With May being National Bike Month, it is a great time to review safety awareness for sharing the road with bicycles.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 738 bicyclists were killed in collisions with vehicles in 2017, including 53 children. Bicyclists have the same rights as drivers. Bicycles are smaller and not as visible as other vehicles, which can create challenges. With recreational and competitive cycling increasing in popularity, coexisting has to be the norm.
Here are some tips that every driver should know:
- Slow down when approaching or passing a rider. This will allow you to better maneuver around the cyclist and also will let drivers behind you know there is a reason to slow down. Treat them like any other slow-moving vehicle.
- Take a few extra seconds when making a turn to look for bicyclists. (cyclists have the right of way)
- Look for signals given by a bicyclist, such as a left or right turn and/or a stop signal.
- Be observant when backing. Children on small bikes can be especially hard to see.
- Don’t park in bike lanes. This causes riders to have to swerve into traffic lanes.
- Don’t take for granted that a rider can hear you. Riders hear a lot of surrounding noise while cycling and some listen to music while riding.
- Be cautious when you open your door after parking as well, especially if parked on a narrow street.
Remember, riding a bike isn’t always easy, have some patience as riders deal with road hazards that may not be an issue for cars but may be dangerous for cyclists.
Try biking, you may like it! Remember to observe rules of the road, stay to the right and wear a helmet!
– Lisa Robinson is a senior program manager with the National Safety Council