Share the Road
Vehicular Cycling: drivers and cyclists need to be aware of and respect each other (Photo: Richard Drdul on flickr)
Driver training teaches motorists to share the road with other vehicles. In an increasing number of jurisdictions, training programs and materials are in fact being updated to explicitely address the fact that that motorists are required by law to share roads with cyclists. Both motorists and pedestrians must train themselves to look out for the cyclist before initiating any change of direction.
Its important for all traffic participants to recognize that not everyone on a bike is a highly skilled cyclist. Like drivers, the skill level of a cyclist can vary greatly. New or returning riders tend to be less confident at urban cycling in some road situations.
As part of their comprehensive driver training, motorists are increasingly being trained to be aware of and considerate of cyclists on roads, in bike lanes and in segregated cycling facilities and to yield to cyclists where required by law (or common sense).
This page addresses the common and all-too-frequent causes of conflict between motorists and cyclists. It goes without saying that cyclists must ride roadworthy bicycles (ie equipped with functioning lights at night) to prevent injury and abide by the rules of the road (ie stopping at red lights) to reduce the risk of conflict.
Use Caution Turning Across Bike Lanes & Sidepaths
Avoid Right Hooks: motorists turning right must check for cyclists in the bike lane (Photo Richard Drdul on flickr)
Motorists in moving vehicles are trained to check their blind spot before initiating a lane change. Changing lanes without checking the blind spot is not just a bad driving habit its dangerous and can be lethal.
Given the existence of sidepaths, motorists must take extra care before turning to avoid cutting off a cyclist proceeding straight through the intersection. Motorists must train themselves to check these areas for approaching cyclists before changing the direction of their vehicles, for example, to make a right turn.
Checking side-view mirrors is not enough! Motorists must train themselves to turn their head and upper body to physically check the blind spot for cyclists travelling parallel to the road on the sidepath. Truckers need to proceed with extra caution.
Avoid Right Hooks: motorists turning right must check for cyclists on the sidepath (Photo by the author)
Do Not Block (Stop, Stand or Park) in Designated Bike Lanes
It's Illegal: do not block a bike lane endangering cyclists by parking or standing (Photo: roland on flickr)
Parcel couriers (FedEx, UPS, Canada Post, USPS) often stop their vehicles and stand in cycle lanes to make deliveries. Motorists who see this have been known to park their cars in front or behind these vans thinking that parking is permitted.
Stopping, standing, parking or otherwise blocking a bike lane is, however convenient and harmless it may appear, in fact dangerous and (in many jurisdictions) illegal.
Do a Shoulder Check BEFORE Opening a Parked Car Door
Look Back Over Your Shoulder: check for cyclists before opening a parked car door (Photo: veedubb.com)
With an increasing number of cyclists on roads, drivers need to train themselves to check rear- and side-view mirrors and then blindspots before reversing into a parking space and again before opening the driver-side car doors of the vehicle to avoid dooring a passing cyclist.
One study from the Boston area reports that this type of incident accounts for 16% of all car-bike collisions. Opening a door into a bike lane without checking is irresponsible and could be made illegal.
Charges are increasingly being laid if the dooring causes injury or death to a cyclist. In the Canadian province of Ontario, it's possible a driver could be charged under Section 165 of the Highway Traffic Act which requires motorists to take "due precautions," so as not to endanger any other person or vehicle.
Drivers must take a moment and let cyclists pass before backing into a parking space or getting out of the car.
The problem of dooring can, to a great extent, be addressed through the implementation of buffered bike lanes.
lane change dangers, intersection, lane, merge, merging, wait for the gap, signal, safety hazard, safe passage, driver education, bad habits, defensive driving, defensive riding, vehicular cycling, passing distance, safety, turning vehicles, right turns, right hook, double parked, dooring, traffic laws, rules of the road, training, behavioural change, no honking ordinances,