Be bike smart on the road
Did you know that when compared to car drivers cyclists are 63 times more likely to face death or serious injury on the roads? With an increase of bicycles on our roads we owe it to our fellow road users now more than ever to share the streets in a safe and kind way.
Here are some tips on how you can be bike smart whilst out and about in the car.
Extra vigilance at junctions
Every safe driver should pay as much attention as they possibly can before they pull out of a junction anyway. However, the consequences can be extra dire should they fail to do so as a cyclist goes by. Motorists should watch closely for cyclists and keep in mind that they might not be wearing hi-vis and they could be travelling at a faster speed than you think.
If you’re aware of cyclists on the road with you, indicate a little bit earlier than you might do normally so that they know exactly how you intend to manoeuvre. It can often be difficult to communicate with other road users so it’s best to create as much time to react as possible when the opportunity presents itself.
The Dutch reach
The Dutch reach is a simple method of opening the car door from within. Using the left hand, reach across your body and open the door, forcing your body to turn towards the door creating an extra opportunity to look over the shoulder to see if a cyclist is approaching. This manoeuvre is taught to children in the Netherlands which is why it is named the way it is. You can see a visual example by Kia of how to do the Dutch Reach here.
Leave room at traffic lights
Many main roads have a green box at traffic lights designed to make room for cyclists and if these are present they should be left clear when you stop at a red light. However, even if such a box isn’t present and you know of a cyclist approaching, you should afford them some extra space if it is safe to do so.
If you’re driving behind a cyclist keep an eye out for the hand signals that they throw. These are often used to indicate what the cyclist is about to do. By watching closely, the cyclist will indicate to you which way they are about to turn, if they’re about to stop and even if there is an obstruction on the road. If you’re unfamiliar with cyclist hand signs you can see them here.
Don’t over take on a blind turn or road that is in poor conditions. Cyclists should ride in single file or in a double line but may not do so should the road present a danger for whatever reason if overtaking occurred.
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