14 RULES FOR MOTORISTS THAT CAN SAVE LIVES WHEN THERE ARE CYCLISTS ON THE ROAD

Rules for motorists when there are cyclists on the road.

MOTORISTS AND CYCLISTS

Motorists and cyclists need to come to the table and sort out their differences.  In many countries around the world, cyclists have helmet cams so they can record antisocial behaviour from motorists.  Last year in the UK, a woman knocked a guy off his bike and sent him flying over a hedge, she didn’t stop.  Instead of stopping she tweeted, “Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier.  I have right of way – he doesn’t even pay road tax! #Bloodycyclists.”  This tweet was retweeted hundreds of times and police eventually found the woman.

CYCLING HAS CHANGED

Over the decades, cycling has changed its emphasis, it is not just a way to get from A to B, but it is a way of exercise, enjoyment and competition. It is an expensive hobby; the cost of the bike, the helmet, the reflective bike vest and reflective ankle bands etc, can be more than your car.  Many cyclists didn’t drive, whereas today, most cyclists also own a car.   Older motorists still treat cyclists as they did a few decades ago, when there were fewer cars and bikes on the road and cyclists stopped at red lights and kept into the curb!

A FEW RULES CAN SAVE LIVES 

1. Treat cyclists as you would any other road users – with respect.

2. Remember that bikes are sensitive to bumpy road surfaces, obstacles in the road, potholes, ice, puddles, snow and oily patches, so a cyclist may need to move further out into the road to avoid them. When you overtake a cyclist, leave at least one meter between you and him, just in case he comes across such a hazard.  If you are travelling at over 60 kms per hour, then leave at least 1.5 meters.   If you can’t safely leave that amount of space, then travel behind the cyclist until it is safe to overtake.

3. When a vehicle passes a cyclist there is a change in air pressure around the cyclist.  Large vehicles can cause a cyclist to topple, so it is essential that if there is limited room to overtake, the vehicle sits behind the cyclist until he can overtake safely and give the cyclist plenty of room.

4. Make sure all the windows and wing mirrors on your vehicle are clean so your visibility isn’t impaired.

5. Motorists must constantly be on the lookout for cyclists.  If visibility isn’t good or it is dark, motorists need to be more vigilant in their search and realise that reflective gear or reflective strips in your headlights, means there is a cyclist or pedestrian ahead of you.  Obviously, not all cyclists have reflective gear, so in conditions of poor visibility, you must be extra cautious.

6. Be extra careful when overtaking groups of cyclists.  Even though they should be riding single file, some choose not to, so they can have a chat about last night’s rugby.  This means their minds are not fully on the road and its road users.

7. Do not use your horn unless it is absolutely essential as it could startle the cyclist.

8. Look out for cyclists at junctions, roundabouts and traffic lights.  They may have to change lane to turn off the road, so carefully check your mirrors and blind spots.

9.      If you are turning right at traffic lights or a junction, make sure there is no cyclist beside you, to avoid knocking him off his bike.

10. If you notice a cyclist looking over his shoulder, it is possible he is about to pull out, change lanes or turn right.  Wait to see what he plans to do before overtaking him.

11. When parking your car on a road, check carefully before you open your car door in case there is a cyclist about to ride by.

12. Always signal your intentions so cyclists know exactly where you are planning to go on the road.

13. Ensure you are visible to cyclists in all weather conditions and at night.

14. The use of cell phone for phone calls and texting while driving is banned in most countries of the world.   However, it is amazing how many people flout this law and continue chatting or texting while driving.  It is impossible to be 100% alert to the dangers around you, if you are busy having a conversation with a friend or discussing your next brilliant business plan.