The open road is called “open” for a reason. It’s meant to be shared and enjoyed by all.
But, that does mean things can get crowded. Between bicyclists, cars, pedestrians, scooters, and motorcycles, we all need to do our part to be cautious and aware of our surroundings.
It is especially important for bicycles and cars to learn to share the road. As commuting and traveling by bike increases, cities are having a hard time updating roads to be bicycle-friendly. That means cars need to be on the lookout, and bicyclists need to be extra cautious.
So what are some ways that bikes and cars can share the road safely and efficiently?
Here are some helpful tips for bikes and cars to follow to make the road a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
For Car Drivers
GIVE BIKES SPACE
Always slow down and give cyclists plenty of space to ride. Change lanes to give them more room when possible.
CHECK BLIND SPOTS
Bicyclists can be in unexpected places, and you need to be on the lookout. And be sure to look over your shoulder if you are merging into the bike lane to make a turn.
BE AWARE OF WEATHER CONDITIONS
Never tailgate cyclists, especially in bad weather when they may have to stop suddenly. Bike riders are more exposed to the elements and are more likely to fall or crash due to bad weather conditions.
YIELD TO CYCLISTS
Most people know pedestrians have the right of way, but this is a good rule-of-thumb for drivers to have for cyclists as well. Let them go first when you can and allow them extra time to travel across the intersection.
Try to leave about four feet between you and the bicyclists when passing. Wait for the right time, and always check over your shoulder before and after passing a vehicle.
LOOK FOR CYCLISTS WHEN OPENING CAR DOORS
Many bicyclists get injured when drivers open their car doors unexpectedly into the bike lane and they ride right into it. Be sure to check for bikes before opening any car doors to avoid an injury.
For Bike Riders
OBEY ALL TRAFFIC SIGNS AND LAWS
Remember, traffic signs and laws are applicable to all vehicles. Bicycles are vehicles too, so you need to follow the rules of the road. And be sure to use hand signals for turning.
RIDE IN THE SAME DIRECTION AS TRAFFIC
If you are in a city that isn’t particularly bike-friendly and doesn’t have a bike lane, always ride in the lane furthest to the right that will still get you to your destination. And always go with the flow of traffic.
Riding smart means riding predictably for drivers and cautiously. Always be on the lookout for potential hazards and anticipate them. You want to make it as easy as possible for drivers to predict your riding moves so they can accommodate your needs. Road riding is not the time to be weaving in-and-out of traffic or trying new tricks.
Dress in brightly colored clothing, preferably with reflectors when riding. Also, invest in lights for the front and back of your bike to make it easier for cars to spot you on the road.
The Bottom Line for Drivers and Riders
Be courteous and look out for one another. Sharing the road means doing everything in your power to make it easier for the other people on the road. If everyone helps out, the road can be a safe place for all who wish to use it.