by Mary Wimmer
Summer means more traffic on the road – cars and bikes. CAA North & East Ontario wants drivers to be aware of cyclists and to share the road safely with them.
Following these safety rules to reduce the risk of a collision!
Slow down when approaching or passing cyclist. Keep at least a three to four second following distance behind 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 to check your mirrors and blind spots frequently 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, be sure there are no cyclists beside you before your open your doors. In fact, make it a standard practice to use the Dutch Reach when opening your car door!
By law, a bicycle is a vehicle under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. That means they have 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.
Everyone is trying to get somewhere in a hurry, but by staying calm and not rushing, you’ll be doing your part to make the road safer for everyone!
Travelling on two wheels instead of four? Check out CAA’s cycling safety tips to find out what you can do to stay safe when biking.