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Safe Driving Series: Bike Lane Safety

Whether they are riding for leisure or have taken to two wheels as an alternative to their regular commute, cyclists are everywhere. While it may be cliche to say, motorists must learn to share the road. By law, cyclists carry the same rights as motor vehicles. In order to better share the road and avoid collision, follow these safety tips for motorists:

  1. Reduce your speed. When approaching a bicycle, approach with caution and try to switch into another lane if possible. If the lane is extra narrow, anything can cause a pedalist to swerve into oncoming traffic.

  2. Don’t honk! You may startle the rider and they would be more likely to swerve or be thrown off balance. Instead, try to make eye contact and head to right-of-way when available.

  3. Be patient. Just as important as reducing your speed, be patient with riders, be mindful if children are present, as they may be less aware of their surroundings, and use caution if the lanes shift or narrow. Always allow the pedalist to pass if you can give them the right-of-way, and watch out for hand signals to let you know which way they intend to go.

  4. Practice the 3-foot rule. Most states have passed laws requiring motorists to give cyclists at least 3 feet of clearance space. Regardless of whether your state is one of those requiring this allowance, it is a good practice to follow. Cyclists can average 15-20 mph, so even if you think that you can out-drive them, expect that they are going faster than you think. The 3 foot rule will give you a buffer to protect yourself and your fellow driver on the road!

If you are a cyclist, know that since you share the same rights as motor vehicles, you must obey certain laws as well. In fact, you are not permitted to ride on a pedestrian sidewalk, even if no bike lane is present. You must use caution and hand signals to specify if you intend to change direction. Ride in the same direction and flow of traffic when possible. Here are a few more tips to keep you safe:

  1. Know your rights. As we mentioned before, motorists and cyclists share the same rights when it comes to the road. Know how to safely share the road with your fellow drivers and brush up on your pedaling etiquette, such as gestures and hand signals to use when adjusting direction.

  2. Maintain your bike. Just like any vehicle, your bike needs regular maintenance. Before you set out on the road, be sure the bike is adjusted for you and your height and that your tires are properly inflated. Routinely get a tuneup from your local bike shop. Use safety devices such as a helmet, a reflective vest if driving at night, mirrors, a bell and a headlight or tail light!

  3. Check yourself. You will want to make sure you are up for the ride. Do not start out on your first ride and expect to go 20 miles if you are not in shape. Start out with a few short rides and build up from there. It helps to dress for the season and elemental conditions. Wear layers if possible and light colored clothing.

Hundreds of cyclists are victims of fatal collisions each year. Follow these tips and share the knowledge with fellow motorists and cyclists so we can help build a better road-sharing community!

Collierville Auto Car Experts
Collierville Auto Car Experts
At Collierille Auto, we are true car experts with decades of knowledge and experience. Let us guide you through the ins and outs of the car buying journey. Your ride is waiting, and we're here to help you find it!

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