Bicycles are vehicles. In some cases, you will literally share the road with them. But bicyclists are also VRUs. Any collision between your vehicle and a bike will probably not turn out well for the cyclist. Consider these guidelines for sharing the road with bicyclists:

  • Even with the presence of bike lanes, a cyclist is legally allowed to exit that lane and use a regular travel lane in certain situations. If a bike lane has an obstruction or pothole or if the road becomes very narrow, expect a cyclist to enter your travel lane for a bit. Watch for these obstructions or road quality issues as you scan your surroundings. Even a small patch of sand can cause a bicyclist to wipe out and fall into your path.
  • A bicyclist will need to enter an adjacent travel lane to prepare for a left turn.
  • Again, if a road is too narrow for both a vehicle and a bicycle, the cyclist may use the travel lane even at a speed well below that of motor vehicles.
  • Bicyclists may use sidewalks but must yield to pedestrians. They must also yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Remember the three foot rule. When passing adjacent to a cyclist, you must allow three feet of clearance between you. Slow down and use extreme caution as you pass them. Remember the patch of sand example you just read about. Also be aware that the three foot rule might cause you to partially cross a lane marker.
  • On two-lane roads, use standard passing rules when passing a cyclist. After all, they are slow moving vehicles. Signal as usual and pass only when it is safe to do so.
  • When you see bicycles at intersections, assume they are going straight through unless it is obvious that the bicyclist is signaling to turn. Yield to bicycles at intersections just as you would to other vehicles.
  • As you signal and prepare to make a turn at an intersection, yield to any cyclists in a bike lane before you cross the lane for your turn. Make your turn behind them after the cyclist passes you.
  • As with other vehicles, leave a safe cushion between you and a cyclist to your front.
  • After dark, never use your high beams when coming upon a cyclist.
  • Never sound your horn around cyclists. You could startle them or, at the least, divert their attention and cause a crash.
  • When stopping or parking, always check to your rear before opening your car door. Cyclists may pass close enough to your vehicle to be hit.
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