With more and more commuters riding bicycles to work, it is important for drivers to learn how to safely share the road and maneuver around them. However, driving safely when there are bicyclists on the road is not always as simple as it seems, and failure to do so properly can lead to accidents, injury, and increased insurance rates. National City car insurance experts offer five methods for sharing the road with bicyclists and allowing everyone to commute in the manner that best suits them.
1. Know the Laws Regarding Cyclists
Bicycle riders are permitted to use the same roads as drivers, so make sure you allow them room on the road. Riders over the age of 10 must ride in the same direction as traffic and follow the same traffic laws. As a result, they are considered to be equal to vehicles.
2. Learn How to Pass a Cyclist Safely
When passing bicycle riders, pass them in the same method you would a vehicle. Make sure there is no oncoming traffic and there is enough room for you to move to the left. Pass them quickly when it is safe and move back into your lane. It is important to use turn signals when passing, allowing other motorists behind you to recognize they may need to pass as well. Since bicycles don’t make noise, you’ll need to pay extra attention to make sure you see them, especially during the evening hours or when there is a glare on your windshield.
3. Pay Attention to the Road
California has laws regarding cell phone use while driving, and this is for good reason. With a simple momentary glance at an electronic device, you may not see a bicyclist on the side of the road or in front of you at a crosswalk. If you run a red light as a result of not paying attention, you are endangering cyclists even more than you are endangering other motorists, as cyclists don’t have the protection of a motor vehicle. It is recommended to view your driving habits as if you were a cyclist.
4. Learn Bike Hand Signals
Because bicyclists don’t have turn signals, they use the left hand to signal when turning or stopping. Similar to hand signals drivers use when turn signals are broken, when bicyclists turn left they should have their left arm straight out. A left arm at a 90-degree angle up means they are turning right, while the left arm at a 90-degree angle down means they are stopping.
5. Be Aware of Cyclists When Exiting Your Vehicle
Your responsibility to safely share the road does not end when you stop driving. Make sure you park in a manner that does not obstruct a bicyclist’s path, and be careful to avoid hitting a rider when opening your door. Also, be cautious when walking away from your car to make sure you don’t run into or get hit by a bicycle rider.
Accidents can’t always be prevented, whether they involve bicycles or other automobiles. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage to keep yourself protected. American Tri-Star Insurance can provide the coverage you need. In addition to auto insurance, we also offer affordable RV and motorbike insurance in National City. Call our office today at 619-474-3900 to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable agents.