Sharing the road with cyclists can be a challenging experience for many motorists.
While cycling is an eco-friendly and healthy mode of transportation, drivers should recognize the potential dangers when cyclists and motorists interact.
Lack of visibility
The U.S. Department of Transportation found that 47,000 cyclists received injuries and 850 died in traffic accidents in each year, and one significant danger when sharing the road with cyclists involves reduced visibility, particularly during low-light conditions or bad weather. Cyclists may not always have adequate lighting or reflective gear, making them harder to spot.
Uneven road surfaces
Cyclists are more vulnerable to road hazards, such as potholes, gravel and debris. Drivers should watch for swerving or sudden braking by cyclists. They should maintain a safe following distance to give cyclists room to maneuver around obstacles safely.
When overtaking a cyclist, motorists should leave at least three feet of space between their vehicle and the cyclist and only pass when it is safe to do so. Sudden, close passes can startle cyclists and lead to accidents.
One hazard often overlooked by motorists is “dooring.” This occurs when a driver or passenger opens a car door without checking for approaching cyclists. Dooring can lead to severe collisions.
Right turns and intersection dangers
Motorists should take caution when turning right at intersections. They should also always use their turn signals to indicate their intentions and check for cyclists in their blind spots.
Not all cyclists are seasoned riders. Inexperienced cyclists may make sudden or unpredictable movements. Motorists should exercise patience and remain attentive to reduce the risk of accidents caused by these unpredictable actions.
Sharing the road with cyclists is a responsibility that requires vigilance and understanding. Road safety should always be a priority for both motorists and cyclists.