How to Drive Safely Around Cyclists
With the recent push towards alternative modes of transport, more people are switching to commuting using bikes, leading to an increase in cyclists on the roads.
Cyclists (alongside pedestrians) are considerably more vulnerable on the roads than those driving cars. Cyclists rely heavily on responsible behaviour from drivers, which is why motorists need to understand how to interact with them safely.
While inattentive, bad driving is a concern to all road users, it is especially alarming to those who are cycling. Cyclists not only suffer from dangerous impact collisions, but can be regularly subject to “near misses” on an almost weekly basis.
The following advice can help motorists to help cyclists have a smoother and safer experience while navigating the roads:
- Avoid speeding
- Do not open doors without looking first
- Do not closely overtake (including on bends). Make sure to leave plenty of space when overtaking a cyclists. At least a cars width when overtaking at lower speeds (20-30mph). Allow even more space when you are travelling at higher speeds, or when driving a lorry or other large vehicle.
- Look for cyclists before turning at junctions or roundabouts
- Do not try to squeeze past a cyclist if there is not enough room to do so safely
- Do not break rapidly around cyclists or follow them too closely
- Do not park in cycle lanes as this can force cyclists to have to pull out into the main stream of traffic, adding unnecessary risk to their journey
- Take care when parking
- Always check mirrors and blind spots before moving from a fixed position
- Watch for their signals to find out what they intend to do next. This could include raising an arm as an indicator of the direction they intend to turn in, or looking back behind them if they are preparing to change direction
- Never cut in or turn left sharply after overtaking a cyclist
Some drivers report feeling aggravated when they find cyclists ‘in the way’ – riding away from the kerb or in the middle of the traffic lane. This may be due to the fact that drivers are unaware of advice given by the National standard for cycle training. They are told to ride away from the gutter to avoid any surface defects or drain covers. They are also advised to ‘take the lane’ to deter drivers from overtaking them when there is not enough room to do so safely.
These steps are in place to protect everyone and being aware is important for making the roads safer for everyone.
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