Driving Safely With Cyclists
If you live in a large Australian city, you will inevitably share the road with cyclists – and people who are riding a bicycle have just as much right to the road as people who are driving cars.
In fact, while some Australian drivers may think that bicycle users must stay on shared paths, sidewalks or in bike lanes, this is not true. They have full rights to use an entire lane of the road.
You must share the road and follow appropriate road safety rules when driving around cyclists – including checking blind spots, safely passing bicycle riders, and avoiding bike lanes. To learn more about how to drive safely and how drivers and cyclists can share the road, read on and get some top tips from LTrent Driving School.
- Check Bicycle Lanes Before Turning Left
If you are driving alongside a bicycle lane, always check it for a cyclist before turning left. If you do not look, you could turn left in front of a bicyclist – and they may be unable to stop in time, and may run into your car.
- Keep A Safe Passing Distance When You Pass A Cyclist
By law, you are required to pass a cyclist with a 1 metre to 1.5 metre gap between your vehicle and their bicycle. If you cannot safely pass a cyclist while leaving such a gap, you must wait to pass them until it is possible to do so.
- Check Your Blind Spot Before Changing Lanes
Bicycles are smaller than cars, make almost no noise, and are generally harder to spot. That means you must be extra-careful about changing lanes if you are in an area with high bicycle traffic. Double-check your blind spot and mirrors for bicycles before you change lanes to avoid collisions.
- Be Careful When Pulling Out From A Row Of Parked Cars, Or Opening Your Door
Bicyclists often are hit by cars that pull out of a row of parked cars unexpectedly, as they may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision. In addition, opening your car door into a bike lane or into the road could result in a cyclist being “doored.”
When pulling out from a row of parked cars or opening your car door in high-traffic cycling areas, make sure to double-check for any cyclists and drive carefully. Doing so will help keep everyone a bit safer.
- Do Not Pass Bicyclists Illegally
If two bicyclists are riding two abreast and taking up a full lane of a two-lane road, this is allowed. Even if they are riding under the speed limit, you must treat them as you would a car or another such vehicle – and only pass them if you are legally allowed to do so under all applicable road rules.
Stay Safe When Driving With Cyclists
Cyclists have their own responsibilities that they must follow such as wearing a helmet, stopping at all red light intersections and obeying traffic laws. But drivers have responsibilities to cyclists, too. To be a safe driver, you must know how to drive with cyclists, and you must respect their right to road use.
To learn more about how to drive safely and defensively among cyclists contact LTrent Driving School on 02 8748 4500 about our driving packages and courses including the Safer Drivers Course.