Every Los Angeles driver has passed by a bicyclist on their travels. Bicycles must follow the same traffic rules as motorized vehicles. These laws help keep traffic flow more consistent and enable pedestrians to anticipate the movements of both cars and bikes.
Some motorists have difficulty sharing the road with bicyclists. Drivers find the movement of bikes confusing or difficult to predict, and many people may not be familiar with bike hand signals. How can cars more safely drive around bicyclists?
7 driving tips to help bikers stay safe
Many drivers are unaware of how to interact with bikes on the road safely. These smaller, engineless vehicles do not protect their operators, leaving cyclists more vulnerable to serious injury or death in a car accident. Responsible motorists take care around bikes, and follow these guidelines to keep them safe:
- Turn with care: Bikers exclusively ride to the side of the road, so drivers should look carefully before making any turns. Check blind spots, mirrors and search specifically for bikes hiding in the car’s blind spot.
- Pass slowly: Responsible drivers will reduce their speed when passing cyclists. Speed is a significant factor in the severity of injuries, so driving slower may save lives. Do not delay moving beyond the biker and leaving them safely behind.
- Do not drive in the bike lane: Even stopping in a bike lane for a minute can prove deadly for bikers. Refrain from taking up any space in the lane so that oncoming bikers do not have to veer into traffic to pass; stop elsewhere.
- Give bikes more road: California law mandates that cars keep a minimum of 3 feet of space when near cyclists.
- Yield: Drivers who give bikers the right-of-way in traffic situations successfully prioritize safety. Drivers can use eye contact to communicate clearly and signal their intent.
- Do not anticipate: Riding a bike is a practiced skill. Novice bikers may brake suddenly, fall from their bikes or even swerve a bit as they learn. Good drivers exercise patience around bikers and do not anticipate their movements.
- Look for kids: Bikes are small enough, but children’s bikes are even smaller. Watch for children when navigating around cyclists.
Protect bikers, protect yourself
To keep cyclists safe, motorists must exercise special care when driving near bikes. These fragile vehicles do not offer their operators much protection, so most accidents cause severe injury or even death. People who have suffered injuries in a crash with a bike can reach out to a local lawyer to assess their case.