The UK website driver focused website, Carbuzz, recently posted some advice on being cyclist aware. The blog post is titled “What drivers can do to be more cyclist aware” and as the authors note, “this isn’t an anti-driving post, we’re not lambasting drivers. As much as drivers need to be more cyclist aware, follow road rules and drive safely, vice versa also applies!” I do feel that advice given is well worth sharing and hence I am picking up the key points made and reflecting them with a Western Australian focus. Please visit the Carbuzz blog for the full posting.
Being Cyclist Aware
The Top Ten things we can do as drivers to become cyclist aware are:
- Learn to share or as I would phrase it share with respect. Registration is not about road ownership, it does not pay for the road (far from it). Bicycles are vehicles too. Lets share the road together with respect and consideration;
- Appreciate that cyclists are helping you – Yep a cyclist on the road does not hold you up; rather they help you. They reduce congestion and they don’t take up parking spaces. I have seen suggestions that eight cyclists are needed to take up the space of one car. Think about how much worse your trip would be if those cyclists where in a car!
- Avoid dooring cyclists – It hurts and oh its illegal too “Don’t open any doors without checking there aren’t any cyclists behind you. You could easily sweep them clean off their bikes and it won’t be pretty. Think about the breadth of your door, it’s easily 1-1.5m wide.”
- Realise cyclists are vulnerable – Cyclists are people; they are mums and dads, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters; they hurt when they are hit; they don’t have air bags and other protection we get when driving five star rated ANCAP vehicles. So please think about what can happen when you intimidate or worse hit a cyclist. Do you want to hurt them? Do you want to kill them? Do you want their families to suffer? Well that is what can happen when you don’t think about your actions. Please share with care and respect;
- Helmets don’t equal guaranteed safety – “A cyclist with a helmet, however, is by no means invincible;”
- Exercise some caution and be patient – Recent research by the Monash Accident Research Centre suggests over 80% of crashes involving cyclists where the fault of motorists. Lets work togetherÂ towards zero accidents;
- Allow plenty of space – Please pass with adequate clearance and a safe speed. Think about it. Would you pass a car this close? Well a cyclist has even less protection so please pass safely;
- Drive slowly on low-vis roads – “On rural roads or those with limited visibility remember that a cyclist could be around the next corner. It could also be an elderly person, a child or an animal. Reducing your speed reduces the risk of something happening;”
- Cyclists have a right to claim the lane – “That’s correct. They have as much right as you do to take up the entire lane. You may think they’re being utterly selfish by doing so, but in fact they are preventing having an accident. They really are not trying to slow you down, it’s just the safest way for them to cycle particularly if there is a blind bend, a narrowing of the road, a high risk junction, pinch point or traffic lights ahead. Additionally if there is a narrowing of the road, they are stopping you squeezing through far too cosily beside them. Cyclists should never cycle in the gutter as it gives no room for avoiding obstacles and leaves them no room to fall if an accident occurs, meaning they could go straight under your wheels. Not nice;”
- Beware a left turn– If you are going to make a left turn and a cyclist is just a head of you, please slow down and wait a moment. Screaming ahead and then cutting in does not achieve much at all; rather it puts the cyclist at risk. For what? A second or two? Pulling up besides a cyclist and moving into them is the same. It is nothing more than aggression, it is nothing more than intimidation and when you do it you are playing with some ones life and it saves you nothing. Please share with care and respect and slow down!
Finally please consider the advice of the Western Australian Office of Road Safety.