We have all been in a situation, regardless of being in a car or on a bike, where we felt as though there was not enough room on the road. This can lead to frustration for all parties involved, but, fortunately, there are a few ways we can go about making the road a more hospitable place for all commuters. Particularly now, when bicycling has become a major mode of transportation for urban dwellers. From 2000 to 2009, the number of bike commuters grew 70% across the entire country, and that percentage was even higher in more heavily settled areas. This comes as no surprise, as riding a bike has numerous benefits for both your health and the environment. Take a look at our tips for keeping things copacetic on the road, because you might think you’re a good driver, but you could be wrong.
Safety Tips for Bikers
- Safety gear is a must! Okay this might be an obvious one, but many bike riders seem to forget about utilizing the correct equipment to protect themselves. At the very least, you should be wearing a helmet when you hit the road. Taillights and headlights are also recommended for cycling around sunrise, sunset, and at night. In addition to having lights on your bike, it is recommended one utilize reflective clothing when biking during times of low visibility, especially at night.
- Obey the rules of the road. It might seem effortless to glide along the streets of a sprawling metropolis, but this does not mean the general rules of the road do not apply to bike riders. While on your bike, always stop at both red lights and stop signs, and be sure to adhere to all traffic signs. Also, a bike is considered a road vehicle just like a car is, so it is smartest to travel along the same traffic patterns as the other vehicles on the road.
- Stay to the right! While some roadways can truly make this difficult, it is a best practice to stay on the right side of the street you are traveling on. Some streets have designated bike lanes, which makes this tip much easier to follow. However, if there is no bike lane, it is good to leave enough space for cars to pass you while sticking to the right side of the road. Be sure to leave enough space between you and any parked cars on the road too, just in case someone suddenly exits their vehicle.
Safety Tips for Drivers
- Be Mindful of the road! This is an easy one, and a tip that applies to a variety of scenarios when operating a motor vehicle. Keep your eyes on the road, and away from your cellphone or other distractions.
- Treat bike riders the same as cars. Even though bicyclists are not protected by the metal frame of a vehicle, it does not mean they have less of a stake on the roadway. To repeat an earlier point, bicycles are considered road vehicles just like a car, so give them appropriate space and proper right of way.
- The 3-foot rule. Numerous states have laws in effect stating 3 feet is the minimum distance for passing bicyclists legally and safely. Keep this in mind on tight roadways. If you happen to be on a road free of nearby traffic, you can always give bicyclists more room!
Regardless of if you utilize a car or a bicycle, it is important to respect other drivers on the road. While operating a motor vehicle, it can be easy to disregard the needs of other drivers, especially those on bicycles. Keep these tips in mind the next time you hit the street, and be sure to always consider the safety of others while traveling the road.