Californians are living healthier lives than in years gone by. Cycling is the preferred choice of exercise for many, increasing the number of bicycles on the roads. When motorists and cyclists share the same roads, they must obey the same traffic rules.
Unfortunately, some drivers regard cyclists as nuisances and fail to consider their safety. Many motorists also enjoy cycling but still find it difficult to look out for bicyclists when they are behind the wheel.
Precautions drivers can take
Cyclists are most vulnerable because they have none of the protective features drivers of enclosed vehicles enjoy. Motorists can take the following precautions:
- Allow adequate space when passing cyclists.
- Avoid passing a bike rider when oncoming traffic will compromise the safe space.
- Always look out for cyclists, but be particularly alert in adverse weather and at dusk, night and dawn.
- Make complete stops at red lights and stop signs to allow bikers to pass safely.
- Eye contact between drivers and cyclists can show acknowledgement of each other’s presence.
- Never turn in front of bicycle riders at intersections and driveways.
- Don’t startle bike riders and make them lose control by honking at them.
- Be especially cautious around children on bicycles.
- Become familiar with the standard hand signals cyclists use.
Drivers and cyclists must be alert and try to anticipate each other’s next moves. Adults might be more considerate if they reminisce about the times they were on their bicycles and shared the roads with inconsiderate motorists.
Most car vs. bicycle accidents are preventable if adequate care is taken by all road users. However, cyclists in California who suffer injuries due to the negligence of vehicle drivers likely have grounds to file personal injury lawsuits to pursue recovery of financial damages.