Driving safe for cyclists

Driving safe for cyclists

National Bike to Work Day occurred last month, allowing many an opportunity to celebrate cyclists. However, there's one group of people who should have cyclists on their mind every single day: drivers.

Obviously, a collision with a cyclist could end in tragedy – and at the least, could wreak havoc on your car insurance quotes. But it's also important to be a courteous driver regardless of the potential for collision. You can't just get out of the way for cyclists – you have to literally share the roads with them. Here are a few tips to help you do so properly. They'll help you to avoid collisions, tickets, citations, and as a result, to avoid higher online car insurance quotes. 

When it comes to bikes, have patience

The first thing to remember: a bike is never going to be able to move as fast as your automobile. So don't take chances by cutting in front of a bike on a turn because you don't feel like being patient. The risk isn't worth the payoff. Have patience, and always cede the right of way to cyclists.

Keep a very close eye on your left turns

Of particular interest is when bikes have to make left turns. Bike lanes are situated on the right, of course, so often times cyclists will have to cross in front of a lanes' worth of moving traffic. So whenever there's a biker in your vicinity, keep your eyes trained near them so you can note any turn signals made by hand – you don't want to make their left turn any more dangerous than it already is.

Keep your eyes on the road – not your phone 

This rule doesn't exclusively relate to cyclists, but it merits warning all the same. Cyclists aren't always going to be in the center of your vision when you're driving. You often have to make a conscious effort to be aware of all the cyclists pedaling around you, especially in the city. For these reasons, you can't afford to avert your eyes from the road for a single second – not even to turn your eye to a short, one-line text message. So resist the urge to pull out your iPhone whenever you're driving – but especially when you're on a road where cyclists are nearby.

Finally, appreciate that your vehicle dwarfs a bike

At the end of the day, what's most important is simply that drivers remain aware of bikers, and of the right they have to the road. A car is always going to weigh much more than a bike, and as such drivers need to know that they're putting lives at risk when they drive carelessly around cyclists.

"In any collision, any physical interaction between car and bike, the bike always loses," Tim Blumenthal, president of People for Bikes, told Edmunds.com. "I've never seen a collision where the bike rider came out less injured."

What other tips have you picked up that drivers should keep in mind when cyclists are on the road?