Bike Safety for Motorists
Cycling is becoming increasingly popular throughout Orange County and beyond. By law, bicycles on the road have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles. Understanding the rules and using caution and courtesy can help make travel safer for all who share the road. Remember that every time you see a cyclist, that means there is one less car on the road.
Safety rules and tips
Know and obey the law.
Did you know that you must allow a clearance of at least 3 feet when passing a cyclist? And that a bike rider can use an entire traffic lane when the lane is too narrow to be shared?
People on bikes increasingly share the road with motorists. Expect them to be there and watch for them especially when turning, parking, backing up, and opening car doors.
Understand cyclist behavior.
Motorists may endanger bicyclists because they are unaware of common cyclist behavior. Cyclists frequently have to move to the left in a traffic lane to avoid hazards that may not be an issue for a car or truck. Be realistic about bike travel speeds. They often travel at 15-20 miles an hour on city streets, faster than many motorists realize. If turning in front of a cyclist, take this speed into account and adjust your timing accordingly. Do not pass a cyclist if you will be making a right turn immediately afterward.
Watch for cyclists and pedestrians at all times just as you would for other cars. Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and scan the road ahead for cyclists and pedestrians. Use particular caution when driving around cycling children because they may behave unpredictably.
Be careful opening your car door.
Look before opening the driver side door to avoid striking a cyclist.
Don’t drive distracted.
Alcohol, drugs, lack of sleep, and cell phones can impair judgment.
Think of a bicycle as a slow-moving car and approach and pass them with caution, courtesy and plenty of room. Remember, however, that cyclists are very vulnerable in a collision and drive with that thought in mind.