How drivers should pass cyclists

On Behalf of | May 12, 2023 | Bicycle tips |

All too often, drivers pass cyclists in a dangerous manner. A cyclist may be riding on a road that doesn’t have a designated bike lane. This means that they’re on the right side of the lane. A driver will pass them without even moving over to the left, essentially sharing that lane and putting the cyclist at serious risk.

But what should they do instead? It’s very important for motorists to leave a safe distance when they pass and to know when it is a proper time to do so.

How much distance is required?

First and foremost, drivers in California cannot pass a bike unless they have three feet between the vehicle and the bike. Anything less than this could result in a traffic citation, even if they do not actually hit the cyclist. They must maintain that 3 feet of space.

What if there’s not enough room?

What often happens is that there’s oncoming traffic, so the driver can’t move over to give a cyclist 3 feet of space. That’s why they will pass too closely or force their way through, perhaps even becoming angry with the cyclist, as if they are in the way.

But what they are actually supposed to do is simply wait for traffic to clear. They need to drive behind the cyclist, at a safe distance, maintaining the same speed as the bike. Once the opposing traffic has cleared, then they can go around safely and continue on their way. The major reason the drivers don’t do this is simply because they’re in a hurry or they’re impatient.

Have you been injured?

Unfortunately, many drivers either do not know how to pass safely or refuse to do so. If you’ve been injured, then you need to know how to seek financial compensation.