10 Tips for Drivers: How to Safely Share the Road with Cyclists

More than half of Canadians have been in, or know someone who has been in, a cycling accident. Although our cities are becoming more bike-friendly, cycling can still be dangerous.

It is important for both cyclists and drivers to understand how to operate safely on the road. Here are 10 tips for drivers on how to safely share the road with cyclists:

1)      Always Look Before Opening Your Door. Running into a car door is a cyclist’s nightmare. On busy roads, drivers run the risk of clotheslining cyclists by opening their doors without checking.

2)      Give Cyclists at Least 3 Feet of Space. A sudden bump or hole can cause cyclists to swerve into your lane. By giving some leeway, you lessen the risk of a collision. It is also important not to tailgate—cyclists can stop just as suddenly as a car.

3)      Do not Blindly Pass a Cyclist. If you can’t see beyond the cyclist in front of you, it is safest not to pass. You risk running into another vehicle, hitting the cyclist, or at the very least scaring the cyclist and causing them to swerve.

4)      Respect the Bike Lane. Parking in the bike lane forces cyclist to swerve into traffic and reduces visibility.

5)      Cyclists Roll through Stop Signs. Unfortunately, this is a fact. Many cyclists either coast through or slow to a crawl before proceeding through intersections. Even if you have arrived at a stop sign first, expect the cyclist to cross before you.

6)      Drive Defensively. Even if you are the only car on the road, drive with caution. Always check your blind spots before turning and drive slowly around blind corners. When backing up, proceed slowly and check behind you.

7)      Pay Attention at Intersections. At stop lights, it is possible some cyclists will run a late yellow or red light, especially when going downhill. It is important to proceed through a green light cautiously. When turning left on a green light, pay extra attention to cyclists going straight.

8)      Be Patient. Getting angry with cyclists accomplishes little. Yes, cyclists may move slower, but unless they are in a dangerous situation, refrain from shouting or using your horn.

9)      Stay Focused. When driving in areas with heavy traffic, refrain from listening to loud music or fiddling with your audio system. Try to stay attentive with both hands on the wheel.

10)  Try it.  Cycling is a great way to stay fit, healthy, and environmentally friendly. If you’re tired of getting jammed up in traffic as cyclists whiz by, wheel your bike out of the garage and take it for a spin.

If you or someone you know has been in a cycling accident, please contact MacGillivray Injury and Insurance at 902-755-0398 for professional advice.

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