Four tips for driving alongside bicyclists

As the warmer seasons rapidly approach, more bicyclists will hit the streets and enjoy the beautiful North Carolina weather. However, more bicyclists may mean more problems for passenger vehicles who frequently travel on those roads.

Luckily, riders and drivers can easily share the streets if everyone considers a few tips before any trip.

Know standard biking hand signals

Many bicyclists try to communicate their next move with hand signals, like drivers who indicate turns or merging through their blinkers. However, bikers have to use hand signals to show turns, stops and changing lanes. It’s critical for drivers also to know these signals, so they know when cyclists are slowing down or which way they are turning.

See bikers as a positive

Most drivers view riders as another road obstacle – as if they don’t have a right to be on the same roads. However, bicyclists have equal rights to the road as any other vehicle. They deserve respect and consideration by all other drivers, so drivers need to shift their perspective to see bikers a benefit of the road. More bicyclists mean fewer drivers and less wear in the streets.

Give cyclists adequate space

Similar to other vehicles, drivers need to provide sufficient space between themselves and bikers. Most states have laws that require drivers to give bicycles about two feet of space, including North Carolina. But it’s better to provide more space if possible. Also, pass bikers slowly.

Avoid distractions

Most people are aware of the dangers surrounding distracted driving. Pedestrians and cyclists are the most vulnerable to distracted drivers, so drivers must be vigilant and stay focused while on the road. Turn off cellphones, keep the radio at a low volume and avoid eating in the car.

Sharing the road doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be incredibly simple and still save lives in the process.

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