Sharing the Road with Bicyclists
How you Can Prevent Accidents
The bicycle was invented just over 200 years ago. Since that time it has gone through many different iterations, but the idea was always the same: use pedal power to move yourself along. As bicycle technology has improved, more and more people are pedaling about.
The problem isn’t the bicycles themselves. The issues often lie in either the motorist not paying enough attention, or the cyclist not following the rules of the road. Here’s how you can do your part as a motorist, and a cyclist to ensure safety for everyone.
Cycling is Here to Stay
More and more people are becoming concerned with the environment. That means more and more are taking steps to reduce their impact by riding a bike instead of hopping in the car. The result is that as concern heightens, the number of cyclists on the road heightens. Bottom line: if you’re annoyed by bicycle riders now, it’s only going to get worse. So a change in perspective is necessary so we can all live together peacefully.
Bicycles Have the Same Rights as Cars
The bicycle laws in Montana are written in a way that those on a bicycle have all the rights as any other vehicle. This means they can take up the entire lane if necessary (these are generally called “Sharrows” and can be found on streets not wide enough to put in a bike lane; such as Lewis Avenue), get to go when it’s their turn at a four way stop, etc. This also means that bicyclists must follow all the rules of the road the same way a vehicle would. They must stop at stop signs (not roll through if nobody is around), they need to signal when turning, and ride in the same direction as traffic.
Consider if You Were the Cyclist
Often cyclists get a bad rap because some don’t follow the rules. This creates animosity and often drivers are heard saying, “I’d just run them over if they’re not following the rules of the road.” Consider your words, and consider what if you were out for a bike ride. What if someone “just ran you over” because you rolled through a stop sign, rode on the wrong side, or didn’t signal your turn?
Remind Yourself of Safe Bike Driving
Cyclists are much smaller than vehicles, and they can be hard to see. In order to prevent any collision, remember the tenets of safe driving during bike riding season.
- Look three times. Like with motorcycles, be aware; especially as it gets dark.
- Give them room. At least 3 feet of clearance will prevent accidents.
- Don’t honk unless a collision is imminent; startling someone on a bike can cause accidents.
- Check mirrors and blind spots for bikers.
- Use your signal. This is just good manners all around.
Areas of Concern for Bicycle Collisions
It boils down to the fact that you should be aware of what’s going on, and watch out for all users of the road. There are a few areas that are of special concern where you need to pay extra attention. This is where most vehicle and bicycle collisions occur.
Junctions – Intersections, driveways, and parking entrance are dangerous spots for those on a bike. Vehicles pull out and don’t realize a bike is coming.
Doors – Before flinging that door open, make sure nobody is going to crash into it.
Overtaking Turns – When you pass a cyclist, and then turn in front of them, they can’t stop quick enough. Leave enough space, or wait for the biker to ride by.
Traffic Lights – Be aware of cyclists that may pull up alongside you at the light.
Big Sky Collision Center wants Safe Roads for All Parties
Cyclists have just as much of a right to the road as vehicles. We should all be courteous to ensure that nobody gets hurt, we all make it to our destination, and nobody needs collision repair.
Have you suffered from auto body damage? Get in touch, and we can get you a quote on your vehicle repairs; call us at 406-259-6328.