Over the past few years, you may have noticed that more bicyclists are on the road than ever before. It’s not your imagination. In 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 900,000 people biked to work. That number doesn’t include the people who jump on their bikes when the weather warms up or the kids in neighborhoods who bike to school.
The road can be a dangerous place for cyclists. A helmet and knee pads aren’t the same thing as the safety of a car or a seatbelt. When you’re out on the road, you can do your part to help keep everyone on two wheels a little safer. Keep these things in mind to safely share the road.
- Be careful making turns. Come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs and look around. Make sure to check your blind spot.
- Pass riders slowly and carefully. Give them a wide berth of at least three to four feet. If you can, get into the other lane.
- Keep out of bike lanes. If you need to pull over, find a place with no bike lane so you don’t force a bicyclist into traffic to get around you. You could also pose a danger to a rider when you’re ready to get out of the bike lane, too.
- Don’t crowd riders on the road. Give them several feet of space in front of you.
- Yield to bikes and let them go ahead of you. While bicycles have to obey the rules of the road like you do, they are smaller and more vulnerable than you are.
- Keep your eyes open for children on bicycles, especially in school zones and residential neighborhoods. They’re smaller and can get lost in your blind spots more easily. They may also be more wobbly or prone to falling as they learn to control their bicycle.
- Look before opening your car door when you’re parked on the street. Bicyclists are often in danger of being hit by a door or running into one that’s been opened quickly.
- Watch out for hand signals indicating which way they’re about to turn.
If you are in an accident with a cyclist, do everything you would normally do for a car accident. Get to safety as quickly as you can. The bike rider may need help depending on the severity of the accident. Make sure to call emergency services if needed and to share insurance information. Call your insurance provider as soon as possible to start the claim process.
Bikes and cars can share the road safely. The important thing is to be watchful and slow down when you see a bike on the road with you.
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