Tips Both Bike/Car Drivers Can Use to Effectively Share the Road
Whether you are headed to the skatepark or on a trip to the store, bikes are a great way to get around. However, as a cyclist, you place yourself at risk every time your mount your bike and start riding on or near the road. Any time an accident between a car and bicyclist occurs, it’s always the bicyclist who receives the worser injuries. As such, car drivers should do everything they can to drive safely around bicyclists. Yet bicyclists can do their part in making the road a safe place to journey on by practicing bike safety. Here are a few tips for both car drivers and bicyclists to consider.
1. Bicyclists: Wear High-Visibility Clothing
For those who ride their bikes, it’s important to wear high-visibility clothing. This might mean reflective straps are attached to your clothes. Or it might be brightly-colored shirts and pants. Making yourself visible to cars is essential to your safety. Even if you have the right way, cars might not see you if you’re wearing dark colors when it’s night time.
You can also add reflective strapping to your shoes and bike to ensure every part of your is seen by the driver. This is all very obvious but is very frequently overlooked by cyclists on the road, not to mention BMX bikes that are almost always stripped of their reflectors.
2. Car Drivers: Keep Your Distance
It’s good practice for car drivers to keep a good distance away from the bike lane even if they don’t see a bike on it. Just because you don’t see a biker doesn’t mean that they’re not there. They could be in a low-to-the-ground bike or might be coming up right behind you. It’s possible they’ve also stopped directly in your blind spot without knowing.
By just giving plenty of distance between your car and the bike lane normally, you never have to worry about becoming too close to a bicyclist.
3. Bicyclist: Install Lights
Another good move that a bicyclist can make to improve their safety is to install lights on their bike. They can be colorful or simply white. You can include a headlight on your bike or just use the lights on the back of the bike. Lights can make it possible for cars to spot you from several feet off and they may be required by law in your area.
Flashing lights, in particular, can attract their attention immediately as opposed to stationary lights.
4. Car Drivers: Triple Check Before Opening Door
One frequent cause of an accident between a car driver and a bicyclist is opening the door. A bicyclist can see if someone is about to exit their car. They could be riding at a fast pace and be unable to stop when they need to in order to prevent a crash.
A practice that car drivers should adopt is to reach with their right hand for the door handle rather than their left. Doing so pivots their body, so they’re forced to look at the mirror and behind them as they open the door. They have a greater chance of seeing a bicyclist approaching.
It’s also good practice to just go slowly and triple check the area around them. Don’t turn away from your blindspot or mirrors while you’re opening a door. By actively looking, you can prevent the accident from happening.
5. Bicyclists: Stay in the Bike Lane
Perhaps the biggest way that bicyclists can protect themselves is to stay in the bike lane. It may be tempting to sometimes weave around when you’re blocked by traffic. Don’t give in to temptation. This could cause a serious accident.
Stay in the lane. It’s there specifically for bicyclists and will keep you safe provided everyone follows the rules. You’ll want to pay attention to your steering, too. Don’t weave in and out of the bike lane because you’re texting or not paying attention.
6. Car Drivers: Understand Biking Signals
Bicyclists have to give hand signals when they’re turning or performing other movements. Car drivers should understand what those signals mean. Misinterpretation could result in a serious injury of the bicyclist even though they gave you all of the warnings that you needed.
We hope these tips are informative or at the very least a reminder of the respect the road deserves whether you are on a bike or in a car.