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Monday, May 9, 2016

Share the Road: Tips for Drivers

Post 1 in a 3-part series on road safety.

Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians all need to share the responsibility of road safety, so we'll be sharing tips for each group in a post if its own. We all need to work together to share the road, so we can all arrive at our destinations safely.

Share the Road: Tips for Drivers

Be familiar with local traffic laws (for clarification: check your state's DMV or DOT website). 

Be aware. This is just a good driving tip in general. Pay attention to other vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians. Try to anticipate hazards cyclists or pedestrians may encounter and give them room to maneuver.

Bicycles are considered vehicles and should be a part of normal traffic. What this means is they do not need to move to the shoulder, or off the road, to allow other vehicles to pass. In fact, they are allowed to take the entire lane. Many communities are replacing the popular (but often misinterpreted) Share the Road signs with new Bicycles May Use Full Lane signs to help eliminate the ambiguity of share the road.

Bikes May Use Full Lane instead of Share the Road

If there's an available 2nd lane, use it. 

If there is a bicycle on the road with you, and there are multiple lanes, always take the lane without a cyclist. Soon, you will be far enough ahead to be able to safely move back into your original lane.

Also, if you're approaching a red light, and you see a bike in one of the lanes, and there is an empty lane -- or even if there are only 2-3 cars in the next lane -- pull up to the red light in the lane without the cyclist. Most likely, you'll be well through the intersection before the cyclist is.

If you do need to pass a cyclist on a single lane road, please slow down and pass with at least 3 feet between you and the cyclist.

Don't use the shoulder as a right turn lane. 

Many cyclists will use the shoulder if there is a good one available. But, as mentioned previously, a bicycle is considered a vehicle and has the right of way when traveling straight through an intersection, unimpeded by a car turning right.

When turning right, be sure to look for cyclists coming along that might be going straight, and be sure to yield to them.

Know the hand signals that bicyclists (are supposed to) use.

Bicycle Hand Signals

Don't pace with a cyclist. 

They know they're going slower than you, and waiting behind a cyclist in order to turn right might be a slight inconvenience, but it's really minimal; you'll make it up in no time. If you're turning right and need to wait for a cyclist, just slow down and wait your turn - just as if you were behind another car. When you pace with a cyclist, it is often difficult to determine what you are trying to do -- cautiously waiting? turning right? trying to get our attention to alert us to something? -- this often causes the cyclist to slow down and further impede your right turn.

Be courteous. 

This is kind of a no-brainer, and a good driving tip all in all. We already kind of touched on leaving plenty of room when passing a cyclist, but also avoid honking or yelling out the window. This will likely cause more harm, as it might startle the cyclist causing them to swerve.

More and more people are jumping on their bikes for recreation and/or commuting, so sharing the road is becoming more and more important. Let's work together to makes our roads even safer!

Jeff and Clarinda

What are your favorite safety tips for drivers?

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all these valuable tips. But I think you missed gps tracking. By gps vehicle tracking we can increase road safety.


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