Tips on Sharing the Road with Bicyclists

Tips for Cyclists

Biking is a healthy and eco-friendly way to commute, exercise, or just enjoy the outdoors. However, sharing the road with cars and trucks can be dangerous for cyclists. As a responsible driver, it is essential to be aware of cyclists on the road as well as cyclists being aware of the rules of the road when riding.

Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Always Remember to:

  • Yield to Pedestrians
  • Stop for stop signs
  • Signal turns
  • Travel with the flow of traffic

If you are riding a bicycle on the road, you are considered a vehicle on the road. Cyclists are required to obey the same road signs and traffic signals as motorists. Cyclists must always yield to pedestrians or other road users already in the intersection or crosswalk. Cyclists should always follow the rules of the road when riding in the streets and be extra cautious at busy intersections.

Cyclists may or may not be allowed on sidewalks in your community. If bikes are permitted on sidewalks, it is important to consider potential hazards such as:

  • Pedestrians with pets and strollers
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Obstructions such as debris, open gates, planters and landscaping
  • Other cyclists, runners, skateboarders and walkers.

Remember you are sharing the road with others and with that comes responsibility and awareness. If you are riding alongside large vehicles such as vans, SUV’s, trucks and motor homes you should be extra cautious. These vehicles have massive blind spots and drivers may not see you.  Here are some additional safety tips when sharing the road with large vehicles:

  • Scan left, center and right.
  • Give extra distance behind large vehicles, their blind spots may be too big to see you.
  • Be extra cautious when you are behind a large vehicle turning right.

Tips for Drivers

When sharing the road with cyclists, it is important to consider bicyclist vulnerability. A car weighs 2 tons and a bike weighs a mere 20 pounds. Knowing the difference in size and weight between cars and bikes will allow a driver to be more mindful of space on the road when sharing it with a cyclist.

Important facts to consider when sharing the road:

  • Bicycles on the roadway are considered vehicles. This is true for any cyclist 10 years and older.
  • Not all cities allow bicycles on the sidewalk. Therefore, the road or indicated riding area would be the correct area for cyclists to ride.
  • Cyclists are on the same level as motorists. They have the same rights and responsibilities.
  • Adjust your attitude with entitlement on the road and be patient. There is a human on that bike and they have every right to share the road with drivers.

Cyclists agree that giving them space on the roadway can make a huge difference in safety. Over 20 states have passed laws requiring motorists to give bicycles on the roadway  3 feet of space. The 3-foot rule helps drivers by giving them a concrete frame of reference.

Drivers must be alert and patient while sharing the road. Drivers should also note these important tips:

  • Put your cellphones down. (You shouldn’t be on your phone while driving no matter what!)
  • Look twice for cyclists before turning left or right onto a road.
  • Check before opening your car door when parked on a street.
  • Accept that cyclists are here to stay.

Bicycling is on the rise. People are no longer just biking for exercise or work. Cyclists are riding to the grocery store, school, and for many, riding is the only form of transportation. The more we consider others on the road, the safer it will be when we share it.