Cycling is safe and since 2010 the number of cyclists killed on our roads has fallen to its lowest record ever. However, there are still too many injuries and deaths, with 3337 cyclists being killed or seriously injured in 2015 alone. This is why we need to remain vigilant as both cyclists and drivers because, like it or not, we share the road and we must learn to coexist. So what can we do as car drivers to coexist more peacefully with cyclists. Here is a reminder of our responsibilities and rules for driving near cyclists.
- Know and Understand the rights of Cyclists – many drivers don’t know the traffic laws that apply to cyclists. Bicycles on the road are considered vehicles and anyone on a bike over the age of 10 should behave as though they have vehicles, riding in the same direction as traffic and following the same rules.
- Correct your attitude – motorists have a tendency to think of cyclists as of lesser stature on the road but really we should recondition ourselves to think of them as equals. We need to humanize the bike riders when we feel we are getting impatient with them. If we think that that cyclist could be our neighbour, our child or our friend then we might just learn to be a little more patient and gracious with our driving.
- Traffic law states that drivers must pass at a safe distance but unfortunately many drivers pass too close and this is what puts many people off cycling altogether.
- Cyclists who ride too close to the edge of the road are at risk of colliding with parked car doors suddenly opening or of falling off their bike due to hazards such as sand, poor pavement or debris. Make sure you give them plenty of space so they are not forced onto the rough terrain.
- Make sure to yield to cyclists when turning left or entering the road from a side street, driveway or parking lane. There are many blind spots for spotting cyclists and situations change quickly so check and check again. For Vehicle Safety Cameras that can help you with all round vision around your car or truck, visit http://www.backwatch.co.uk/.
- Cyclists need to play their part too in the journey towards understanding and cooperation. Good cyclists will cooperate with drivers by yielding when they need to, choosing the correct lane, obeying traffic signals, using lights during poor visibility and following the same laws as all other road users.
Here are some of the ways a selfish driver might approach a cyclist:
- Bikes don’t belong on the road, they aren’t licensed so they shouldn’t be on the road
- Cyclists cause traffic delays
- Cyclists ignore road rules and traffic signals
- Cyclists shouldn’t be on the road as they have designated cycle paths
In response to those opinions we say:
- Cyclists are considered drivers of vehicles so have every right to be on the road and they don’t need to be licensed because it is a common law for anyone to use public roads. Driving a motor vehicle is considered dangerous and is therefore a privilege that can be revoked
- Most traffic is caused by cars and even if it is a cyclist, it is impossible for anyone to use public roads without causing occasional delay at some point
- Cyclists who know how to ride safely in traffic should be able to cycle anywhere they please. Every road should be thought of as a bike lane too.