Saturday, November 14, 2009

15 Safety Rules for Motorists Sharing the Road

The other day I wrote 30 Safety Rules for Bicyclists. One of the comments I received was that I should also write something for motorists. I think that is an excellent idea and will try to do my best.

Bicycles have as much right to be on the road as do other vehicles, so here are some rules for motorists as they apply to bicyclists:

1. Be patient when passing a bicyclist. Slow down and pass only when it is safe.

2. Allow at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist. Change lanes if possible.

3. Expect that children on bikes will not follow rules, even if you think they should. They don't think the same way adults do. Even when they know the rules, they may not follow them.

4. Always look carefully for bicyclists before opening doors next to moving traffic.

5. Always look for bicyclists before making right turns. Do not pass bicyclists if you will be making a right turn immediately afterward. They could be traveling straight through.

6. When making left turns, be careful to not cut off bicyclists also making left turns from that lane.

7. When making left turns, do not turn in front of bicycles coming toward you from the opposite direction. They have the right of way, just as a motorized vehicle would.

8. Bicyclists are extremely difficult to see at and after dusk. They should have lights and reflectors, but sometimes they don't.

9. Remember that bicycles are vehicles and they belong on the road. Treat them with the respect that you would any other vehicle.

10. Bicyclists need room to get around potholes, sewer grates, manhole covers, cracks in the pavement, and other hazards. Give them some space.

11. Don't honk your horn when approaching a bicyclist. It could surprise or frighten them and cause them to crash.

12. Be extra cautious around bicycles in bad weather conditions. Slippery roads are much worse for bicyclists than for motorists.

13. Remember that bicycles are less visible, quieter, and don't have a crumple zone around them. Always be on the lookout for them.

14. It can be difficult to judge the speed of a bicycle. While they're usually slower that regular traffic, some can be traveling 25-30 mph (or faster).

15. In some locales if a bicycle cannot be passed safely, it cannot legally be passed. These laws do permit passing of a slow moving vehicle in a no passing zone if it is safe.

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