The disrespect and disregard motorists give bicyclists on the road did not start today. It will likely not end with the list of rules and regulations because there will be floaters. Often, motorists need to give bicyclists the recognition they have every legal right to have.
For some motorists, bicyclists are simply nuisances you can crash into. They easily ignore and dismiss them, and sometimes it ends in fist shaking, disrespect, and, worse still, crashes. However, this is not only an unfair and illegal behavior on the motorists’ part.
There are already rules and guidelines to help vehicle drivers make things easier for bicyclists. However, while many are ignorant of these things, those who do know ignore them. If you are a motorist, below are five things you should know to help you coexist peacefully with bicyclists, thus improving safety.
1. The Law Is With Them Also
Bicyclists have as much legal right to the road as do vehicle owners; they are not borrowing the road. The law gives them the right to be on the road, and the traffic rules apply to them. Thus, a motorist treating bicyclists as though the road does not belong to them infringes on their rights.
2. Maintain the Three-Feet Rule
The Three Feet for Safety Act came into existence in 2014 and stated that motorists should give bicyclists three feet of space. Many states in the United States have and follow such laws, that includes California.
Thus, when you pass a bicyclist on the road, ensure sufficient space between you and them. This helps keep both you and the cyclist safe. For instance, if one suddenly stops, the other has enough time to react without crashing into each other.
3. Recognize Bike Lanes and Steer Clear
Bike lanes are there for a reason: to reduce the risk of bicycles crashing into vehicles. However, often, motorists dominate these bike lanes, leaving the bikes on the edge of the road.
Meanwhile, the road’s edge is filled with several potential hazards, including sand, uneven and cracked pavement, and debris. Therefore, as a responsible motorist intent on contributing to maximum road safety, recognize the bike lanes and steer clear of them.
4. Be Extra Careful on Turns
Bicycles are typically small and sometimes inconspicuous. You must pay attention to avoid being caught unawares by a bicyclist suddenly coming out of a bend. Thus, pay extra attention to the road when turning left at intersections, driveways, alleys, and side streets.
Likewise, when making right turns, always signal to the road’s edge before you make your move. In addition, you should only make a turn, right or left, after the bicyclist has passed through the intersection. You can prevent sudden crashes by paying extra attention to other road users when you want to make turns.
Motorists and bicyclists can easily and peacefully coexist if each road user is mindful of the other. Harmony is possible by acknowledging that you are not the only one using the road and respecting other road users.
“Also, when every road user knows and follows the road’s rules, they improve safety significantly. The more enlightened drivers we have on the road, the lower the rates of collisions we will record.” says attorney Felix Gonzalez of Felix Gonzalez Accident and Injury Law Firm.