you have to safely share the road.

That doesn’t just pertain to other vehicles. Bicycles are common in many urban and suburban neighborhoods–with a 2012 census noting 865,000 US workers using biking as their main transportation–but many motorists have never been taught proper safety techniques to drive around non-motorized transportation.

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11 Tips for Respecting Cyclists on the Road

  • Be extra careful when driving in an area you know has a lot of bicycle traffic (such as some metropolitan neighborhoods or parks).
  • Check your blind spots often, as bicycles often don’t show in rearview mirrors due to size and position.
  • Don’t tailgate; instead, give those on bicycles plenty of space on the road—especially in bad weather conditions.
  • Reduce your speed when approaching and passing someone on a bicycle.
  • Allow at least 4 feet of space between you and the cyclist if you’re passing one on the road. If this means having to wait until the coast is clear, have patience.
  • If you’re parallel parking on the street, look before opening your car door to avoid injuring a passing cyclist.
  • Look for the cyclist to signal with their hands or move their feet to brake.
  • Yield to cyclists when turning, giving them the right-of-way. At intersections, watch carefully when turning right, and keep an eye out for cyclists turning left in front of you.
  • Don’t unnecessarily honk your horn at cyclists, especially if you’re up close to one.
  • Give those on bicycles the same respect and consideration you would give to another driver on the road.
  • Give cyclists extra time to pass through intersections—they don’t move as fast as motorized vehicles.

It’s hard to predict how bicyclists will act on the road since they don’t always follow the same behavior that motorized vehicles do, so it’s up to us driving cars to make sure we take extra caution to avoid accidents.

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Sources: Metropolitan Police Department of DC, esurance, AAA, Yield to Life