Cars, motorists, passengers and pedestrians are what we usually see on the roads and highways. We don't often notice that there are other people who use the road too and using bicycles as the mode of transportation.
They are called the cyclist, and they too have special space on the roads. But, does that mean they are already safe on the road? Let’s find out.
I. Dangers of cycling
Majority of car-bike collisions happen at junctions. It’s common for cars pulling out of the junction to accidentally hit the cyclist. It also occurs when the car is turning into a driveway, layby or junction.
Majority of car-bike collisions happen at junctions.
Another common cyclist accident happens when the cyclist is struck by the sudden opening of the door of a parked car. However, this could also happen when there are objects suddenly appearing in the path of the cyclist like a rolling ball or wheelie bin. This incident is very common and can result in fatalities.
Another common cyclist accident happens when the cyclist is struck by the sudden opening of the door of a parked car.
Overtake turns are considered to be the 2nd most dangerous aspect of road sharing. When a car overtakes a cyclist there are lots of possible risks. First is that car drivers do not give enough room for the cyclist when overtaking which forces bicycle riders to move closer to the curb, putting themselves in more danger.
Second is that drivers overtake too soon which clips the bicycle rider or forces cyclist to suddenly stop to avoid being clipped. In other cases, the car cut’s across the path of the vehicle that causes blockage, leading to a collision to the side of the car.
Overtake turns are considered to be the 2nd most dangerous aspect of road sharing.
Being hit from behind is one of the car-bike accidents that cyclist fear the most. It comprises about 3.8% of all collision accidents involving cyclist.
The given dangers of cycling can be prevented if both car drivers and bicycle riders follow road safety. Road safety awareness of both users is important to lessen the risk of accidents in our roads. To be safe, here are some safety guidelines prepared by Philkotse.com.
II. Safety measures for cyclist
1. Awareness on the road
Cycling requires more concentration especially when on the same road with other vehicles. When you’re riding your bike, make sure that you are aware of everything on the road and that you are visible to other drivers too. You need to have high levels of awareness at all times especially:
- Turning intentions od drivers
- Your positioning in relation to the blind spot of drivers
- Any hazards or objects that can quickly become an obstruction like wheelie bins, car doors, playing children, etc.
2. Maintain high visibility
To protect yourself, you should make sure that other drivers can see you. This is one of the most important things to keep your safety. Lots of car-bike accidents happen because drivers didn't notice or didn't see the cyclist (they’ve seen them but it’s too late).
Always make sure you're riding in a visible area and position. You should also try to make eye contact with other drivers to check if they've noticed you. Using the following gear will increase the chances of you being seen by other drivers:
- Clothes with bright colors
- Reflective and high-visibility wear (when cycling in low-light condition)
- White light in front and flashing red light at the rear part of the bike.
To protect yourself, you should make sure that other drivers can see you by wearing bright-colored cloths
3. Know the rules
Both the drivers and cyclist should know the rules of the road. It is their responsibility. Awareness of the traffic and road rules will not only benefit your safety but it will also save you from any legal actions taken against you (if you’re in the right side). It also saves you from traffic violations and offenses that you might unknowingly commit.
4. Properly signal your intentions
You should inform other drivers and cyclist of your intentions by hand signals. You must know how to properly inform them so they'll know what your next action will be. Here are some hand signals you should know before cycling your way out to the road:
- Left or right turn – extend one of your arms horizontally in the direction you’re about to turn.
- Slowing down – slightly extend one arm to the side, palm facing down. At wrist height, raise your hand up and down.
- Stopping – vertically extent one arm upwards, palms facing forward.
5. Use a bell
Cars have horns to indicate their presence to other drivers and pedestrians. But sadly, bikes don't often have this warning signal which is why you as a cyclist should invest for one. A simple bell is what most cyclists opt to. It is already a great device to signal or alert pedestrians and car drivers of their presence.
III. Safety measures for vehicle drivers
1. Check mirrors and blind spots
It's a must that drivers check their side mirrors to avoid blind spot before they set off from a fixed position. It can make a big difference between being unaware of the cyclist’s present and noticing them. It can save you from a dangerous position and it can save the lie of the cyclist.
It's a must that drivers check their side mirrors and blind spot before they set off from a fixed position.
2. Awareness of road rules
As mentioned above, both the drivers and the cyclist should know the rules of the road. All road users should know what is expected of them. This wat, they’ll be able to navigate their trips in the safest way possible.
3. Clearly signal your intentions
One of the biggest error drivers commit is not indicating their intentions. The risk of accidents can be reduced if drivers will let other road users know his or her intentions as early as possible.
70 percent of car-bike collisions are results of driver error. To avoid these, properly use your indicators and hazard warning light. You should also sue the brake pedal physically to alert other drivers or cyclist behind you.
4. Control your emotions
Always remember that cyclist has the same right on the road as you are. Often times, the cyclist is a source of frustrations. Drivers should know how to control their emotions and keep their aggression at bay. Compromising the cyclist’s safety just to avoid delays are simply not acceptable.
5. Control your lights
Lower your headlights when there’s an oncoming cyclist just like how you would do it when there are oncoming cars. Your bright headlights might dazzle someone which causes them to lose control and might end up colliding with you or others.