Road Sharing A Two Way Street for Drivers and Cyclists
August 23, 2019
We may be nearing the end of what many would consider the dog days of summer, but that doesn’t mean drivers or cyclists can let their guard down.
In BC, historically, more than 700 cyclists are injured, and seven fatalities occur in auto-related accidents between June and September, each year. So, whether you’re a driver or a cyclist, we all have a role to play in sharing the road responsibly. To that end, we have prepared the following list of tips for drivers and cyclists (which includes many of those available at www.icbc.com) to help keep our roads safe:
Tips for vehicle drivers:
• Watch for cyclists on the road and make eye contact if you can, so they can anticipate your next move.
• Yield to cyclists and signal well in advance if you need to cross a designated bike lane or pull over to the side of the road.
• Shoulder check for cyclists before turning right, and watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left. Likewise, scan for cyclists before you enter the roadway from an alley or getting in and out of a parking spot.
• Both drivers and passengers must shoulder check for cyclists before opening doors.
• Maintain at least three seconds behind cyclists and at least one metre when passing a cyclist.
Tips for cyclists:
• Wearing an approved bicycle helmet that meets safety standards is the law in B.C.
• Make sure you are legal – in some cities like Metro Vancouver, a bell or horn is required to communicate with other road users.
• Be extra visible with reflective gear on your bicycle pedals and wheels, and lights when riding after dark.
• Use designated bike routes whenever possible – they’re safer and reduce conflicts with vehicle traffic.
• If there’s no bike lane, keep to the right-hand side of the road as much as it’s safe to do so.
• Make sure you obey all traffic signs and signals and rules of the road.
• Be aware of people in vehicles as well as taxis to avoid getting hit by an opening door. It’s best to keep at least once metre away from parked vehicles.
• Before making any turns, shoulder check and hand signal in advance. Remember, drivers sometimes fail to yield right-of-way.
• Ride distraction-free. Don’t use mobile devices or headphones while cycling (if you must, use just one earbud so you be alert to sirens or horns).
• Communicate: Always use hand signals when turning, slowing down or stopping; before passing other road users, shoulder check and use your bell, or your voice.
• According to the BC Motor Vehicle Act, although riding side by side is legal on the shoulder of highways, it is recommended that side-by-side cycling be limited to roadways that have wide shoulders
One final thought – please observe posted speed limits and use caution in highway construction zones where flaggers are simply trying to do their job. Let’s do our part to ensure the summer months come to an end without needless injury.
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Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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