There are many bicycles on today’s roads. More people are using bicycles as a means to commute for entertainment and for exercise. Some of the more common reasons include low cost to operate, reducing the consumption of fossil fuels, and exercise.
Motorists should remember these tips when sharing the road with a cyclist:
- A bicycle is considered by law to be a vehicle. When a cyclist has stopped and remains astride their bicycle at an intersection and/or for a traffic signal, they are to be treated as a vehicle waiting for their turn to proceed.
- Many children riding bicycles on the street may lack the necessary training and skills for safe cycling. They may not be aware of all dangers.
- Be alert for small children on oversized bicycles. This may increase the likelihood for loss of control.
- When passing a cyclist, go around them like you would any other vehicle. Leave lots of room.
- When you are preparing to make a right turn, watch for cyclists who may pull up alongside your vehicle. Remember to shoulder-check your blind spots.
- When you are about to make a right turn, do not pull up beside a cyclist and then turn directly in front of them and cut them off.
- When pulling away from the curb, always check for cyclists who may be trying to pass you.
- When parked at the curb, always check for cyclists before you open your vehicle door. It’s the driver’s responsibility not to open the vehicle door into traffic.
- Do not follow too close behind cyclists. They do not have brake lights to warn you when they are stopping.
- Cyclists are entitled to make left turns in the same manner as motorists. Since they are more exposed to traffic on left turns, they will need extra consideration, especially on multi-lane roads.
- Cyclists are required to ride as close as practicable to the curb, however they may need to ride further out when they have to steer away from drainage grates, pot holes, debris, loose gravel or sand, wet or slippery surfaces, rutted or grooved pavement and even dogs. Be aware of the roadway conditions that may affect a cyclist.
- Do not sound your horn unnecessarily when you are overtaking a cyclist. It may startle them and cause them to lose control. If you feel that you must use your horn, tap it quickly and lightly while you are still some distance away from the cyclist.
- Cyclists should also remember that, when they are riding their bicycles on streets and highways, they are considered by law to be a vehicle. Therefore they are required to obey all the rules of the road, which apply to other (motorized) vehicles, plus those that apply only to bicycle operators.
Cyclists using the streets and highways should:
- Never ride against traffic. It is one of the leading causes of crashes, accounting for 15% to 20% of all crashes with cars.
- Keep both hands on the handlebars except when making a hand signal.
- Keep both feet on the pedals.
- Not carry more people at one time than the bicycle was designed for.
- Not hold onto, attach themselves, or attach the bicycle to any other moving vehicle.
- Only ride side by side on the road with another cyclist when it does not impede other traffic. If traffic doesn’t have enough room to pass you safely, ride single file.
- Ensure the bicycle is equipped with at least one white light to the front and a red light and or red reflector mounted on the rear of the bicycle when riding between sunset and sunrise.
- Ensure the bicycle has effective brakes.
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