May 1st officially kicked off National Bike Month. Though we are already halfway through the month, it’s still extremely important to be aware of bicyclists and know how to appropriately share the road with them. To properly learn how to watch for bicyclists and how to practice safe driving techniques, we encourage you to keep reading. These tips shouldn’t just be observed in May, but year round.
Now that the weather is nicer, more and more people on bicycles will be on the road. As a driver, the first thing you need to do is look for these bicyclists and be aware of their presence. Before you can properly share the road with those on bikes, you must know that they’re there. Specifically look for bicyclists when you’re changing lanes.
Be Mindful of Sidewalks
You never know how a cyclist will react, specifically those who are children. Therefore, it’s necessary to be cautious of sidewalks. When pulling out of a driveway or parking lot, yield to bicyclists who are on sidewalks. Also, be mindful of cyclists on the sidewalk who may accidentally fall or swerve into traffic.
Pass and Turn with Caution
It’s particularly important to be aware of bicyclists when you’re passing and/or turning your vehicle. When you’re passing, make sure to leave plenty of room between yourself and the biker (usually at least three feet). If you’re traveling at a fast speed, then make sure to significantly slow down before you pass.
Whether you turn left or right, make sure to look for cyclists. It’s important to not cut in front of bikes. Since bikes are smaller, they are usually harder to spot and may be closer than they actually appear. Be patient and wait for the bike to pass you before making your move.
Stopping at Stop Signs
When vehicles stop at stop signs (four-way stops, particularly), they usually look for other automobiles, but what about bicyclists? Cyclists are allowed and have the right to be on the road. The same rules apply — if the cyclist arrived at the intersection first, then he or she gets to go first.
As mentioned, bicycles are much smaller than automobiles. Therefore, they are often times harder to see. Be aware of your blind spots, as they can completely hide a cyclist. It’s also important to look around before you open your car door, as you don’t want to accidently hit someone on a bike.
Always Remember to Share the Road
May may be National Bike Month, but it’s still important to look for cyclists every day of every month. Sharing the road isn’t that difficult and can even prevent an accident from happening. After all, the road doesn’t belong to just one person. Take time, look for cyclists, and be safe on the road!