Springtime means that more bikers will be out on the road. That’s why it is important to understand why sharing the road with bikes can present added dangers for both bicyclists and drivers. Below are some tips on how to make the road safer for everyone.
Every year roughly 700 people die in bike accidents, and a whopping 45,000 are injured, according to The Washington Post. With more people opting to ride bikes in lieu of driving to work as part of green initiatives or to save money, added hazards are everywhere.
As a driver, you should understand just how vulnerable bikes are. A car weighs about 4,000 pounds more than a bike, making them especially susceptible in the event of an accident. Drivers also tend to overlook bike riders because they are not cars—our brains are wired to look past them sometimes. Always look twice when turning, especially when going to the right.
In most areas, bike riders over the age of ten must use public roads, and are treated as vehicles. While this means they must obey traffic laws, it also means that drivers should not get frustrated when they get stuck behind a bicyclist—they are simply following the law.
Look out for bike lanes. These designated areas are popular in urban spaces, allowing bike riders to ride on the road without slowing traffic. Obstructing or driving in a bike lane is illegal, and can be especially dangerous if bikes have to swerve into traffic because of you.
Finally, have patience. Most drivers exhibit unusual emotional levels when behind the wheel. Remember to relax and have patience when you are near a bike rider. It could just save someone’s life.