How Drivers Can Share the Road with Cyclists
As summer gets into full swing, cyclists are taking to the roads to enjoy the weather. Navigating near or around a cyclist can sometimes be intimidating for even the most experienced drivers. To ensure a safe and community-minded summer, let’s take a moment to review the best practices for sharing the road with cyclists.
Above all, always remember to treat cyclists with the same courtesy and respect as you would any neighbour.
Never engage in aggressive driving behaviors such as tailgating, honking unnecessarily, or making sudden maneuvers that could startle or endanger cyclists. Regardless of whether a cyclist is correct in their interpretation of the road rules, stay patient at all times.
Be aware of your city’s local bike paths or shared lanes. Respect these spaces and pay extra attention to your surroundings in busy areas. Bicycles have a smaller footprint than vehicles, so double-check blind spots and be sure to provide cyclists with extra space when passing or driving near them. We recommend leaving a minimum of one metre of space between your vehicle and the cyclist to avoid squeezing them against the curb or parked cars.
Cyclists usually travel at a slower pace than vehicles, especially on uphill climbs or in heavy traffic. Never honk or pressure them to move faster. Wait patiently for a safe opportunity to pass, keeping your one meter of buffer space and staying aware of other traffic.
Pay full attention to your surroundings at all times, especially near intersections, bike lanes, or public parks. Keep your eyes on the road and limit distractions that could endanger you and those around you. Never drive if you’re feeling the effects of the sun or dehydration.
Be extra careful when approaching intersections, where the majority of cyclist-vehicle accidents occur. When turning, double-check for cyclists approaching from behind or from the opposite direction. Always check your blind spots and yield to cyclists. Watch for oncoming cyclists who are attempting to cross your lane.
This should go without saying, but never turn or change lanes without using your turn signals. This can be especially dangerous to cyclists, who need extra space to apply the brakes safely. Clear communication helps cyclists anticipate your next move.
Think Like a Cyclist
As you practice clear communication, we also recommend that you take a brief moment to learn the hand signals cyclists use to indicate their own turns.
Finally, be mindful of the "dooring" risk: When parking parallel to the road, quickly check for approaching cyclists before opening your car door. "Dooring" accidents can be fatal and occur when a cyclist collides with an open door and are easily prevented with a quick visual check before stepping out to enjoy your summer activities.
You’ve got this! Remember, sharing the road with cyclists simply requires neighbourly patience, awareness, and respect. Keep these values in mind and together we can build a safe, enjoyable outdoor experience for all road users this summer.