by

Driving tips

Tips for sharing the road with cyclists

All road users - car drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, tricylists, unicyclists (not sure that's legal) and pedestrians - deserve to be safe.

Drivers often accuse cyclists of causing crashes but a study of 2,500 bike-car collisions in Toronto found that cyclists caused less than 10% of the crashes. Motorists were responsible for the rest.

You can help cyclists stay safe with a few simple rules:

1. In traffic

Keep a watchful eye out for cyclists in slow moving or stationary traffic. Because they can cycle alongside the car traffic, you need to check your mirrors before moving.

2. When overtaking

It's perfectly fine to overtake a cyclist - sometimes they'll even help you out by signalling the road is clear ahead.

Just make sure you give them as much space as you would overtaking a car, bearing in mind that they might have to swerve out to avoid potholes and other hazards.

3. When turning right

You know the drill: Mirrors - Signal - Maneuver. When you're turning right, you must check your right mirror to make sure a cyclist hasn't pulled up alongside you.

Don’t forget to turn your head to the right and perform a shoulder check to make sure that the cyclist isn’t in your blind spot.

4. When turning left

Cyclists can be super speedy, so make sure you definitely have time to turn if a cyclist is approaching in the opposite direction. If in doubt, let them go first. You can always turn when it's safe.

If you’re driving at night, be extra vigilant for bicyclists who may not have their lights flashing.

5. When opening your car door

Once you’ve parked, you must check your mirrors for cyclists before emerging so that they don’t collide with your door.

Remember that cyclists can be very fast - so don’t open your door until they’ve passed, or you risk badly injuring the cyclist as well as wrecking your car.

6. When driving out from a lane or driveway

Crashing into a cyclist is pretty much the worst way to start your journey, so be sure to check your rear and side view mirrors repeatedly before backing out of your driveway.

Make sure you stop at all stop signs to keep from hitting a cyclist when emerging from a lane. Move forward slowly as you scan left and right for approaching cyclists.

Remember:

You're not the most important thing on the road. Cyclists and pedestrians have just as much right to be safe.


By

Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. She started learning to drive last year, at the age of 24.