Despite common rhetoric, cyclists and drivers can get along just fine. Regardless of the fact that the road is a narrow place, drivers must be mindful that they are sharing it with their two-wheeled counterparts. When in a car, it can be easy to forget to keep your eyes peeled for bicycles. However, drivers of motorized vehicles must understand the vulnerable state that all cyclists ride in.
According to the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), each year, hundreds of cyclists die in motor vehicle accidents. Additionally, 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured while commuting. As a driver, it is your responsibility to keep the road safe for yourself, and every person around you, as bicycles and cars are both entitled to space on the road.
The good news is, you can expand your knowledge on how to safely share the road with cyclists with these helpful tips:
Know Their Rules
In order to know how to co-exist peacefully with cyclists on the road, you need to be aware of their rules of the road. Many vehicle drivers believe that cyclists are required by law to ride within a metre of the curb, however, this information is false. While cyclists do tend to stick near the curb in order to minimize their risk of accident, they are not required to when they are keeping the speed of surrounding traffic. Furthermore, just like cars, cyclists also need to change lanes. If a cyclist needs to make a left turn, he or she is permitted to do so from a left-turn lane.
In order for you to minimize your risk of colliding with a bicycle, you must be aware of the freedom they have to ride wherever they so choose. While most bikers will stay on your right, be cautious and always check your mirrors and blind spots to ensure you are aware if one is ever coming up behind you from another side.
Know Your Rules
In order to avoid a fine or collision, it’s imperative that you’re aware of the unique rules that drivers must follow pertaining to cyclists. When passing a bicycle on the road, you are required to maintain a minimum distance of one metre between where your car is driving and where their bike is riding. While many drivers, notably city ones, ignore this rule, you should not follow suit. Failure to comply with this law can result in a fine within the range of $60 to $500, plus two demerits on your record, and a dramatically increased risk of accident.
While car drivers have signals to communicate with one another what their next move will be, cyclists do not. You may notice some relying on arm movements to indicate the intent to turn, however, no bicycles have break lights to warn vehicles when they are slowing down or stopping. It remains crucial to everyone’s safety that you avoid following too closely behind any bikers due to this.
Intersections are a hotbed for miscommunication and accidents. In fact, cyclists are more likely to be killed or injured when moving through an intersection. You can do your part to keep cyclists safe at intersections a variety of different ways. On a right turn, signalling and checking your mirrors and blind spot can decrease your chances of cutting a cyclist off. On a left turn, be sure to wait for any oncoming cyclists to get by you before making your move. Finally, when driving through an intersection, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled not only for cars, but also cyclists who are turning left.
Everyone has somewhere to be, but unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents happen every day due to individuals rushing to arrive at their final destination. While cyclists have an enormous role to play in ensuring they ride safely, drivers must understand the susceptibility they experience to accidents.
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