Spring is here and the nicer weather means more bicycles and motorcycles traveling on the roads. Drivers should consider these factors as they begin to share the road with those riding on two wheels.
Escalating gasoline prices, a greater awareness of climate change, and the benefits of daily exercise have increased the number of cyclists commuting. Census.gov states 904,000 U.S. workers used their bicycle for their commute in 2014.
Since cyclists ride off the right side of the road and sometimes in your blind spot, it is very important to use extreme caution when executing right turns. Always stop at a red light or stop sign, check your rear view and side mirror, and shoulder check before turning. Use the same precautions when you parallel park.
Check Before Opening Door
You should always check your side mirror before you open your door. Opening your door without looking puts cyclists at risk. Your door could stop them in their tracks and cause serious injuries to them and damages to your car.
Give Them Room
Motorcycle riders and cyclists are more susceptible to potholes and debris on the road. Often times, they must quickly swerve to avoid these dangers, otherwise they could damage their bike or injure themselves.
Always give motorbikes and bicycles plenty of room, especially when passing. Slow when you pass and don’t follow too closely while traveling behind any vehicle. Two-wheeled riders aren’t surrounded by metal to protect them the way you are in your vehicle.
Respect Their Rights
Bicycles and motorcycles are vehicles and the same rules apply to them as cars and trucks. Bike lanes are for bicycles and a valuable resource as they improve visibility and safety.
Legally, cyclists must ride on the road, not sidewalks. Don’t block the bike lane or cyclists will need to ride around you and into moving vehicular traffic.
If you encounter a cyclist at an intersection, make eye contact and signal them to let them know they’re free to pass. Watch for hand signals indicating when they will slow or turn.
Use Extreme Caution Near Children
Children are harder to see when they’re riding and they don’t always know the rules or pay as much attention as they should. Always give them plenty of space, yield to them when needed, and pass slowly.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with an accident involving a bicycle, but you should know what to do. You should follow the same protocols you would if you’re in a vehicular accident. Pull over in a safe spot, call the police, and provide the rider with your insurance information. If they’re injured, call 9-1-1 for medical assistance.
Always ensure you have proper auto insurance liability coverage. It can help cover the cyclist’s medical and repair expenses if you’re at fault. If you need to file a claim, do so as soon as possible.