With the newfound warmer days, more Americans are choosing to trade their steering wheels for handlebars, and knowing how to share the road with cyclists has never been more important. Comparing cars to bikes may be apples to oranges, but behind every pair of handlebars is a fellow driver. That’s why our experts at Caliber have put our own spin on the following road-sharing tips to make sure the good times keep rolling for everyone on the road.
The Dutch Reach
Dooring is the act of opening a car door and striking a passing cyclist, and it’s among the leading causes of cyclist injury, especially in cities. The Dutch Reach refers to the Dutch practice of reaching across your body to open the driver’s side door with your right hand rather than left. This motion pivots your whole body, bringing your eyesight to the rear-view mirror and making it easier to see approaching cyclists.
Watch Your Distance
The majority of states require drivers to maintain at least 3ft of distance from cyclists, and some are increasing to 5ft in the future. This space gives both parties enough time to react should anyone hit the brakes or make an unexpected maneuver. A great rule of thumb is to keep a minimum distance of 3ft and add an additional foot of passing distance for every 10 mph above 30.
Bike Lane Safety
Respecting bike lanes is a must for drivers, especially those in urban communities. There are many kinds of lanes to watch out for, but driving or parking in these is universally against the rules. It’s always worth a second glance at the surrounding signage and road markings to make sure your vehicle doesn’t cause an unsuspecting cyclist to swerve into dangerous conditions.
Cyclists give important hand signals to indicate direction and intention, but it’s also a good idea for drivers to signal their each and every move in mixed traffic. Use your signals to warn cyclists when you’ll be turning and what direction you’re going. Rather than speeding to make a turn in time, yield to give riders time to cross or brake. When approaching an oncoming cyclist, it’s also encouraged to brake, if only to signal to the car behind you that a bike is coming.
Patience is key when it comes to sharing the road, and understanding that we’re all trying to get somewhere can help drivers keep their cool behind the wheel. Legally speaking, bikes share the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles, and should be treated as such. Being aware of your surroundings and having patience while driving increases everyone’s safety.
Diverse choices in transportation make communities more vibrant places for people to live, work and raise a family. Wherever you live, and however you choose to get around, you’re a part of keeping your community and your neighbors safe, just like our experts at Caliber Collision have a responsibility to restore the rhythm of your life, should any accidents occur on the road.
Until next time, our Caliber teammates wish you the best, whether you’re traveling on two wheels or four this summer.