Motorists – Tips to Consider When Using the Roads with Cyclists

8th September 2014

Last week, we advised cyclists on various methods to keep them safe and aware of correct etiquette when using the roads, so this week is the turn of car drivers.

It’s a well-known debate – the car driver vs. the cyclist. But who is right? Clue: No one, we’re all responsible for our own actions and the blame never lies with one consistent party.

However, we can ALL do things to make these situations less likely and we want to give vehicle users – even cyclists have cars – the chance to play it safe when using the roads with bike users.

1. Motorists should accept that cyclists are a lot more vulnerable

It sounds fairly obvious, but it’s easy to be oblivious to just how vulnerable a cyclist is, in comparison to other vehicles on our roads. If there is a mistake made, it’s not worth getting pent up about or “seeking revenge” – remember a car can weigh two tonnes, a bicycle is about 20 pounds of weight.

2. Know the rights of yourself and cyclists – Highway Code revision!

Yes, cyclists should know the rules of the road and be fully aware of the restrictions and requirements of cyclists as per the Highway Code, but equally if you’re on the road you should too. As with any driver in any situation, your mind

3. Think about how, ultimately, cyclists are benefitting you, the motorist

You may think “pfft” to that, but he / she on that bike is helping you through your day! Why? It’s one less car to stand behind at the traffic lights and one less car looking for a parking space at your weekly shop. Cyclists may get “in the way”, in your own mind, but actually they’re not causing any pollution and easing traffic congestion – win / win.

4. Beware how your innocent actions can impact – left turns

Intersections and left turns are both situations which risk a serious collision for cyclists and motorists – bringing us back to rules #1 and #2. Often, drivers believe that when making a left turn and seeing a cyclist they have lots of time to navigate that turn – but you don’t. A cyclist can be going at speeds up to 20mph and your car is slowing down rapidly!

5. Space is key for cyclists

If it’s windy, give them at least three feet of space – remember that weather conditions and wind resistance all have an effect on the reaction times and abilities of a cyclist. Don’t forget as well that you should look before opening car doors and never ever use your phone while driving – if you’re about to set off, ensure you check all blind spots. Avoid the urge to speed up past a cyclist; it makes everyone’s journey much safer if you pass at a steady speed with a significant space between you both.

6. As cyclists should remain alert, you should remain aware too

Don’t just negatively criticise cyclists. Use your judgement and common sense to decipher how a situation should turn out, but always be ready to act differently if events change. Remember that the cyclist is still a human, just using a different mode of transport. If both parties respect the fact that we all have to share the roads, there would be no issues.

Above all, there are laws for all kinds of road users and pedestrians, please ensure you have a solid knowledge of the Highway Code and new regulations.

When leaving work tonight or going out, remember that it often only takes an avoidable poor call of anyone’s judgement to cause an accident that could prove fatal.

If you have any top tips of some positive stories about cyclists and motorists working together on the UK (or global) roads, get in touch with us at @UKBikeBus!

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