The arrival of warmer weather also means the arrival of more bicycles on the road. As a motorist it’s important to be aware of cyclists and make sure you’re doing your part to help minimize collisions. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you share the road safely with cyclists.
Slow down when approaching or passing anyone on a bicycle. Keep at least a three to four second following distance to cyclists, as they can usually stop faster than you can. In poor conditions, leave even more space, and if it’s raining or snowing, make sure you maintain visibility by using your windshield wipers.
Allow extra space when passing cyclists. Those on bikes need a minimum of one metre on either side as a safety zone. Don’t pass too close and if possible change lanes before passing. If you are going to pass, scan ahead to make sure it is safe to do so and that the road ahead is clear.
Cyclists can be hard to see, so it’s important that you regularly check your mirrors and blind spots to ensure you aren’t on a collision course. Scan at least a block ahead to spot any cyclists and always check to make sure they’re clear of intersections or crosswalks before proceeding. When you’re parked, make sure there aren’t any cyclists beside you before your open your doors!
By law, a bicycle is a vehicle under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. That means they have just as much a right to be on the road as you do. While they’re required to follow the rules the same way you are, drivers are still required to yield to cyclists when turning. You should also never drive or park in a dedicated bike lane.
A little patience could save someone’s life. By slowing down, yielding and taking those extra few seconds you can help avoid a collision with a cyclist. Everyone is trying to get somewhere, but by staying calm, not getting angry, and not being in such a rush, you can make the road safer for everyone.
Are you the one on two wheels instead of four? Check out our Top Five Cycling Safety Tips to find out what you can do to stay safe while on the road.