Looking for cyclists can protect them
We all know,or should know, that we should share the road with pedestrians and cyclists whenever we approach them. Sharing the road means safety for both parties. Whose responsibility is it for safety; the driver of the vehicle or the cyclist? Why not both?
I see kids on their bikes riding on the sidewalk, but that’s generally a good thing. They generally don’t have enough experience to know where and how to look for drivers of vehicles. As a driver, we need to spot them as they approach intersections because they may not be looking for us. Anticipate their actions and respond early by adjusting speed or by gently tapping the horn to warn them early. But let’s leave the sidewalk for the kids and for pedestrians. An adult riding their bike on the sidewalk can become dangerous for pedestrians walking along or for the cyclist themselves. I walked out of my office building recently and was almost run down by an older teen on their bike. Good thing I scanned the sidewalk
before taking that extra step!
When adults are riding their bikes, wouldn’t you think they should pay more attention to vehicles traveling along the road? Not necessarily. The cyclist at the intersection in this second photo failed to stop at the stop sign. They were also cutting across the path of other drivers and riding down the centre of the road. I saw this happen ahead of me so I decided to reduce the risk and stay back from them until I knew it was safe to pass. Thankfully, they turned the opposite direction from where I was going.
Considering they had mirrors, a helmet and reflectors, it would appear they were a serious cyclist. Perhaps they borrowed someone else’s bike? Why would they ride so carelessly on public roads, especially near moving vehicles?
On multiple lane roads, we need to share the road with cyclists as well. Give them a full lane to ride in. Move completely away from them if you need to pass. But please pass with caution. Avoid passing them near intersections or parks. They may want to make a left turn without making sure it’s safe until they begin their turn. If there are bicycle lanes, please ensure you let them use them before you use them. If you’ve just passed a cyclist in a bicycle lane and you wish to make a right turn, check your side mirror and your right blind spot as well before moving into the bicycle lane. They may be a little too close for comfort for you to make your turn. This may mean you should reduce speed to allow the cyclist to pass you before you enter across the bicycle lane to turn right.
Protect yourself and the cyclists you may meet on the road. Some have good cycling experience and etiquette and some not so good. Never assume the adults will pay attention to you or the road signs. Together, we can make the summer cycling season a safe one.