Happy Together? Drivers and Cyclists working in harmony

Throughout 2019, we’ll be blogging with quick and easy tips for everyone who drives for work. Helping you and your fleet stay safe on the roads. First up, we’ve got a two part look at how both cyclists and drivers can share the road safely…

Part one: Drivers

You encounter them on most of your journeys for work. You have to take action every time you do, but how much care and attention do you really pay to cyclists on the road? 

It can be easy to forget that cyclists don’t have anywhere near the same protection as you do in your vehicle. Even minor contact can result in serious injury.

It is strongly recommended that cyclists don’t come over and have a chat whilst you’re driving (although the traffic on the main roads in to Birmingham does sometimes provide an opportunity!), but if they could there’d be a number of things they’d want you to know:

  1. They feel threatened by inconsiderate drivers
  2. They need to keep away from gutters and pot holes
  3. They feel exposed when turning right
  4. They are not deliberately slowing you down
  5. They are riding in the middle of the lane to improve their vision and visibility
  6. They feel threatened by close overtaking
  7. Large vehicles pose a high risk when they are turning left.


Looking at the above, it’s probably no surprise to learn that 75% of collisions involving a bike occur at junctions. What’s more, the most common cause is drivers failing to look properly.

Whilst the ‘sorry mate, I didn’t see you’ line is often trotted out, it doesn’t really wash. The average cyclist travels at 12mph, so they’re hardly appearing out of nowhere. What actually happens is the driver did not look for long enough or was not expecting to see a cyclist.

bicycle bike blur brake

Here are seven top tips for reducing the risk of accidents at junctions:

  1. Always check your mirrors, especially nearside wing mirrors and remember to indicate well in advance to warn the cyclist that you intend to turn. Always think bike when making that left turn.
  2. If a cyclist is already waiting at a junction, pull up behind them, rather than alongside them, and let them clear the junction before you turn.
  3. If a cyclist is ahead of you as you approach a junction you are going to turn into, slow down and let the cyclist pass the junction before you turn. Don’t overtake the rider and then turn across their path.
  4. Don’t overtake a cyclist who is about to turn right. Give them time to make the turn.
  5. If you think a cyclist is staring at you, it’s not aggression on their part. It’s to make sure that you’ve seen them.
  6. If there is an advanced stop line for cyclists, don’t stop in it.

Stay alert, remember all of those tips and you should be able to safely share the road with cyclists.

Next time, we’ll look at the situation from the other angle – what can cyclists do to help everybody share the road in harmony?


You can keep up to date with all the latest safety news by signing up to SafetyMatters, our free monthly e-newsletter.

The 2019 RoSPA Road Safety Conference takes place at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham on Wednesday, February 13. You can book your place HERE

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