Cyclist safety is a hot topic, and as more of us turn to two wheels in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint and improve our fitness, it’s more important than ever that everyone takes steps to share the road considerately.
As a driver, you have more responsibility than most, as you’re better protected than any cyclist in the event of a collision. Follow our driving tips to reduce your chances of being involved in an accident.
1. Overtake generously
With their lack of indicators, cyclists can operate more unpredictably than many other road users – swerving in the road to avoid potholes and drain covers – so always leave at least a full car’s-width when overtaking. This is especially true when driving in slippery conditions, and when travelling uphill, as cyclists riding in too-high a gear will often weave along the highway.
2. Have eyes in the back of your head
Cyclists have a tendency to pop up where you least expect them, so make plentiful use of your mirrors and check over your shoulders repeatedly when turning or pulling away from junctions.
For better or worse, some cyclists will ignore the rules about overtaking to the right, so could end up to the left of you, in your blind spot, as you’re completing a turn.
3. Take care at junctions
As well as looking out for cyclists speeding towards you from behind, it’s vital to look out for oncoming cyclists as you’re crossing oncoming traffic.
Don’t overtake when passing through junctions, as some cyclists will fail to indicate and check over their shoulder before turning, and don’t be tempted to undertake a cyclist who is waiting to turn right.
Make sure you don’t encroach on the ‘advance stop area’ at traffic lights, and remember that you must give way to all traffic approaching from the right at roundabouts – including cyclists.
4. Stay safe on country roads
Cyclists riding in groups or two-by-two on narrow roads can pose a major hazard, especially when rounding blind corners on country roads. Calm your speed and use your horn to warn those waiting around bends.
5. Use dipped headlights
High beams can dazzle oncoming cyclists when driving at night. Cyclists travelling after sundown ought to be sporting reflecting clothing and lights, but there’s no guarantee they will – so take extra care if the roads are especially poorly-lit.
6. Assume nothing
Above all else, exercise caution and expect the unexpected. Cyclists may never have learned to drive or studied the Highway Code, so may not be playing by the same rules as everyone else on the road.
7. Stay vigilant
Even after your journey is over, you could still pose a danger to cyclists.Be mindful when opening doors into the carriageway if parking at the roadside, and make ample use of your mirrors when reversing into a parking bay or driveway
And never park in a cycle lane – you could be committing a driving offence that will earn you penalty points or a fine.