Happy Together 2: Drivers and Cyclists working in harmony

Part 2: Cyclists

As a cyclist it’s easy to feel like you’re being sinned against. You’ve got to get to work by 9, you’ve got an important delivery to make or maybe you just want to get home to your family.  The last thing you want is inconsiderate motorists hindering your progress and potentially causing an accident.

However, it’s easy to forget that drivers sometimes find it difficult to see cyclists, especially in the dark. Drivers can’t always predict what you’re going to do, and most of them do not understand why you adopt the ‘primary position’ on the road.

In fact, there are a number of things that drivers would like you to know…

  1. It’s very difficult to see cyclists who don’t use lights at night
  2. Very bright, unadjusted lights can dazzle drivers
  3. Cyclists ignoring traffic lights does not help the driver-cyclist relationship
  4. Cyclists riding two abreast can be confusing. Although there is usually a good reason
  5. They don’t understand why cyclists use the middle of the lane
  6. Large vehicle drivers find it hard to see cyclists on their nearside

 

As with drivers, failure to look properly is a common mistake by cyclists and accounts for 42% of collisions at junctions.  There are a number of things cyclists can do to minimise the risk of accidents, particularly at junctions:

person holding black vehicle steering wheel

  1. Always have a really good look over your right shoulder to check that it is safe to pull out to turn right.
  2. Remember to give a clear signal (3 seconds minimum) to tell drivers want you intend to do.
  3. Don’t signal and pull out expecting the driver to slow down. Before making the turn, look behind again; this is known as a ‘lifesaver’ look for a good reason.
  4. If you don’t feel safe or confident enough to turn right on a particular road, keep to the left and if necessary stop at the kerb, and cross when it is safe.
  5. Never assume that a driver has seen you. Be ready to stop or take evasive action if a driver pulls out.
  6. If waiting ahead of an HGV, remember that immediately in front of the cab is one of the driver’s blind spot.
  7. When intending to turn left, maintain your lane position, don’t be in the gutter as this may convince the driver that there is room to squeeze past.
  8. NEVER ride down the inside of a vehicle that is waiting to turn left. Stay back, where the driver can see you in his mirrors.
  9. If a large vehicle comes alongside you at a junction, assume it is turning left. Try to ensure you’re not between the kerb and the vehicle when it turns. Even if that means moving back.
  10. Look out for pedestrians crossing between stationary vehicles. Like drivers, they can sometimes find it hard to see you.

And remember to thank courteous drivers. A simple thumbs up or wave will help ensure they behave the same way in the future.

 

RoSPA produce a number of detailed FREE resources for drivers and cyclists that can be downloaded HERE

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

 

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